NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16 Breakdown

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By: David Kay

Un-doubtedly the toughest of the four brackets, the Midwest Regional suffered a major shake-up the opening weekend when Georgetown was stunned in the first round by Ohio and then Northern Iowa shocked the sports world by beating the Smoke Monster, Kansas in the second round.  Now the Midwest seems to be Ohio State’s to lose. But you sure cannot count out Northern Iowa especially with a Sweet 16 match-up against a Kalin Lucas-less Michigan State team.

#2 Ohio State vs. #6 Tennessee
Friday, 6:07 pm

How they got here:
Ohio State:
beat UC-Santa Barbara 68-51 in first round
beat Georgia Tech 75-66 in second round

Tennessee:
beat San Diego State 62-59 in first round
beat Ohio 83-68 in second round

Key for Ohio State:
Evan Turner is going to get his.  That is a fact.  What has keyed the Buckeyes during the tourney is getting solid efforts from second bananas, Jon Diebler, William Buford, and David Lighty.  Two of those three will need to hit double-digits in points and knock down open looks from the perimeter when Turner is drawing attention off the drive and kicking the ball out to the wing.  The Vols are long and tall on the wing as well with the likes of Scotty Hopson and J.P. Prince so they should provide a good challenge for OSU’s four-guard look.

Key for Tennessee:
As good as Turner has been this season, his one Achilles Heel has been turning the ball over, especially against full-court pressure.  Since Ohio State does not have a true point guard, they are susceptible when teams pressure them as we saw in the second round when Georgia Tech forced Turner into nine turnovers, and 18 for the Buckeyes as a whole.  The Vols are an athletic bunch and can cause issues for the Buckeyes with a full-court press, but at the same time; if OSU is breaking that pressure with ease, it will result in several easy baskets.  Expect the Vols to pressure Turner as much as possible and if they can force a bunch of turnovers, they might have a chance.

My Prediction:

Ohio State 62, Tennessee 55


#5 Michigan State vs. #9 Northern Iowa

Friday, 8:37 pm

How they got here:

Michigan State:
beat New Mexico State 70-67 in first round
beat Maryland 85-83 in second round

Northern Iowa:

beat UNLV 69-66 in first round
beat Kansas 69-67 in second round

Key for Michigan State:
Korie Lucious stepped in for the injured Kalin Lucas and hit the game winning shot against Maryland in the second round.  With Lucas out for the remainder of the tourney, Lucious will once again be in the spotlight having to fill in for the All-Big Ten First Team point guard.  Lucas has been the heart and soul of Sparty for the past two seasons and the ideal floor leader.  Now it is Lucious who will have to take over that roll while surrounding players Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers, and Draymond Green also have to step up if MSU is going to advance to the Elite 8.

Key for Northern Iowa:
The Spartans are at their best when they are forcing turnovers and getting out in transition.  UNI will need to control the tempo and not turn the ball over just like they did against Kansas if they are to keep their Cinderella post-season alive.  Their confidence is as high as it can be and the Panthers will come into this game believing they can win and must continue to play with their relentless attitude.  I suppose it won’t hurt either if the new darling of college basketball, Ali Farokhmanesh keeps hitting “ONIONS” type shots.

My Prediction:
Northern Iowa 61, Michigan State 53

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I disagree with you on the UNI-MSU prediction. I think Northern Iowa’s cinderalla slipper has worn out. And if State can take Maryland even though they had Kalin for only a hlaf (and a Kalin on a hobbled ankle to begin the game) I think they can win tonight without him

  2. UNI is a good team… fact… they outplayed Kansas for 40 minutes in every area of the game… fact… MSU is without their best player (even tho they escaped last week without him)… fact… If UNI controls tempo, the win… fact

  3. paulmbanks says

    I don’t want to say I told you so Dave….but well….let’s GO STATE!

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