Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns

Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns
Coming off a lopsided win over UC Davis in the first round, Kansas will face a much tougher test in the second round as they meet Michigan State. For Kansas, it’s all about their guards Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham. The better they play, the better Kansas does. Both have been playing key minutes for Kansas since they were freshmen and are looking to help Kansas make a deep run in this tournament. Michigan State comes in after playing one of their most complete games of the year in a 78-58 win over Miami. The Spartans rely heavily on freshman this year, featuring four in the rotation and all of them play big minutes. Michigan State will only go as far as the freshmen take them. This game has some unique storylines, and one of the biggest revolve around each teams star freshman, Josh Jackson for Kansas and Miles Bridges for Michigan State. Both are potential NBA lottery picks and are Michigan natives. Michigan State recruited Jackson heavily before he committed to Kansas. Both play as a stretch four in their team’s offense and will match up against each other. Winning that individual matchup will be key for each teams chances. Overall, these teams match up pretty evenly for a 1 v. 9 matchup. Both teams play with just one post player and are perimeter oriented. Kansas’s veteran backcourt likely gives them the edge in this one but don’t be surprised if Michigan State keeps it close and has a chance for the upset. 
#4 Purdue vs. #5 Iowa State
This game features two teams that are very different from each other. Iowa State is perimeter oriented, featuring four guards that average double figures in scoring, and look to push the tempo and score on teams. Point guard Monte Morris leads the country in assist to turnover ratio and will limit the mistakes Iowa State makes. Purdue looks to pound the ball inside with big men Caleb Swanigan, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas. The Boilermakers have a huge size advantage over Iowa State and will look to take advantage of that. If Purdue is going to advance though, they will need their perimeter players to play well. Purdue ranks in the top ten in the country in three point field goal percentage and will need to shoot like that against Iowa State. When the Boilermakers shoot it well, they have a balanced offense that is one of the best in the country. When they don’t, Purdue gets very one-dimensional and have struggled to win games. An interesting note is that Purdue point guard PJ Thompson ranks second in the country behind Morris in assist to turnover ratio. If he can neutralize Morris in this game and limit the turnovers for Purdue, the Boilermakers have a great chance to win. In the end, Purdue’s size will likely be too much for Iowa State. Expect a close game, but Purdue should win this one provided that they don’t go cold from deep.
#3 Oregon vs. #11 Rhode Island
Rhode Island, fresh off an upset of Creighton in the first round, will be looking to make the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1998. The Rams may come from a smaller conference, but this team is very talented and balanced. Guards EC Matthews and Jared Terrell and forwards Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson all average more than 9 points per game and give the Rams a balanced attack on the perimeter and in the post. The fifth starter, freshman guard Jeff Dowtin, averages just over 5 points per game on the season, but came up big in the Rams opening win, scoring 23 points. The Rams will need him to deliver again as they try and deal with Oregon’s high scoring perimeter attack. The Ducks feature two athletic guards in Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey, who both average double figures in scoring, as well as forward and All-American candidate Dillon Brooks. The Ducks are thin inside after losing center Chris Boucher to a knee injury in the Pac-12 tournament, and will need forwards Jordan Bell and Kavell Bigby-Williams to play well. Bell had a double-double in the opening game, with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and he will need to play well again. Rhode Island has solid depth inside and will really test the Ducks. If Oregon can get a solid performance out of Bell or Bigby-Williams, they should be able to win this game. If not, Rhode Island could have a shot to pull an upset in this one. Oregon made the Elite 8 last year, and will have the edge in experience in this one. The Ducks have four players back that played key minutes off that team, so look for that experience to carry them through in this one.
#2 Louisville vs. #7 Michigan
Louisville has one of the tougher second round matchups as they face a Michigan team that’s on a roll right now. After getting by Oklahoma State in the first round, Michigan has now won 11 of their last 13 games and will be looking to head to the Sweet 16 after winning the Big Ten Tournament a week ago. To do so, Michigan will need big games out of their seniors, Derrick Walton and Zak Ervin. The duo was great in the opening game, combining for 42 points and 10 made three pointers. Walton has been playing at a very high level for Michigan over the last few weeks, and with Irvin also playing well now, this team is can be very dangerous. The x-factor for Michigan will be DJ Wilson though. The junior forward came up big for Michigan against Oklahoma State with 19 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 mark from the free throw line. At 6-foot-10, Wilson provides Michigan an athletic option in the post that will be key against Louisville’s frontline. If Wilson plays well again, Michigan will have a chance to pull the upset. Louisville is a 2 seed that is both deep and balanced. Their backcourt plays big minutes, both Quentin Snider and Donovan Mitchell average more than 30 minutes per game, and are the Cardinals top two scorers. One of Louisville’s keys to success is their pressure defense that has the Cardinals holding teams to under 40 percent shooting from the field this year. If the Cardinals can keep that up against Michigan, they should come up with a win. Michigan is a team that shoots a lot of threes and when they make them, they are tough to beat. Louisville has a very long and athletic team and that should help them to limit Michigan’s looks. Michigan is not a deep team and could struggle with Louisville’s pressure defense that looks to increase the tempo. How Michigan holds up against that pressure will be the difference in this game.