Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament East Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

East Region Sweet Sixteen Game Breakdowns
In the round of 64, Villanova and Alabama were both comfortable playing in the 80s. In the round of 32, Nova was again, but the Crimson Tide decided not to join it. A five-point halftime lead ballooned into a blowout as Collin Sexton found no help, and the Tide couldn’t connect from the outside. Thanks to Donte DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges, the Wildcats actually shot better from three than they did from the floor in this one.
Six first-half turnovers for Jon Elmore and a team field-goal percentage of 30.8 told the story before Marshall and West Virginia even took the court for the second half. The Mountaineers had an easy time of things by making sure Marshall had a hard time all around. It will be nearly impossible to pull off the same against Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen though. For as good as WVU was in round two, it still relies too heavily on Jevon Carter on both ends. The endless balance of Villanova can overwhelm top-heavy opponents, meaning it will be up to the other Mountaineers to pull an upset and reach the Elite Eight. We just saw Villanova cruise to a comfortable win thanks to its sixth man, DiVincenzo, and after Bridges had a first half to forget. West Virginia doesn’t have that luxury. It is Carter or bust and hoping Nova’s shots aren’t dropping as frequently from distance.
#2 Purdue vs. #3 Texas Tech
For a while, there was some uncertainty whether senior center Isaac Haas would actually play in Purdue’s second round game. In the end, a too-bulky brace forced him to remain on the bench, but the Boilermakers survived regardless. Without Haas’ offensive presence, Purdue would be forced to move its attack outside, and that is exactly what it did. The team hit 11 of 24 three-pointers, including the eventual game-winner by Dakota Mathias. The Boilermakers struggled to generate offensive movement at times, including in the final minutes before Mathias bailed them out, but Matt Haarms’ 29 minutes were enough to overcome no Haas down low. All eyes will now be on that injured elbow for the Sweet Sixteen.
Texas Tech found similar struggles in the final moments of its win against Florida, and it too hung on for a nervous victory. Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith led the way offensively once again, as the Tech defense clamped down the Gators, holding them to 39.7 percent shooting for the game. In the Sweet Sixteen, the Red Raiders will hope for a more balanced offensive attack, but they are also closely eyeing the health of Haas. TT routinely plays four-guard lineups, which could be very costly against a big Purdue front line. Or it could force the 2-seed to adjust and downsize, taking one of its biggest strengths off the floor. Tech has played tremendous defense against the deep ball all year, though it struggles to prevent offensive rebounds. This game will be a balancing act between lineups for the two coaches to see who flinches first…assuming Matt Painter even has Haas as an option as his disposal. If he doesn’t, it could mean Purdue has to play right into Texas Tech’s hands and try to beat it with what the Red Raiders defend best.