Sweet 16 Team Preview-South Region (Friday)

memphis.gif#1 Memphis Tigers

How they got here

Not free throw shooting, that’s for sure. Memphis easily handled Texas-Arlington in the first round, but that was expected. They then overcame their abysmal 47% from the FT line against Mississippi State to beat the Bulldogs in the second round.

Chances of Winning it all

11% and falling. Watching this team go to the free throw line is painful. I don’t care what John Calipari is saying because free throws are definitely a concern. Yea, they are incredibly talented and can overcome them, but how many times have they overcome their free throw shooting to get past the Elite 8? That Mississippi State game was more of a heart attack than it should have been, and Memphis’ chances are falling as fast as the Tiger’s FT shooting.

Player to Watch

rose.jpgDerrick Rose. I could have pick Chris Douglas-Roberts or Antonio Anderson or Joey Dorsey. But I pick Rose, because Pat Riley will certainly be watching him. This guy is an unbelievable talent who is big, strong, athletic, creative. He can score, play defense, create for others. He has a slight possibility of being the number one pick next year, but he is definitely a top 3 pick. Watching this kid is a treat.

michigan-state.gif#5 Michigan State Spartans

How they got here

Good coaching. There is no question that this is an extremely well-coached bunch. You can expect that from a Tom Izzo coached team. The Spartans blew by a lot of people’s upset pick, Temple, and then beat one of the hottest teams in the nation, Pittsburgh, in the second round. This a team playing well at the right time.

Chances of Winning it all

5%. This team is discipline enough to win the championship, but do they have the talent? They still have a tough road because if they get by the top seeded Tigers, they still have to take out Texas in Houston or a Stanford team they would struggle matching up with.

Player to Watch

neitzel.jpgIt has to be Drew Neitzel, but this team is extremely balanced and doesn’t rely on one guy. But if there is one guy who can cause havoc for opponents its Neitzel. The Junior hit 237 three-pointers this season and can absolutely light it up from the outside. If he gets going from deep, Michigan State will definitely make a run for the Final Four.

stanford.gif#3 Stanford Cardinals

How they Got Here

After blowing by the smartest team in the tournament, Cornell, the Cardinals won a thriller over Marquette. They rode their two trees inside, the Lopez twins, to the Sweet 16 and must rely on them if they want to keep playing.

Chances of Winning it All

7%. I really think this team has a better chance than most people think. They do have a tough matchup with Texas in Houston, but they could face Michigan State then UCLA again in the Final Four. When you have two trees inside that can control the paint, you will always be in games.

Player to Watch

goods.jpgAnthony Goods. Who? His last isn’t Lopez. Well, I’m going to stray away from the Lopez Twins on this one because we know to watch them. But Goods is a outside complement that the Cardinals need. The Junior is the third leading scorer on the team with over 10 points a game and has hit the most three-pointers (64) on the team. I know 64 isn’t much, but he’s an decent threat the Cardinals have from the outside and they need him to show up.

texas.gif#2 Texas Longhorns

How they got here

Not with Kevin Durant. This team is so much better with Durant and they are led by two great guards in A.J. Abrams and D.J. Augustin. They easily beat Austin Peay and squeaked by Miami (FL) in the second round. The Longhorns will have the luxury of playing the next two rounds in the state of Texas.

Chances of Winning it all

14%. I’ll say it again, but guards win in March. With those two great guards and with the next two rounds in Texas, I think the Longhorns have a great shot to get to the Final Four. However, like their Big 12 rival, Kansas, I question this teams ability with 5 minutes left on the clock in the second half.

Player to Watch

augustin.jpgD.J. Augustin. This guy is one of my favorite players in all of college basketball and I would make the case that he is the best point guard in the nation. But all bias aside, I don’t think Texas can survive without him. He scores over 19 points a game and averages just under 6 assists per game. The Sophomore is also a great shooter who shoots 38% from beyond the arc. The guards of Marquette really gave Stanford problems and Augustin and his backcourt partner, Abrams, will have to do the same. Those two could then have their hands full with the athletic guards of Memphis, but do I have to say it again… Guards win in March.

My Region Winner – Texas

Aneesh

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