2019 Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament West Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

West Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
Gonzaga should be laser focused in this opening round game against the winner of Fairleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M winner after losing to Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs are very efficient offensively as they are shooting 53.2 percent from the floor and are only turning the ball over 10.4 times per game. Fairleigh Dickinson is led by Darnell Edge and Jahlil Jenkins who have combined to average 29.9 points between them and are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. Prairie View A&M is led by Gary Blackston and Devonte Patterson who will need to have career games against Gonzaga if they get past Fairleigh Dickinson in Dayton.
#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Baylor
This should be a tight defensive oriented game as both teams are battle tested and won’t give each other much room to breathe at the offensive end of the court. Syracuse has won seven out of their last ten games so they should not lack for confidence heading into the game with Baylor. Tyus Battle will need to put up a strong 25-point type of performance to get the Orange through to the round of 32. For the Bears, they will be looking to take advantage of hitting the reset button as they stumbled a bit down the stretch and are 4-6 in their last ten games. Makai Mason and Jared Butler will be expected to hit some outside shots against the 2-3 zone of Syracuse to open things up down low. The first team to 70 points should win this close matchup of power five conference programs.
#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State
Markus Howard and Ja Morant should end up as one of the best one on one matchups in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.  Howard has been lights out for the Golden Eagles as he was the Big East Player of the Year and is averaging 25 points a game this season. Morant has been a human highlight reel for Murray State and has the capability to go off for a triple double on any given night. The difference in this game will be the performance of the secondary key scorers like Sam Hauser for Marquette and the trio of Shaq Buchanan, Tevin Brown, and Darnell Cowart who are all averaging in double figures for the Racers. This should be a fun up and down the court high scoring contest.
#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont
Florida State knocked off Virginia in the ACC Tournament and battled Duke very well for the majority of the ACC Conference Tournament, so they have a ton of momentum right now. The Seminoles are led by Mfiondu Kabengele, Terrance Mann, and Trent Forrest as they are an extremely balanced offensive attack. Florida State also has a KenPom defensive ranking of ninth in the country and they will need to be locked in against Vermont. The Catamounts are representing the America East Conference after bouncing back from last year’s heartbreaking loss to UMBC in the conference tournament title game. Anthony Lamb is going to be very important for Vermont if they are to shock the Seminoles. Lamb has averaged 21.1 points per game along with 7.8 rebounds per game and is shooting over 52 percent from the floor on the season. Look for a competitive game early with Florida State pulling away in the second half for a comfortable win.
Buffalo is going to play fast from the opening tip as the Bulls play one of the more aesthetically pleasing styles of basketball in the nation. C.J. Massinburg is a senior who is scoring around 19 points per game and has the ability to beat you in a multitude of ways. Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris are big time scorers as they have combined for 28.4 points per game and are dominant on the boards. Arizona State is led by head coach Bobby Hurley, who used to coach at Buffalo, and has five guys scoring in double figures led by Luguentz Dort, Remy Martin, and Zylan Cheatham. St. John’s is led by Shamorie Ponds and Mustapha Heron who have the ability, in a one game scenario, to be very explosive offensively. This game should be a stone cold for the over no matter who ends up as the opponent for the Bulls.
Texas Tech should benefit from having a couple extra days off after losing to West Virginia in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. The Red Raiders are battle tested from a tough non-conference schedule where they held their own against Zion Williamson and Duke back in December. Northern Kentucky has quickly made the transition to Division I as they won the Horizon League Tournament title. The Norse are led by senior forward Drew McDonald, who is averaging 19.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season. Tyler Sharper, Jalen Tate and Dantez Walton are going to have to knock down big shots to keep this game close late into the second half.
#7 Nevada vs. #10 Florida
Nevada is led by four guys who are scoring double figures this season. Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline are a potent enough scoring duo to carry the Wolfpack. They could go a long way in this tournament despite being a number seven seed. Nevada went 3-0 against Pac-12 teams away from Reno this season. Head Coach Eric Musselman will not let his guys be intimidated by playing a team from the SEC. Florida is back in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season and they will need to grind down the tempo of the game and limit possessions in order for them to pull off an upset like they did against LSU during the SEC Tournament. KeVaughn Allen is the leading scorer for the Gators at 12 points per game and will need to get at least 20 a game during this postseason run.
#2 Michigan vs. #15 Montana
Michigan just missed out on winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament as they lost a nail biter against Michigan State. The Wolverines went to battle with Montana in last year’s NCAA Tournament in the first round as they beat the Grizzlies 61-47. Ignas Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole, and Charles Matthews are the three most consistent scorers for Michigan, and they will need to be patient and find their shots early and often. Montana has been without leading scorer Jamar Akoh over the last 12 games but still has found a way to get the job done as they earned the automatic bid out of the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzlies will need to be aggressive and knock down shots and try and get this game into the second half with a chance to pull the upset. Michigan should win by around 12-15 points and move on to the round of 32.