It’s not been an insane day yet, but who knows what the Thursday evening sessions might have in store for us. Let’s continue our analysis of all of today’s games with the evening slate of eight contests.
#1 Louisville vs. #16 North Carolina A&T – Midwest Region Second Round (at Lexington, KY) – 6:50 PM ET on TBS
First things first — congratulations to the Aggies for taking care of business in Dayton, no matter how narrow the final margin was. Their reward is the number one overall seed in the Tournament, and a shot at history. This is the nice way of thinking about things in Aggie-land. Realistically, Cy Alexander’s team will be happy if they can hang around for a half. But if we are actually being realistic, I wouldn’t plan on that happening. A&T’s 73 point output on Tuesday marked just the third time in 2013 that they scored that many in a game, and rest assured they have not seen a defense near the caliber of Louisville’s during that time.
Only VCU turns teams over more often than do the Cardinals, and rest assured that Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and the rest of the gang will be salivating at the sight of the Aggies and their 292nd ranked turnover percentage. If this is to be a game, A&T must limit turnovers, keep it in the half-court, and hope to make as many shots as they did in Dayton. It’s the definition of a mission impossible, and A&T will find out fast that, despite calling Freedom Hall home for over 50 years, Louisville is most certainly not Liberty.
The RTC Certified Pick: Louisville
#8 Colorado State vs. #9 Missouri – Midwest Region Second Round (at Lexington, KY) – 9:20 PM ET on TBS
For those seeking to avoid watching a game in the 50’s at all costs, this matchup of top-15 offenses is your best bet in the second round. Missouri is led by the mercurial Phil Pressey, whose breathtaking moments of wizardry are too often eclipsed by mind-numbing late game decisions. He is my guilty pleasure in this Tournament: A point guard who I would not trust to run my own team, but who is too brilliant for my neutral observer eyes to ever look away. He should have his run of things on Thursday; that is, if Colorado State’s recent ineptitude covering scoring guards continues. We all remember Kendall Williams’ explosion in Fort Collins a few weeks back, but Derrick Marks (Boise State) and Deonte Burton (Nevada) have since had their own field days against the Rams. Pressey should get his (and his teammates theirs), but this will be a game decided on the backboards. Missouri is not a bad rebounding team at all (actually 7th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage), but compared to the Rams, they are. Colorado State is the single best rebounding team in the land, despite running out a starting frontcourt that features two players under 6’6”. Pierce Hornung, Greg Smith and Colton Iverson are all relentless in pursuit of missed shots on both ends of the floor. The onus will be squarely on Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers to match that intensity. I’m not sold on that happening, and I’m also struggling to trust in a Missouri outfit that has looked unfocused all season long. Far easier to believe in a veteran Ram team that was in this same position a year ago – give me Colorado State in an entertaining battle.
The RTC Certified Pick: Colorado State Read the rest of this entry »