March Madness Midwest Region Breakdown

 

March Madness Midwest Region Breakdown

 

#1 Kansas vs #16 Penn

#8 Seton Hall vs #9 N.C. State

#5 Clemson vs #12 New Mexico State

#4 Auburn vs #13 Charleston

#6 TCU vs #11 Syracuse

#3 Michigan State vs #14 Bucknell

#7 Rhode Island vs #10 Oklahoma

#2 Duke vs #15 Iona

 

#1 Kansas vs #16 Penn:

    Kansas posts one of the most balanced, and potent offenses in the country. Led by Devonte Graham and his 17.9 points, the Jayhawks post 81.5 points per game. If Udoka Azubuike is healthy, Kansas is a threat to win it all. Without him, they are thin in the paint, and a potential elite eight matchup with Duke could spell trouble. Easily the best #16 seed in the bracket, Penn poses some problems. They have four players averaging at least 10 points, and hold opponents to 68.7 points per game. However, it’s not enough to contend with Kansas.

The Pick: Kansas

 

#8 Seton Hall vs #9 N.C. State

    Seton Hall is let by big man Angel Delgado, who averages 13 points and 11 rebounds. He is a nightmare down low. They have four players average between 12 and 17 points per game, and have some big wins under their belt this year. N.C State is led by guard Allerik Freeman, but have problems defending the post. I like Delgado underneath, and he should have a day.

The Pick: Seton Hall

 

#5 Clemson vs #12 New Mexico State

    Clemson started out the year red hot, until star guard Donte Grantham tore his ACL. Since the injury, the Tigers are just 6-5, and have struggled. They are a sound defensive team who limits free throws and defends the paint well, two good things to secure a win in March. The Aggies however, come into this game as one of the top rebounding teams in the country. They shoot free throws very poorly, but fortunately Clemson doesn’t allow their opponents to get to the line much. Zach Lofton leads the Aggies offense with 19.8 points per game, and I like the Aggies with the upset this game.

The Pick: New Mexico State

 

#4 Auburn vs #13 Charleston

    This should be one of the better games this weekend, as both teams have three players capable of going off for twenty points. For Auburn, they are led by Mustapha Heron with 16.6 points, and Bryce Brown with 16.1 points. They have four other players who average at least 7 points, Auburn is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, going 78.6% from the charity stripe. Charleston is lead by the triplet of Grant Riller (18.7 points), Joe Chealey (18.5 points), and Jarrell Brantley (17 points). Outside of these three, COFC offers very little. I want to go with the upset here, but I think Auburn will be too much for Charleston to handle.

The Pick: Auburn

 

#6 TCU vs #11 Syracuse

    TCU surprised everyone this year and managed to earn a top 10 ranking earlier in the year. They fell off the radar later in the year, but have seven players averaging 8 points or more, and shoot 40% from behind the arc. They are led by Vladmir Brodziansky with 15.3 points per game. On the other side, Syracuse limped through the doors to the dance, losing seven of their last twelve. They are led by Tyus Battle (19.7 points per game) and one of the better defenses in the country, holding opponents to 64.5 points per game. I like TCU’s outsides shooting against Syracuse zone, and I think that will be the difference in this game. I like Syracuse’s experience in March, and I like Tyus Battle, but in the end I think TCU gets it done. Barely.

The Pick: TCU

 

#3 Michigan State vs #14 Bucknell

    Michigan State is one of the most talented teams in the country. Led by Myles Bridges and Jaren Jackson, the Spartans can light it up from three. They shot 41.3% from behind the arc, and are one of the best at defensive teams in the country, holding opponents to 64.9 points per game. They sport five players averaging double digits. Bucknell is led by Zach Thomas (20.3 points per game), and post two other averaging more than 14 points in Nana Foulland and Stephen Brown. The Bison have their hands full, and have a chance to pull a fast one on Michigan State. Will they? No. Sparty moves on to the round of 32.

The Pick: Michigan State

 

#7 Rhode Island vs #10 Oklahoma

    Rhode Island is led by the quartet of Seniors- E.C. Matthews, Stanford Robinson, Jared Terrell, and Andre Berry- all who average at least nine points per game. Jared Terrell (17.9) and E.C. Matthews (13.1) lead the Rams. They rank 20th in the nation in with a 1.42 assist to turnover ratio. The story for Oklahoma has been freshman star Trae Young. Young is an elite scorer and passer, leading the country in both points and assists (27.4 points, 8.8 assists). Young does have a problem with turnovers, but if he can keep them in check Oklahoma can be dangerous. I like Oklahoma in this game. I like their size advantage over URI, and I like what Trae Young can do.

The Pick: Oklahoma

 

#2 Duke vs #15 Iona

    Duke is dangerous this year. If they can play better on the defensive end, Duke is one of the favorites to go all the way. Led by Freshman Marvin Bagley (21.1 points, 11.1 rebounds), Duke sports an elite offense, capable of dropping triple digits if on. The Blue Devils averaged 84.9 points per game, and had 5 players average at least 9 points. The shoot the ball well, hitting their threes at 37.8% a clip. Iona has 7 players average 8 points or more, and they shoot 38.8% from deep. Led by Ricky McGill and his 13.5 points per game, they averaged 79.8 points per game. Iona may hang with Duke in the beginning, but expect Bagley and Wendell Carter to have monster games underneath.

The Pick: Duke

 

Players to Watch:

Devonte Graham, Kansas

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall

Zach Lofton, NMSU

Mustapha Heron, Auburn

Bryce Brown, Auburn

Grant Riller, Charleston

Joe Chealey, Charleston

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Myles Bridges, Michigan State

Jaren Jackson, Michigan State

Zach Thomas, Bucknell

Jared Terrell, Rhode Island

E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island

Trae Young, Oklahoma

Marvin Bagley, Duke

Wendell Carter, Duke

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