Men's NCAA Tournament Midwest Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

Men's NCAA Tournament Midwest Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Louisville vs. #16 Liberty / North Carolina A&T (Lexington, Kentucky)

The winner of Liberty and North Carolina A&T will have the honor of getting destroyed by Louisville. However, Liberty and North Carolina A&T should provide an interesting matchup in Dayton. The Flames are a good shooting bunch and the Aggies (that’s North Carolina A&T) play solid defense across the board. The winner of that matchup will, obviously, have plenty of trouble with Louisville, but each brings something to the table that could make the game at least a bit interesting. Liberty has three great scoring guards in Devon Marshall, John Caleb Sanders and Tavares Speaks. If they can knock down shots, Liberty could hang around with the Cardinals for a while. For North Carolina A&T, it would be their defense, led by senior Austin Witter and his three blocks per game, that could give Louisville a bit of trouble.


#8 Colorado State vs. #9 Missouri (Lexington, Kentucky)

Colorado State and Missouri are a couple of relatively high scoring teams. The Rams ranked first in the Mountain West in points per game, while Missouri ranked 15th in the nation with over 77 points per contest. These are also two of the best rebounding teams in the country and that is where the battle will be won or lost. Colorado State boasts a couple great big men in Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung who can do a lot more than just grab rebounds. For the Tigers, the frontcourt is led by Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers. It is very feasible that the frontcourts will neutralize each other for the most part, leaving the game to be decided on the perimeter. Missouri has Phil Pressey, one of the best point guards in the nation, but Colorado State commits fewer turnovers as a team. If the Rams can manage the pressure the Mizzou defense will put on them, Colorado State has the upper hand.


#5 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Oregon (San Jose, California)

This is a rough seed for Oregon. They went 26-8 overall and won the Pac-12 Tournament. With Dominic Artis healthy, this team certainly deserved to be much higher than a 12 seed. The Ducks have been a pretty steady team. There is not one thing that they do amazingly well. What they do have is Arsalan Kazemi. The senior forward averages 9.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. He is a tough matchup for most opposing power forwards. Oklahoma State’s Michael Cobbins could be up for the job. The Cowboys should be able to hang right in there with Oregon when it comes to rebounding. Just about everybody on the team can hit the glass effectively. But for OSU it is all about the backcourt. Freshman Marcus Smart has been a sensation and is only getting better. With Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash also averaging at least 14 points per game, the Oregon defense is going to be seriously tested.


#4 Saint Louis vs. #13 New Mexico State (San Jose, California)

The concern New Mexico State will have, and everybody else who plays Saint Louis, is scoring. The Billikens run a slow and efficient offense and always play tough defense. With Kwamain Mitchell, Mike McCall and Dwayne Evans leading the scoring attack from the perimeter, St. Louis can score when they need to do so. But all eyes will be on forward Rob Loe as he faces off against New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar. The 7-5 freshman has had an amazing season and has come on really strong late in the year. If Bhullar can get the best of Loe and the rest of the Billikens frontcourt, the Aggies could pull off an upset. But NMSU will need to take better care of the ball than they usually do.


#6 Memphis vs. #11 Middle Tennessee / Saint Mary's (Auburn Hills, Michigan)

The winner of Tuesday night’s game between Middle Tennessee State and Saint Mary’s in Dayton, Ohio will head up to Auburn Hills to play Memphis on Thursday. This grouping of three teams has a lot to prove, but only one will be able to prove much of anything. Middle Tennessee State has had a great season in the Sun Belt. Coach Kermit Davis will go ten deep without a problem and that depth is very important for a team that may have to play on Tuesday and Thursday. On the flip side, Saint Mary’s is running a bit low on depth at the moment. Jorden Page is injured and will not likely be available on Tuesday or Thursday. That is not a huge individual loss for the Gaels, but it will hurt their depth with the extra game and a bit of travel. Whoever wins in Dayton will run into a very athletic and talented Memphis squad. The Tigers do not have many big wins on their resume, but their athleticism could be too much for the Blue Raiders or the Gaels. But Middle Tennessee State does have the bodies to keep up with Memphis and at least stay fresh. But MTSU will want to keep the game low scoring and that is not easy to do against Memphis.


#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Valparaiso (Auburn Hills, Michigan)

Back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004, Valparaiso is still looking for another magical moment in March. This group will create an interesting matchup for the Spartans. The Crusaders, led by Coach Bryce Drew, should not get beat too badly on the glass by the Spartans and can knock down shots. If Valpo is hitting the long ball, they can stick around with Michigan State. Meanwhile, the Spartans should be strong offensively inside with Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne. Nix, in particular, will have trouble defending the Valpo frontcourt, but he will be the strongest presence on the floor for either team. With the Crusaders hitting three-pointers and MSU scoring in the paint, the difference could be who can hang onto the ball. Both squads have turnover problems and Valparaiso will have to keep that under control if they want to pull off an upset.


#7 Creighton vs. #10 Cincinnati (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Forward Doug McDermott will hit the national stage after averaging 23.1 points and 7.5 rebounds for Creighton this season. He is not a secret by any means on the collegiate landscape, but now is the time for great players to become legends. This is a very talented Bluejays squad that has wins over Wisconsin and California. The Creighton offense is extremely strong and it is not just McDermott. Cincinnati has had some offensive struggles this season, especially of late, and they will have to find a way to stop McDermott and company and get their scorers rolling again. Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker are all very good scoring guards, but they need to be making their outside shots and not just testing Creighton’s Gregory Echenique in the paint.


#2 Duke vs. #15 Albany (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Duke has a habit of allowing lower seeded teams to hang around a bit longer than many expect. Albany is a balanced squad that might be able to make this game interesting. The problem Albany will have against Duke is scoring in the frontcourt. Mike Black and Jacob Iati are great perimeter scorers, but nobody on the Great Danes is going to have much luck scoring with their back to the basket against Mason Plumlee and Duke. Albany will slash and get to the basket and are generally efficient on offense, but the Duke defense will be too much for them in the end.


Midwest Regional Overview


South Regional Overview

South Region Game Breakdowns


East Regional Overview

East Region Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Game Breakdowns


NCAA Tournament Central