Men's NCAA Tournament West Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns

Ohio State Aaron Craft NCAA Tournament

Men’s NCAA Tournament West Region Elite 8 Game Breakdown


Two teams with the word state in their names are left over from the wreckage known as the NCAA tournament brackets. One team was expected to make it, while the other… let’s just say no one saw that coming. There was a lot of that going around this month. Having the West Regional in Los Angeles when the teams are from Kansas and Ohio? Well, that’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament. Both teams are just happy to be around at this time.

Here is a look at the West Regional final matchup:


#9 Wichita State vs. #2 Ohio State (7:05 p.m. Saturday at Los Angeles, California)

Do you remember the last time Wichita State made it to the Elite Eight? If you do, you must be in your late thirties, more likely 40 or older. The Shockers last made it to the round of eight in 1981, when Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr led Wichita State to three tournament wins. That year, the sixth-seeded Shockers beat 11-seed Southern 95-70 in the first round, stunned 3-seed Iowa 60-56 in the second round and topped 7-seed Kansas 66-65 in the regional semifinals. The luck ran out when Wichita State lost 96-85 and LSU moved on to the Final Four. This year, Wichita State is the 9-seed, and the Shockers have taken a similar road. Wichita State defeated 8-seed Pittsburgh 73-55, upset top-seed Gonzaga 76-70 and then ended a similar Cinderella run for 13-seed LaSalle in a 72-58 victory.  Wichita State (29-8 overall) has been to one Final Four, when it lost to UCLA in the 1965 national semifinals. Wichita State is 27th in the nation in rebounding (38.4 per game) and it ranks 117th in points (69.4), 111th in assists (13.8) and 115th in field goal percentage (44.3). Wichita State was led by Malcolm Armstead’s 18 points, and Carl Hall (16 points) and Ron Baker (13) were also in double figures as the Shockers won against LaSalle. The Shockers haven’t seen Ohio State this year but did beat Iowa 75-63 in a November contest.

As for Ohio State (29-7), it is a wonder its fans have not needed smelling salts after the last two games. The Buckeyes started with a relatively easy 95-70 win over Iona in the second round and then needed a Chris Craft 3-pointer for a 78-75 win over Iowa State in the third round. Craft’s trey came with a half-second left, and LaQuinton Ross showed similar dramatics when he hit a three with two seconds remaining to shock Arizona, 73-70. Deshaun Thomas had 20 points and Ross drained 17 points in the victory. Ohio State did not play any Missouri Valley Conference teams this season. The Buckeyes’ strength is field goal shooting, where they are 66th (45.6). Otherwise Ohio State is 110th in scoring (69.9), 135th in rebounds (35.4) and 123rd in assists (13.5). Ohio State has stronger shooting, but Wichita State has better rebounding. The Buckeyes have a tougher schedule, having lost by five points to Duke, eight points to Kansas, three points to Michigan State and two points to Michigan. If Wichita State crashes the boards effectively and Ohio State’s shooting falters this could be a closer game, but I have a feeling Ohio State makes the Final Four with a double-digit victory.

Winner: Ohio State 74, Wichita State 61


West Regional Overview


East Regional Overview

East Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


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