Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 March Madness - West Region (First Weekend)

Best Game: #7 VCU vs. #10 Ohio State

This matchup will come down to how well the Rams Havoc can contain the Buckeyes do everything guard D'Angelo Russell. Russell lead Ohio State in scoring, rebounding and was second on the team in assists. It's a shame that Briante Weber is lost for the season for VCU because watching him guard Russell would have been a lot of fun. When you look at statistics the Buckeyes outrank VCU in most major categories and it isn't even close. Ohio State shot close to 50% this year while VCU shot 42%. Treveon Graham is the Rams go to player offensively and also leads the Rams in rebounding. The Rams have the momentum of winning the A-10 Tournament on their side, but I am skeptical about their ability to handle Russell, even with their Havoc defense. 

Player to Watch: Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky plays like a guard trapped in a large man's body. He averaged 8 rebounds per game and shot a spectacular 55% from the field. That high field goal percentage isn't just the 7-footer hanging out in the lane and taking easy shots. He also shot almost 40% from three point range this year. He is the favorite to win the Wooden award as the best player in the country, and is the reason why I believe that Wisconsin is one of the few teams with a real chance to take down Kentucky in this tournament.

Best Potential Game: #4 North Carolina vs. #5 Arkansas

If you like track meet type games, then you should be hoping that both of these teams win in the Second Round and set up this game in the final 32. Both teams averaged almost 80 points per game this season, and because of their frenetic pace, each team gives up about 70 points per game. Where Carolina would have a massive advantage is their size and rebounding ability. Carolina is also battle tested, having played 20 of their 35 games against Tournament teams this year, while Arkansas played just 10 games against Tournament teams this year, compounded by the fact that they play in the significantly weaker SEC. F Bobby Portis and G Michael Qualls are the Razorbacks two best players, while Carolina features a more balanced offensive attack. Qualls and Portis are the only Razorbacks that average double figures in scoring, while Carolina has four players in double figures, G Marcus Paige, F Brice Johnson, F Kennedy Meeks, and G-F Justin Jackson. J.P. Tokoto is another threat to score the ball for Carolina. There are a lot of complaints about the level of play in college basketball right now, but if these two teams match up, it will showcase college basketball at its finest.

Lowest Seed to Make It Through the Weekend: #14 Georgia State

If my prediction comes true then Georgia State coach Ron Hunter might tear both his Achilles. Hunter injured his Achilles celebrating the Panthers win last Sunday, earning them an NCAA Tournament berth. The Panthers have excellent guard play behind Ryan Harrow and Hunter's son, R.J. Hunter. The Panthers will need those two to hit outside shots to mitigate the size advantage Baylor will have over them. If the Panthers beat Baylor, they could then possibly face Xavier in Round Three, a team that wouldn't present the size troubles that Baylor will.


First Round

#11 BYU over #11 Mississippi 

Second Round

#1 Wisconsin over #16 Coastal Carolina

#8 Oregon over #9 Oklahoma State

#5 Arkansas over #12 Wofford

#4 North Carolina over #13 Harvard

#6 Xavier over #11 BYU

#14 Georgia State over #3 Baylor

#10 Ohio State over #7 VCU

#2 Arizona over #15 Texas Southern

Third Round

#1 Wisconsin over #8 Oregon

#4 North Carolina over #5 Arkansas

#14 Georgia State over #6 Xavier

#2 Arizona over #10 Ohio State

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