Men's NCAA Tournament East Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

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Men’s NCAA Tournament East Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


#1 Indiana vs. #4 Syracuse

Temple’s script to beat Indiana was to get another strong showing from Khalif Wyatt and get some major help from a couple of his teammates. The first happened. Wyatt went off for 31 points for the second straight game. However, none of his fellow Owls were able to step up enough to thwart the Hoosiers’ run. Indiana’s offense and shot attempts were limited and they generated much of their scoring from the foul line but Temple didn’t do enough to capitalize. The Owls had Indiana in their grasp and let them slink away.

Syracuse’s win also did not come easy. Even with Allen Crabbe managing just 8 points on 3-9 shooting, Cal was in this game to the very end. Somehow Syracuse seemed to have all the better players and the better system but got lackadaisical or careless because when they looked up at some point in the second half after they went what seemed like days without making a field goal, Cal was right with them. This win has to be credited to the Orange defense as their offense certainly did nothing to inspire confidence.

If the Sweet Sixteen winner was determined by who could win ugliest, both Indiana and Syracuse had very nice preliminary showings. When they face each other, hopefully it will instead bring out the best in the two teams, because both clubs certainly have loads of talent. The Hoosiers have an inside-outside combination that rivals anyone remaining in this tournament. They may have to show patience against Syracuse’s zone defense but having Cody Zeller flash to the top of the key could open up driving lines or corner threes. Meanwhile Syracuse has no single player like Temple had with Khalif Wyatt, but their overall roster is much better. There is no lone player Indiana will be able to key on, although that may play to their benefit with the way they struggled to contain a star scorer in round three. With how close all of the round three games were in this region, this game should be no different. Give the slight edge to Syracuse in this regard: Syracuse needed to hold off an opponent’s run to win their game while Indiana needed to make a run of their own to advance. That says something even if I am not sure what it is.


#2 Miami vs. #3 Marquette

In the Marquette-Butler game, things were pretty even. The rebounds were even; the turnovers were even; the fouls were close; Butler had the edge from behind the arc while Marquette had the edge from the free throw line, as you would expect. The difference at the end seemed to be who made fewer mistakes. Butler’s Rotnei Clarke took a number of bad shots in the second half. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over an alarming number of times in the final few minutes. It was enough to allow Marquette to advance.

In the final round three matchup of the East Region, Shane Larkin hit a dagger three near the end that put Miami over the top. The game turned into a battle of who could miss the most outside shots. Miami missed 16 threes only to be topped by Illinois’ 20 misses from behind the arc. D.J. Richardson himself missed nine three point attempts. Even with a near no-show by Durand Scott, Miami did just enough (in what is becoming a trend in the East) to pull out the win. A late-game missed call by the referees that went in their favor didn’t hurt either.

In the Sweet Sixteen contest, some big players who have been less than stellar need to step up their games. Miami’s Reggie Johnson did very little in their win over Pacific and did even less against Illinois. The 6-10 senior is a key contributor off the bench for the Hurricanes. His Marquette counterpart, Davante Gardner, has been equally as disappointing thus far in the tournament. The two may very well be matched up against each other when they’re both in the game, which should make things more interesting. If neither can get things going though, the battle between Shane Larkin and Vander Blue should be the main event to the opening card that is Johnson versus Gardner. You hate to compartmentalize a team game into a slew of individual player matchups but star players swing basketball games more than in any other sport.


East Regional Overview


West Regional Overview

West Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


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