Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns

Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns
#1 Kansas vs. #8 Seton Hall
Penn kept things interesting against Kansas, but the Jayhawks pulled away for the 76-60 victory. Four Jayhawks scored in double figures, led by Devonte’ Graham’s 29 points. Seton Hall finally won an NCAA Tournament game after a few tries over the last 14 years. They lost in the first round in 2017, 2016 and 2006. But with their 94-83 win over North Carolina State, the Pirates can put that losing streak behind them and focus on making a deeper tournament run.
Seton Hall’s biggest problem might be attempting to contain Kansas’ bevy of scoring threats. Even if Graham does not score 29 points against, the Jayhawks can look to Malik Newman, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Mitch Lightfoor or Udoka Azubuike to take over a bulk of the scoring. Seton Hall has a balanced scoring attack too though. Khadeen Carrington, Myles Powell, Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado are all double digit scorers. If Rodriguez and Delgado can establish an interior scoring game early, Seton Hall can make this is a very interesting game.
#4 Auburn vs. #5 Clemson
Auburn’s high scoring offense was stifled against Charleston, but the Tigers managed to force 21 turnovers and beat the Cougars 62-58. It was not an impressive win for Auburn, but they managed to survive and advance and that is what it is all about in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson slipped past New Mexico State in a game that had a lot more offense than most expected.
If the Tigers can get as much offense from Gabe DeVoe and Shelton Mitchell as they did in the first round, this is a team that can get to the Sweet Sixteen and potentially beyond. Auburn has shown that they will play defense now, but they have to get their offense going against Clemson. The shooters need to knock down shots after the team went just 5-of-24 from beyond the arc against Charleston.
Foul trouble against the Michigan State frontcourt hindered the Spartans in their tight win against Bucknell. But the backcourt duo of Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford combined for 51 points and that was more than enough for MSU to advance to the second round. They will face a Syracuse team that beat Arizona State in the First Four and TCU in the first round.
The Orange did not get a typical game out of Tyus Battle, but Oshae Brissett and Marek Dolezaj picked up the scoring slack. And Syracuse’s zone defense was too tough for TCU on such a short turnaround. And that may be the case again against the Spartans. If Cassius Winston and Lourawls Nairn can keep the offense under control and help break the zone defense, Michigan State will win. If not, the Orange have a very good chance of reaching the Sweet Sixteen.
#2 Duke vs. #7 Rhode Island
Duke had no issues with upset minded Iona in the first round, cruising to a 89-67 victory. Marvin Bagley III led the team with 22 points, while Trevon Duval added 19. Rhode Island opened up the NCAA Tournament with a thrilling overtime with over Oklahoma. The Rams had some issues in the rebounding department, but committed just six turnovers and were efficient shooting the ball.
Last year it was in the second round when a young Duke team lost to South Carolina. This group of Blue Devils is even younger with five freshmen in the regular rotation. Grayson Allen is the only upperclassman who sees major minutes and the bright lights of March are getting brighter now. If Duke commits too many turnovers and their youth shows, the Rams can take advantage of it and pull off a huge upset. However, Duke’s youth has not been much of an issue this season and their talent makes up for it anyway.