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

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


#1 Indiana vs. #16 LIU Brooklyn / James Madison (Dayton, Ohio)

LIU Brooklyn rolled through a very high scoring Northeast Tournament on their way to an automatic berth here. James Madison made a similarly spectacular run to win the depleted CAA conference and nab the automatic berth. In the first round game between these two, the high-octane LIU offense will go against the pressure defense of the JMU Dukes. Whoever comes out on top will most assuredly be outclassed by the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana has stars and talent all over the court. Victor Oladipo may be the best player in the country. Someone like Will Sheehey can be a difference maker and he is nothing more than the fifth or sixth option on this squad.


#8 North Carolina State vs. #9 Temple (Dayton, Ohio)

Temple is in the unenviable position of having to face a very good team who greatly underachieved and was thus stuck with a low seed. In the first poll of the year, NC State was the top team in the ACC. They were in the top 10 in the country. CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown were supposed to battle it out for conference Player of the Year honors. This would be the year State finally took the reigns as the best Carolina school. It didn’t happen but the roster is still made up of all the same players that warranted the preseason ranking. So for a team like Temple, who has a number of very good wins this season, senior Khalif Wyatt may lead them to a win as the 9 seed here but it will seem like a bigger upset than the seedings indicate.


#5 UNLV vs. #12 California (San Jose, California)

Each team has their go-to guy. Whichever star performs better may be the deciding factor in which team advances. Cal’s guy is Allen Crabbe. As mentioned in the East Regional Overview, he has the ability to take over and win games on his own. He scored in double figures in 28 of Cal’s 31 ballgames. He took at least 10 field goal attempts in all but two of those 31 games. On UNLV’s side, the guy was supposed to be junior forward Mike Moser. After a spectacular sophomore campaign, expectations were sky high. Unfortunately, Moser had just a dreadful time of things this season. In his stead, freshman Anthony Bennett took over. He led the Rebels in both points and rebounds in his first year. Although he has a bit more help around him than Crabbe and realizing the two will not be matched up head to head as they play different positions, whoever comes out on top in the hypothetical “star matchup” may see their school advance.


#4 Syracuse vs. #13 Montana (San Jose, California)

Much like Temple University, Montana cannot be happy how this worked out. Syracuse was flying high for much of the season, at or near the top of the country. They hit some turbulence late in the year and fell down the rankings. Only partly saved by a Big East Tournament run, the Orange was still left with a relatively low four seed. And here comes Montana. They cruise through the Big Sky Conference, finishing the year 19-1 against their Big Sky peers. They managed to take fellow East region foe Davidson to overtime in their last loss of the year. And they get rewarded with a solid 13 seed, expecting to play a mid-level power team, someone whose been perhaps bobbing around the top 25 standings all year. Instead, in stroll Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim and the 2-3 zone of the Syracuse Orange. Going in Montana’s favor is that they shoot well from the outside, over 47% from the floor as a unit and over 38% from three. A hot shooting night is always the death of the 2-3 zone.


#6 Butler vs. #11 Bucknell (Lexington, Kentucky)

Bucknell has made the NCAA Tournament now for the fourth time in the last 10 years. They won their first round game in both 2005 and 2006 before bowing out. They will be hard-pressed however to win the first game this season unless senior leader Mike Muscala has an historic game. The Bison’s leading scorer has already had a fantastic season and career. It was no guarantee he’d be any better than he was a year ago when he put up a very good 17 points and 9 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the floor but he managed to top all those numbers in his final year. The problem is Butler has handled big-time centers numerous times this season, especially in some of their biggest wins. In their December win against Indiana, Cody Zeller managed just four made field goals as the Bulldogs hacked and pounded him all game long. In their January win versus Gonzaga, POY candidate Kelly Olynyk finished with just five made field goals himself. The team that has given Butler the most trouble all year long has been St. Louis. The Billikens do not really feature a player that compares to Muscala though and they defeated Butler three times this season more on the back of steals and forcing turnovers.


#3 Marquette, vs. #14 Davidson (Lexington, Kentucky)

If Davidson hopes to pull the upset here, they may need to find some of that 2008 magic that led them to the regional final. It helps that this is a very experienced team. Their top five rotation guys are all juniors and seniors and backup guard Tom Droney makes six of their top seven upperclassmen. However, Marquette is also an experienced squad. Five of their top guys are also juniors and seniors, nullifying any advantage Davidson would have in that department. The Wildcats other strength is their shooting, as they shoot well as a team from all over: 46% on field goals, 80% on free throws and 37% on threes. Marquette doesn’t like to get into shooting battles and prefers to force the ball down low. A change of tempo and getting Marquette shooting from the outside may be Davidson’s best bet at the upset.


#7 Illinois vs. #10 Colorado (Austin, Texas)

Illinois and Colorado will be a clash of mirroring team resumes. Colorado has stayed pretty consistent all year. They hung with, but lost to most of the top teams they faced. They never challenged the top 25 rankings but obviously played well enough all year to be among the schools in that next tier and gained an at-large berth into the tournament. They defend well and rebound very well, led by double-digit boarder Andre Roberson. On the other side, Illinois has seen elated highs and crushing lows. With wins over Butler and Gonzaga heading into conference play, all the buzz was around the Illini. They went on to finish a rotten 8-10 against conference foes. But since everyone seemed to agree the Big 10 was the best conference in the nation, two games under .500 was good enough. Leading scorer Brandon Paul has managed to stay pretty consistent. It’s the rest of the team that needs to step things up. After all, Illinois lost four times this season when Paul topped the 20 point mark after starting 5-0 in such instances.


#2 Miami vs. #15 Pacific (Austin, Texas)

The Miami Hurricanes put together a rather remarkable season. For the first time in ACC history, a team not from the state of North Carolina won both the regular season and conference tournament titles. And it wasn’t just that they won; it was how they handled the ACC all year long. They started conference play 13-0. This streak included drubbings of both Duke and North Carolina. In the ACC Tournament, all of their victories came by at least 10 points. Many figured Miami was on their way to a number one seed in the Big Dance. It didn’t materialize but, led by Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji, the Hurricanes pose as a huge Final Four threat nonetheless. Standing in their way is Pacific. The Tigers are back in the tournament for the first time after making it three straight years from 2004 through 2006. They sport a very deep team and shoot well from the outside. However, with a smallish team, Miami may pose as too much on the inside.


East Regional Overview


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Game Breakdowns


NCAA Tournament Central