Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament West Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns

2014 NCAA Tournament West Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


#1 Arizona vs. #8 Gonzaga (San Diego, California)

Gonzaga held on to beat Oklahoma State in a foul filled second round contest. Kevin Pangos scored a game high 26 points and was one of a few players who could actually hit free-throws. Arizona had a little more trouble with Weber State than many expected. They never really pulled away, but survived and advanced. Nick Johnson went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and scored 18 points, while Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon recorded five blocks each and reached double digits in the scoring column.

The Arizona frontcourt will have a tougher time against Gonzaga in the third round. Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski can make it difficult for anybody on Arizona to score in the paint. The fact that Arizona has better depth in the paint with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be huge in this game, especially if it turns into another foul fest. This is also a Gonzaga team that likes to score around the basket and Gordon and Taczewski will make sure they don’t get many easy looks.


#4 San Diego State vs. #12 North Dakota State (Spokane, Washington)

If the games on Thursday night were any indication, we are in for a treat when San Diego State meets up with North Dakota State. The Aztecs did their best to let New Mexico State hang around, but in the end they beat the Aggies 73-69 in overtime. Xavier Thames did not have the most efficient shooting night, but he did score a game high 23 points. Meanwhile, North Dakota State won in overtime against Oklahoma. Superstar Taylor Braun only scored 11 points before fouling out in overtime. The star of the night was Lawrence Alexander, who scored 28 points.

Once again, San Diego State does not get an ideal matchup. North Dakota State’s biggest defensive weakness comes from beyond the arc. And the Aztecs are not good shooters. The worse news may come from the fact that Braun rarely has multiple off games in a row. Battered and bruised, Braun is going to get his points and it will likely be more than 11 this time around. If the Bison can again get clutch shooting from Alexander and TrayVonn Wright and an interior presence from Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State could be this year’s Cinderella.


#3 Creighton vs. #6 Baylor (San Antonio, Texas)

Creighton took some hits from Louisiana, but ended up with a quality ten point win to move on to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Doug McDermott scored 30 points and the Ragin’ Cajuns just could not knock down enough three-pointers. In fact, the Bluejays held Louisiana to just 37.9 percent shooting from the floor and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. Baylor had a surprisingly easy time with Nebraska. Despite a horrid shooting day from long range, the Bears were efficient inside and at the free-throw line.

There were some obvious flaws in Baylor’s game that they will not likely be able to get away with if they want to upset Creighton. Shooting specialist Brady Heslip was 0-for-6 from three-point land. He did still score a dozen points, one bucket from within the arc and a perfect 10-for-10 from the stripe. But the Bears need Heslip to knock down some shots. More importantly, the entire team needs to contain McDermott. If the Bears spend too much time in their zone defense, the Bluejays can shoot them right out of it. But matching up with McDermott outside of a zone will be tough too, so stopping Creighton’s potent offense could be a struggle either way.


#2 Wisconsin vs. #7 Oregon (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

In a day full of thrillers and upsets, Wisconsin and Oregon quietly took care of business. The Badgers pulled away from American and cruised to an easy 75-35 win behind efficient shooting from Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson. Oregon and BYU did not match their high scoring affair from earlier this year, but the Ducks still dropped 87 points on the Cougars. The surprise contributor was forward Elgin Cook, who led all scorers with 23 points.

This game will be a battle of tempo. The Ducks, who rank in the top ten in the nation in scoring offense, will want to get up and down the floor and force Wisconsin to try and keep up. The Badgers, of course, will try and keep Oregon in their halfcourt offense. If Elgin Cook is anywhere near as efficient as he was against BYU, the Ducks might be able to grind out a relatively low scoring game. But if Wisconsin can keep their hot outside shooting going, they might be able to win a game in the 70’s or 80’s.


South Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


Midwest Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


East Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


Tournament Central