NCAA Tournament South Regional Sweet 16 Breakdown

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By: David Kay

My least favorite regional almost played out as expected minus St. Mary’s upset of #2 seed Villanova, who I mistakingly picked to advance the Final Four.  This is setting up to be Duke’s regional to lose.  Here is my breakdown of the Sweet 16.

#3 Baylor vs. #10 St. Mary’s
Friday, 6:27 pm

How they got here:
Baylor:
beat Sam Houston State 68-59 in first round
beat Old Dominion 76-68 in second round

St. Mary’s:
beat Richmond 80-71 in first round
beat Villanova 75-68 in second round

Key for Baylor:
In his first two games, St. Mary’s big man Omar Samhan has been awesome because both Richmond and ‘Nova did not have anyone who could stop him inside.  The Bears start a front-court of 7-0, 6-10, and 6-10 and will need to use their length to get out and challenge three-point shooters and cause issues for Samhan who is a crafty scorer in the paint, but not very athletic.  LaceDarius Dunn will also be key for Baylor because he can use his athleticism and toughness to take advantage of slower, weaker Gael guards.

Key for St. Mary’s:

To counter the Bears’ length and height inside, Gael gunners Matthew Dellavedova, Mickey McConnell, and Clint Steidl will need to be hitting from deep.  They all have range beyond the three-point line and if Baylor doesn’t have a hand in their face from 30 feet and within, the trio could make them pay.  Keeping Samhan out of foul trouble will also be integral if the Gaels are going to back up Samhan’s big talk the past week.

My Prediction:
Baylor 71, St. Mary’s 70


#1 Duke vs. #4 Purdue
Friday, 8:57 pm

How they got here:
Duke:
beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-44 in first round
beat California 68-53 in second round

Purdue:
beat Siena 72-64 in first round
beat Texas A&M 63-61 OT in second round

Key for Duke:
Take advantage of their size.  The Dukies have a major height advantage over the Boilermakers across the boards.  Purdue has been starting a four-guard look which will be an impossible match-up for them against a tall Blue Devil team.  7-footer Brian Zoubek has shown new life since being asserted into the starting line-up alongside 6-8 senior Lance Thomas.  Add in Kyle Singler who is a tough person to guard due to his ability to play inside or outside and taller guards Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith and I just don’t see how Purdue’s four-guard look can stop Coach K’s crew inside unless they go zone.  Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the Plumlee brothers yet who are each 6-10.

Key for Purdue:

Due to Duke’s height and length advantage in the paint, the Boilermakers will need to get a hot hand from deep.  The problem is that hand has been ice cold since the start of tournament play where Purdue is just 17-67 from three in their last four games.  If they are not catching fire with the long ball, the Boilermakers will need to get out in transition as much as possible, using their scrappiness on defense and speed advantage to force turnovers and lead to easy run-outs.  That will be easier said than done since the Blue Devils usually do not turn the ball over at a high rate.

My Prediction:

Duke 71, Purdue 54

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I would agree with both of yoru predictions

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