Sweet 16 Preview-Midwest Region (Friday)

kansas.gif#1 Kansas Jayhawks

How they got here

Kansas blew by its first two opponents, Portland State and UNLV. The Big 12 Champs used their experience and depth to overwhelm both teams and now look to get over the hump they haven’t been able to get over in previous years.

Chances of Winning it all

30%. This team is the most talented team in the nation, hands down. But I question their ability to makes the plays down the stretch to win BIG games. In recent years, they have always underachieved losing to teams like Bucknell and Bradley. So a loss to a team like Villanova is still not out of the question, but in the end, I expect this team to roll through the region and have a great shot at winning it all in San Antonio.

Player to Watch

rush.jpgBrandon Rush. I feel that if the Jayhawks are to win the title, then Brandon Rush will have to carry them on his back at some point in time. This team is so deep and talented, that no player on the team plays more than 30 minutes a game. But nobody on this team is more capable of lighting it up than Rush, who can slash to the hole and shoot the three.

villanova.gif#12 Villanova Wildcats

How they got here

Remember about three weeks ago, when this team wasn’t even the one of the last four teams out. They needed a steam rolling of Syracuse in the first round of the Big East Tournament and numerous losses by fellow bubble teams to even sniff a tournament berth. Well, they not only got in the tournament, but they are now playing in the Sweet 16. Villanova came back from a porous first half to upset Clemson and then easily cruised by upstart Siena.

Chances of Winning it all

0.0001%. I’ll give the Wildcats a slight shot because they play in the Big East. But other than that, there is really no hope. The Wildcats are about to hit a brick wall.

Player to Watch

scottie-reynolds.jpgScottie Reynolds. I’ve seen the kid play in high school and college and I know that he can carry a team on his back. This Villanova team is Reynolds and when he’s bad, so is ‘Nova. I don’t like the fact that he shoots a very low percentage from the field (42%), but this kid can still get it done with his grittiness and ability to get to the rim.

wisconsin.gif#3 Wisconsin Badgers

How they got here

After winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament, the Badgers dominated their first two opponents, especially on the defensive end. They held Cal-State Fullerton to 56 points (I know great accomplishment right?) and thoroughly dominated Michael Beasley and Kansas State, giving up only 55 points. Many people had the Badgers not making it out of the first weekend, but Wisconsin showed that they are very capable of winning this region.

Chances of winning it all

3%. They have a shot because of their defense, but Wisconsin always falls short on the offensive end. There are too many offensively talented teams out there, so the Badgers won’t hold every opponent to under 60 points. In a big game spot, will this team be able to score a bucket?

Player to Watch

flowers.jpgMr. Stephen Curry, please meet Mr. Michael Flowers. This guy is widely regarded as the best defensive player in the nation and he’ll get a task in slowing down Curry that nobody else has successfully completed. Think about some other guys Flowers would have to shut down the deeper the Badgers get in the tournament. Rush/Chalmers, Ellington/Lawson, Rose/Douglas-Roberts, Augustin/Abrams, Westbrook/Shipp/Collison. He must be big on the defensive end if the Badgers want to keep playing.

davidson.gif#10 Davidson Wildcats

How they got here

The darlings of this years tournament came back against two quality opponents to advance this far. Davidson overcame a 11-point second half deficit against Gonzaga and erased a 17-point second half deficit to stun favored Georgetown. Stephen Curry is the only reason the Wildcats came back, putting up 55 second half points in the process.

Chances of Winning it all

0%. People compare this team to George Mason, but remember how overwhelmed the Patriots were when they reached the Final Four? Well, even if Davidson somehow gets by Wisconsin and Kansas, there is absolutely no shot they sniff the championship game.

Player to Watch

curry2.jpgUmm. Andrew Lovedale? Jason Richards? Yea right. All eyes are going to be on Stephen Curry. This man put up 70 points in the first two rounds and has been absolutely unreal in the second half of games. He seems to see how the opponent will play them in the first half and then just go off in the second half. He better play both halves from now on because there is little room for error for the Wildcats. We’ll see how he can handle the defense of Flowers, but no players Sweet 16 performance will be watched more than Curry’s. No matter what happens though, this kid had a phenomenal tournament.

My Region Winner – Kansas



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