Men's NCAA Tournament South Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

Florida Gulf Coast Men's College Basketball Sherwood Brown

Men's NCAA Tournament South Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


#1 Kansas vs. #4 Michigan (Dallas, Texas)

This was always the most likely Sweet Sixteen matchup in the top half of the South bracket.  Some thought that there could be hiccups for both of these teams along the way – after all, it is March.  Michigan played really solid through two rounds.  They totally dismantled a very good VCU team and won the game by 25 points.  They grabbed hold of the game and never relinquished control.  Freshman Mitch McGary had his breakout game at the right time.  He had 21 points and 14 rebounds.  Four Wolverines finished in double figures.  Michigan runs the same pace that VCU does and unfortunately for the Rams, it worked in Michigan’s favor.  Kansas, after struggling with Western Kentucky in the first round, had their best performance in the last month against North Carolina, mainly in the second half.  Trailing by as much as 11, the Jayhawks came out in the second half and flustered the Tar Heels to a point where they could not shoot the ball effectively.  Guard Travis Releford (22 points) found the bottom of the net on what seemed like every possession.  In the end, North Carolina had no answer for the size underneath that Kansas boasts.  The smaller lineup has really helped the Tar Heels out in the latter part of the season, but Jeff Withey and company was having their way on both ends of the glass.  Withey and Kevin Young were finding easy dunks and layups by the end of the game.  The result was in hand about half way through the second half. 

The game between Kansas and Michigan will be about pace, but more importantly it is going to be about making shots in transition.  A team can run all they want as long as they are smart with the basketball and take quality attempts.  They also have to drain those shots.  Both of these teams have the ability to play that style of basketball.  It will be a supreme matchup of talent.  There are talented, important freshmen on both teams (McGary for Michigan and Ben McLemore for Kansas).  Each team’s starters really contribute in all aspects of the game.  Overall, Michigan has played better throughout the tournament.  They have run over their opponents.  Now they get back to facing a team that equals the caliber of teams they played in the Big Ten all season.  Kansas has seemed to hit their stride at the right time.  Their performance against North Carolina proved why they were a No. 1 seed.  The issue for them is the disappearance of McLemore.  He has really struggled in his two first NCAA tournament games.  He has 13 total points in both games.  His shooting percentage is well below his season average.  The Jayhawks are going to need him to show up against one of the most consistent teams in the entire tournament field.  This has the makings of a great game.


#3 Florida vs. #15 Florida Gulf Coast (Dallas, Texas)

It is hard to believe I am even writing this.  Half of the South’s Sweet Sixteen contingent involves two teams from the state of Florida:  the Gators and the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast.  What coach Andy Enfield and the Eagles have done is remarkable.  They have made history this season by being the only 15 seed in tournament history to make the Sweet Sixteen.  They ran through Georgetown and a good San Diego State team that was really shell-shocked by how well the Eagles played against them.  FGCU continues to play loose and free.  They outwork everyone on the court and appear to be more athletic than their opponents thus far.  For stretches of the second half against San Diego State, it seemed like they could not miss.  It was a dunkfest with Bernard Thompson and Chase Fieler consistently taking it to the hole for some thunderous finishes.  Point guard Brett Comer has been sensational in the tournament.  He finished the game against the Aztecs with a career-high 14 assists.  Even when star senior Sherwood Brown got into foul trouble, the Eagles never missed a beat.  No team has hit more timely shots in the tournament than the Eagles have.

Florida has seemed to have somewhat of a breeze to the Sweet Sixteen.  Minnesota gave them a bit of a scare late in the game, but the Gators came out absolutely firing on Sunday night.  In the first half, they were shooting nearly 75%.  The game appeared over at halftime with a 21 point lead.  In the second half, forward Erik Murphy got into some foul trouble, and Minnesota climbed back in the game for a while.  When their star guard Andre Hollins had to sit due to his own foul issues, the Gophers went cold and could not get over the hump.  Florida’s senior guard Mike Rosario was the team’s leading scorer with 25 points.  He hit a timely three down the stretch to ice the game.  He and Murphy are going to be key moving forward.  As long as they can avoid foul trouble, they figure to be central in the matchup against Florida Gulf Coast.  The Eagles will certainly be a fan favorite – everyone loves an underdog – but Florida is just as athletic of a team.  Billy Donovan is one of the best tournament coaches in the game today.  He is not going to be outwitted.  For FGCU to continue this incredible streak, they have to continue to hit long-range shots, while also making good on miscommunication underneath the basket.  They get a lot of dunks due to slip screens and double-teams on other players.  FGCU believes they can win and that is just as important as any statistic.  There is absolutely no reason to count them out.  Remember, Billy Donovan’s teams love to extinguish the fires of beloved Cinderella teams.  In 2006, his team crushed the dreams of upstart George Mason in the Final Four.  They ended up winning their first of two straight national titles.


South Regional Overview


West Regional Overview

West Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


East Regional Overview

East Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


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