The RTC Big Four State Tournament: QuarterfinalsPosted by rtmsf on September 9th, 2010
We’re back with the next round of the RTC Big Four State Tournament. As you likely recall, last week we broke down eight first round matchups between the top sixteen states containing at least four NCAA D1 programs, utilizing star players from each of those programs to come up with the bracket that appears below. We didn’t always agree with the fan vote, picking a couple of true upsets (#9 Illinois over #8 Michigan, and #12 Virginia over #5 Ohio), and disagreeing with the fans on another (#6 Florida over #11 Kentucky). Regardless, we endeavor to carry on.
We’ll break down the semifinals and finals next week. Be sure to get your votes in on these matchups below.
Quarterfinal Matchups (1st Round fan vote pct. listed)
#1 Indiana (92%) vs. #9 Illinois (24%)
The plucky underdog Illinois meets another Midwestern foe after downing Michigan in the opening round. This time around, the challenge will be even stiffer — the top seeded and tournament favorite Hoosier State representatives. The primary reason for Illinois’ first round win was the perimeter trio of Demetri McCamey, Michael Thompson and John Shurna. Different story against Indiana; the hard-nosed play of Shelvin Mack, the scoring ability of E’Twaun Moore, the all-around game of Tim Abromaitis and even Robbie Hummel’s propensity to step out to the perimeter — his first half performance against Ohio State one that sticks out — provides the Hoosiers more than enough firepower out of their guards to counteract Illinois. Southern Illinois’ Carlton Fay attempting to guard potential first team All-America Hummel is also a key factor. Since it’s doubtful Fay can hang with the multifaceted Boilermaker, we suspect that the Purdue senior explodes for a big shooting night and a near triple-double. There’s simply way too much firepower with JaJuan Johnson coming off the bench in this one. Indiana cruises again.
RTC Choice: Indiana 83, Illinois 67.
#4 Texas (67%) vs. #12 Virginia (22%)
Virginia was the Cinderella story of the first round, continuing the ever-popular 5/12 upset trend and knocking off favored Ohio on the heels of their backcourt consisting of Malcolm Delaney and Kevin Anderson. Those two won’t have it as easy against the twosome that gives a whole new meaning to Don’t Mess with Texas. High-flying Randy Culpepper of UTEP could be one of the best non-BCS players in the land this season. He’ll team with Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn and Texas’ Jordan Hamilton on the wing, meaning scoring can come often and in bunches for this Texas squad. There’s too much athleticism across the board for the Virginia frontline of Mike Scott, Jeff Allen and Justin Harper to contain. Look for Texas to pound the ball inside early to Perry Jones and Gary Johnson to utilize these extreme mismatches and lure the Virginia bigs into foul trouble. If this happens, let the dunkfest ensue. Culpepper and Dunn provide the scoring punch outside to complement the forwards, making this even more of a foregone conclusion, especially since Delaney can’t hang with the crafty Dunn defensively. Texas advances to the semifinals in relatively easy fashion.
RTC Choice: Texas 78, Virginia 65.
#2 North Carolina (89%) vs. #7 Washington (58%)
Washington’s starting five is as solid as just about anyone’s in this tournament, but the high-scoring team from the Pacific Northwest simply cannot match up with the versatility that the Carolina big men bring to bear — Kyle Singler, Harrison Barnes and Tracy Smith will all be playing in the NBA in three years, while only Elias Harris likely has that future ahead of him for Mark Few’s squad. And with Kyrie Irving and Tyler Zeller spotting the starters, Washington is completely outclassed on the bench. The way we see this one going is that Washington’s firepower on the perimeter will keep them in the game for about twenty minutes; after that point, the starters will begin to wear down, and North Carolina will go on its patented run, pounding the ball inside and opening up easy looks from downtown for the talented guards Nolan Smith and CJ Harris. What looked to be a great game early ends up a blowout as NC rolls on superior talent, depth and coaching.
RTC Choice: North Carolina 87, Washington 69.
#3 Pennsylvania (83%) vs. #6 Florida (43%)
The quarterfinal round hasn’t lived up to the hype through the first three games (all double-figure wins for the favorite), but that ends here with Pennsylvania and Florida tussling in an incredibly even matchup. Where the Keystone State has an edge in the backcourt with the scoring machines Talor Battle and Corey Fisher, the Sunshine State comes a little stronger in the frontcourt with the versatile Chandler Parsons, the defensive dynamo Chris Singleton and the beast otherwise known as Gus Gilchrist. Even the bench doesn’t solve much, as Kenny Boynton is probably a slightly preferred over Juan Fernandez while we’d take Gilbert Brown over Jarrid Famous. Tough, tough call. We see this game coming down to which coach having the ability to get the last-second stop on the defensive end when needed, and our best guess is that the long arms of Singleton closing in a drive by either Battle or Fisher will win the day. In Florida’s second consecutive nailbiter game, Billy Donovan’s team wins another and moves on to the semifinals.
RTC Choice: Florida 68, Pennsylvania 67.