NCAA Tournament East Regional Sweet 16 Breakdown

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By: David Kay

The East Regional will feature the classic favorite versus underdog match-ups as top-seeds Kentucky and West Virginia have advanced to face #12 Cornell and #11 Washington respectively.  David Kay is here to break down the match-ups.

#2 West Virginia vs. #11 Washington

Thursday, 6:27 pm

How they got here:

West Virginia:
beat Morgan State 77-50 in first round
beat Missouri 68-59 in second round

Washington:
beat Marquette 80-78 in first round
beat New Mexico 82-64 in second round

Key for West Virginia:

Bob Huggins’ teams have always gotten after it on the defensive end and this year’s Mountaineer squad is no different.  Their length has caused problems all season long especially during West Virginia’s current eight game win streak in which they have not allowed more than 68 points to an opponent.  If WVU continues to get after it on the defensive end and the boards, they should come out on top and head to the Elite 8.  Taking advantage of mismatches due to the height of their wing players is also something Huggy’s boys should look to take advantage of.

Key for Washington:
While defense has been the name of the game for West Virginia, it has been the offense that has carried the Huskies during their nine-game win streak.  Lorenzo Romar knows he will get solid production from Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter but will need the supporting cast to continue to play well and knock down open looks.  Elston Turner has been key off the bench during Washington’s stretch run and will need to provide a spark offensively.  It will also be important for the Huskies to match West Virginia’s intensity in attacking the boards.

My Prediction:

West Virginia 67, Washington 60

#1 Kentucky vs. #12 Cornell
Thursday, 8:57 pm

How they got here:

Kentucky:
beat East Tennessee State 100-70 in first round
beat Wake Forest 90-60 in second round

Cornell:
beat Temple 78-65 in first round
beat Pitt 87-69 in second round

Key for Kentucky:

Run, run, and run some more.  This is the classic example of teams with contrasting styles which could cause headaches for the ‘Cats.  Cornell will try to slow the tempo and make it a half-court game at every possible opportunity.  Despite having two great inside players in DeMarcus Cousins and Pattrick Patterson, Kentucky is at its best when they are in transition and letting John Wall lead the break.  Even though they have shot it better in their first two games, the Wildcats are not a great three-point shooting team and will need to use their superior athleticism to get east baskets with their run-out game.  Free throw shooting is also a major weakness for John Calipari’s team so if this game comes down to the wire, the ‘Cats will need to hit their attempts from the charity stripe.

Key for Cornell:

Countering the Kentucky transition game and playing their tempo by making it a half-court game will be the Big Red’s only chance at continuing to wear Cinderella’s slipper.  In their opening weekend games, Cornell drew great match-ups against Temple and Wisconsin who prefer playing in a slower, half-court setting.  This meeting is a much different, more difficult one for the Big Red who just lack the athleticism to keep up with the ‘Cats.  Cornell is the top three-point shooting team in the nation and has been lights out in executing their offense shooting 56% and 61% from the field in the first two rounds and will need to be hitting on all cylinders once again if they are to advance.

My Prediction:

Kentucky 81, Cornell 72

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Comments

  1. http://paulmbanks says

    Yes! the Ashley Judd photo! What are your thoughts on the UK-Cornell 9 pt line? I think both double digit seeds will get crushed here.

    Looking forward to your Midwest Regional breakdown

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this
    web site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more,
    thanks for the information!

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