Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament South 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament South 2nd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Florida vs. #16 Albany / Mount St. Mary's (Orlando, Florida)

After steamrolling through the Southeastern Conference undefeated during the regular season, the Florida Gators kept up their momentum, securing the SEC tournament championship as well as the NCAA Tournament's number one overall seed. Awaiting them in Orlando will be either Albany or Mount St. Mary's. These two teams have had similar seasons, albeit go about their business in different ways. The Albany Great Danes get after it on defense and rely heavily on their starting five. The Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers shoot a ton of threes behind two prolific scorers in Julian Norfleet and Rashad Whack. Neither of these two schools though should create much of an obstacle for the Gators moving on to round three.


#8 Colorado vs. #9 Pittsburgh (Orlando, Florida)

If not for a knee injury to Spencer Dinwiddie back in January, this matchup could have been one of the epic one-on-one battles with Dinwiddie for Colorado and Lamar Patterson for Pittsburgh. Instead, with the Buffaloes' best player done for the year, this game turns into a rebounding battle, but still an epic clash. Both teams are in the top 20 in the country in rebounding margin. Colorado's board work is spread around between a number of forwards, while Pitt relies heavily on senior forward Talib Zanna. Zanna grabbed 21 rebounds in the Panthers' upset victory over UNC in the ACC tournament. Pitt has the edge here though since it gets more consistent guard play, takes care of the basketball and will have Patterson to lean on in the end of a close game.


#5 VCU vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin (San Diego, California)

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams fell a bit under the radar this season. The mid-major glory was stolen from them by Wichita State, and yet VCU is right where it wants to be for another NCAA Tournament run. With big wins over the likes of Virginia and St. Louis, VCU does what it always does: press, pressure and force mistakes. Their opponent is Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks went 31-2 this season, not having lost a game since 2013. While SFA put up some impressive numbers on the year, it is hard to know how much value to put into them. Their assist to turnover figures are good, but the Lumberjacks have not faced any defenses like VCU's. Perhaps fortunately for Southland conference backers, VCU has performed pretty poorly in many other departments this season, namely on the boards and with its shooting accuracy.


#4 UCLA vs. #13 Tulsa (San Diego, California)

In Steve Alford's first season as UCLA head coach, it seems a number of former top prospects are finally putting things together. Sophomores Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson were both spectacular this season on the Bruins' way to the Pac-12 title. While the frontcourt is still a question mark many nights, the guard rotation (if you can call Anderson a guard) is the strength of this team, factoring in the likes of potential first-round NBA draft pick Zach LaVine. The Problem for Tulsa in this matchup is UCLA negates the Golden Hurricane's biggest strength. Tulsa also does much of its work through its guards and often counted on the imposing size of the backcourt to overpower smaller foes. No one is overpowering the 6'5" Adams, 6'4" Norman Powell, 6'5" LaVine or 6'9" Anderson though.


#6 Ohio State vs. #11 Dayton (Buffalo, New York)

The Ohio State Buckeyes had a tumultuous season but still managed to work their way to the Big Ten semifinals. Defense led the way, behind senior point guard and pest Aaron Craft. However, the scoring punch just wasn't there for Ohio State this season. Lenzelle Smith and LaQuinton Ross did not develop into the bucket-makers fans were hoping once Deshaun Thomas departed. Of course, standing in their way is one of the field's weaker opponents in the Dayton Flyers. Many had Dayton missing the tournament yet they got in and even avoided a first round game on the back of the big wins over Gonzaga, St. Louis and UMass. If the Flyers aren't going to run Ohio State ragged with their nine-man rotation, they aren't going to win. A methodical pace would lean favor towards OSU.


#3 Syracuse vs. #14 Western Michigan (Buffalo, New York)

Although a three seed may not be what Syracuse fans were hoping for or expecting, a second round game in New York is a nice silver lining. The Orange has been sputtering for weeks now after starting the season off 25-0 and grabbing the number one ranking in the country. To stop the bleeding, Syracuse will have to defeat the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos rely on a pair of players to do most of their work. Guard David Brown and center Shayne Whittington combine for over 35 points per game. Of course, Brown does a lot of his damage at the foul line and the Orange zone makes it hard for opponents to penetrate and get to the rim. Also, Western Michigan does not have the size or depth elsewhere to really compete with Syracuse if Brown doesn't go crazy.


#7 New Mexico vs. #10 Stanford (St. Louis, Missouri)

New Mexico got the best of Mountain West rival San Diego State this season. The Lobos beat SDSU two out of three, with the last win doubling as the conference championship. The reason New Mexico can get to such an elite level is because of its three stars: guard Kendall Williams and twin towers Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk. Led by these three, the Lobos finished in the top 30 in the country in field-goal defense, rebound margin, assists and turnovers. The only reason this squad wasn't better is because of the lack of wings to stretch the floor and leave the paint open for Bairstow and Kirk to work. Nevertheless, New Mexico's ceiling is much higher than Stanford's. The Cardinal had a fine season, which included wins over UConn and UCLA. However, other than the high-scoring Chasson Randle, this team doesn't excel at much.


#2 Kansas vs. #15 Eastern Kentucky (St. Louis, Missouri)

How far the Kansas Jayhawks can travel in the NCAA Tournament will depend on how soon center Joel Embiid can come back and play. This may not factor into KU's second round match versus Eastern Kentucky, but it is certainly on everyone's mind. The interesting thing is the injury doesn't appear to have effected Kansas' seeding, although they were technically given the worst two-seed. The Eastern Kentucky Colonels come in as the 15-seed. They won the Ohio Valley by taking care of the basketball and shooting well from all over the court. However, the Colonels are dreadful inside and on the glass. Even without Embiid, the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis should be able to get whatever they want in this matchup.


South Regional Overview


West Regional Overview

West Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

East Regional Overview

East Region 2nd Round Game Breakdowns

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