Men's NCAA Tournament East Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns

Men's NCAA Tournament East Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Indiana vs. #9 Temple (Dayton, Ohio)

Indiana handled their business in their game against James Madison. The Hoosiers outmatched and outclassed the Dukes. In the other game, where Temple took down NC State, things were a little more interesting. North Carolina State’s terrible defense that plagued them all year long weighed them down again in this game. Temple shot 24-50 (48%) on field goals for the game. They also took 33 free throws and knocked down seven threes. It was an all-around good shooting game for the Owls, who were led by Khalif Wyatt’s 31 points. In the second half, what we did see was NC State’s prolific offense. They put up half a hundred in the final 20 minutes and got a combined 56 points from their big three players but it was not enough to overcome what they were allowing on the defensive end…which brings us to Indiana versus Temple.

Was NC State’s huge second half splurge a sign of what Indiana may be capable of putting up against the Owls defense? Or was the first half more indicative of what Temple is able to do defensively against very talented scorers? My gut tells me to lean towards the former. Indiana is even better offensively than the Wolfpack and should not be so flimsy with the ball as far as turnovers or committing personal fouls. Temple forward Jake O’Brien had a career night in round two, filling the stat sheet with 18 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor. Temple will need that and more from Wyatt’s supporting cast to overcome the Hoosiers and advance.


#4 Syracuse vs. #12 California (San Jose, California)

Syracuse had even less trouble in their opening game than the Indiana Hoosiers did. Meanwhile, California nabbed the East Region’s first upset with their takedown of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. In the game preview, I said that matchup may come down to something as simple as which team’s star has a better game. Well, Cal’s Allen Crabbe ended with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists on 7 of 15 shooting. Anthony Bennett did manage a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds but he shot just 4 of 11 from the floor and wasn’t able to collect any blocked shots on the defensive end.

When California takes on the Syracuse Orange, they will need more than Crabbe to perform well though. Robert Thurman shot a perfect 6-6 for the Golden Bears in the UNLV game. That probably won’t happen again, especially against Syracuse’s stretch zone. And on the defensive side, Cal will have their hands full with all the weapons at Jim Boeheim’s disposal. The Pac-12 12 seeds had a historic second round of the NCAA Tournament when Cal and Oregon became the first pair of conference teams to both pull the famous 12-5 upset. Moving on to the Sweet Sixteen may be too much to ask of the Golden Bears though.


#3 Marquette vs. #6 Butler (Lexington, Kentucky)

The hottest team in the country almost had one more win. And perhaps they should have. Instead, the Marquette Golden Eagles escaped the Davidson upset bid to advance to the round of 32. It cannot be a good sign that Marquette needed such a late and miraculous comeback to avoid elimination. However, it also should be a positive that they actually did mount this comeback. Of course these two circumstances are inherently linked; it all depends on how coach Buzz Williams chooses to use the result to motivate his squad.

They will be moving along to face the Butler Bulldogs. Butler used the free throw line, and pretty much nothing else, to defeat their first opponent. They shot 25 for 28 from the line while Bucknell managed a puny five points from the charity stripe. A 20 point disparity on the line led to a 12 point victory. In this coming game, Butler will be hard-pressed to secure such a free throw advantage against Marquette. The Golden Eagles will be stout inside and should themselves pound the ball inside more than they did in round two. Their main inside presence, Davante Gardner, took a pitiful four field goal attempts. He made three of those shots, got to the line for three freebies and made all of them, and needs to handle the ball more if Marquette is to advance. Butler has too much experience and tournament savvy to go down if Marquette doesn’t have a better offensive showing this time around.


#2 Miami vs. #7 Illinois (Austin, Texas)

Miami was behind the third shellacking in the East Region, as they took down Pacific by 29 points. Durand Scott and Shane Larkin were the only Hurricanes in double figures but they didn’t exactly need to stick to their offensive game-plan to finish off this win. Illinois was not so fortunate, as Colorado battled them to the end but fell short by a handful of possessions. It is hard to tell what the bigger surprise was in that game: that Andre Roberson was not the Buffaloes’ leading rebounder or that Illinois’ Brandon Paul shot a putrid 3 for 12 from the floor but the Illini still won by eight.

Illinois shot pretty poorly as an entire team. Colorado was not the type of team who was able to take advantage. Miami will be. Illinois will get steamrolled if they shoot 30% from the floor in the third round. With Miami’s inside-outside game, they don’t need too many extra chances to put up a large number on the scoreboard. Missing 36 field goals, as the Illini did in round two, would be plenty of chances for the Hurricanes to capitalize on. Illinois does not need to play a perfect game to come away with a victory but something close couldn’t hurt.


East Regional Overview


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


NCAA Tournament Central