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

West Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns
Xavier did a very nice job in all phases against Texas Southern after having a brief stretch of the first half where the Tigers took a lead over the Musketeers. J.P. Macura and Trevon Bluiett were on fire offensively as they combined for 55 points and lead Xavier to a 102-83 win. Another key for the Musketeers will be there overall efficiency at the offensive end against Florida State as Xavier will need to get quality shots and take care of the basketball.
The Seminoles advanced to the round of 32 by cruising past Missouri 67-54. It was the first half that was the difference in this contest as Florida State raced out to a 42-20 halftime lead. Mfiondu Kabengele paced the Seminoles with 14 points and 12 rebounds and three players scored in double figures. The Musketeers should win this one going away, but if Florida State can get this game to the second half and keep it close, then all bets are off.
It’s rematch time in the round of 32 for the Bulldogs and Buckeyes. These two teams met at the PK80 Classic in Portland back in November with Gonzaga routing Ohio State by a score of 86-59. It was a battle to get out of the first round for the Bulldogs as they got everything they wanted from UNC-Greensboro for 40 minutes. However, thanks to a three-point shot by Zach Norvell Jr. with 20.8 seconds left, Gonzaga beat the Spartans 68-64.
For the Buckeyes, they ran into a stiff challenge from South Dakota State in the 5-12 matchup but was able to shake loose late from the Jackrabbits to secure an 81-73 victory. Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 24 points and was a force on the boards as the Buckeyes outrebounded South Dakota State 47-39. This game should be much closer than the 27-point spread back in November. Shot selection and patience by the Buckeyes is going to dictate if they can knock off the Bulldogs and get to the Sweet 16.
#3 Michigan vs. #6 Houston
Michigan showed signs of rust early on against Montana in the first half as the extra week off after the Big Ten Conference Tournament did affect their play. Charles Matthews scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds to lead the Wolverines to a 61-47 win over the Grizzlies.
Houston had a heck of a battle with San Diego State as Rob Gray’s driving layup with 1.1 seconds left gave the Cougars a 67-65 win over the Aztecs. Gray scored 39 points and was virtually unstoppable all-night long. Defensively, Houston limited San Diego State to a 37.0 percent shooting percentage and will need to do more of the same against Michigan on Saturday. For the Wolverines, they will need to start faster but at the same time play with patience and take what Houston gives them offensively. This should be a game that is played around mid-60’s to low 70’s tempo wise.
North Carolina took a little while to get rolling against Lipscomb, but was eventually able to impose their will as the Tar Heels beat the Bison 84-66. Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson paced a very balanced offensive attack for North Carolina as they combined for 33 points and 13 rebounds. Defensively, the Tar Heels were rock solid as they limited Lipscomb the Bison to shooting just 35.9 percent from the floor.
Texas A&M was in a dogfight with Providence all day long, but the Aggies got the job done with a 73-69 win over the Friars. Admon Gilder played all 40 minutes and led Texas A&M with 18 points as the Aggies caught fire shooting the ball as a team in the second half at a 60.0 percent clip. The opening ten or so minutes of the matchup is going to be key. Texas A&M can’t let North Carolina bust out to a big lead and control the tempo. For the Tar Heels, they need to start fast and not have any extended defensive lapses that will keep the Aggies in the game. Look for a game to be played at around the 75-80-point range and for it to be decided by about 6-8 points.