NCAA Game Analysis: Second Round, Thursday Evening

Posted by Brian Otskey, Andrew Murawa, Walker Carey & Bennet Hayes on March 20th, 2014

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Half the day is in the books, and eight teams are headed home. We may not know what the Thursday evening sessions might have in store for us, but we can be confident in thinking there will be lots of excitement. Let’s continue our analysis of all of today’s games with the evening slate of eight contests.

#7 Connecticut vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s – East Region Second Round (at Buffalo, NY) – 6:55 PM ET on TBS

Shabazz Napier Looks to Do his Best Kemba Impression Starting Tonight

Shabazz Napier Looks to Do his Best Kemba Impression Starting Tonight

One of the better first round games in this tournament pits two of the nation’s better scoring guards against one another with Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier and Saint Joseph’s Langston Galloway. These two seniors each average over 17 points per game and their play will no doubt have an effect on the outcome of this game. The Huskies are a terrific defensive team and that could cause a problem for the Hawks, who rely heavily on three pointers and have a penchant for turning the ball over too much. That said, Phil Martelli’s team boasts a talented roster. Halil Kanacevic has been a warrior in his last go-around while freshman DeAndre Bembry looks uber-talented. As always with Connecticut, the question is the front court and whether DeAndre Daniels will continue his streak of better play in March. Over his last four games he has averaged 15.3 PPG on 50 percent shooting. Daniels will have to contend with Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts in the paint, where St. Joe’s was the No. 2 team in Atlantic 10 play when it came to defending two point shots (44.2 percent against). On paper this has the makings of a very strong 7 vs. 10 game and you would figure it will be close. If that comes to fruition, the advantage has to go to Connecticut. While both teams are experienced, the Huskies are a much better free throw shooting team and have more depth. Martelli’s Hawks rank dead last in the nation in bench minutes (14 percent) and shoot only 64.1 percent from the free throw line as a team while UConn connects 76.1 percent of the time (No. 10 nationally).

The RTC Certified Pick: Connecticut.

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Wofford – Midwest Region Round of 64 (at Milwaukee, WI) – 7:10 PM EST on CBS

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NCAA Game Analysis: Second Round, Thursday Afternoon

Posted by Andrew Murawa, Bennet Hayes, Brian Otskey & Walker Carey on March 20th, 2014

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And so it begins. Today at exactly 12:15 PM in Buffalo, New York, the 2014 NCAA Tournament as we all know it will officially tip off, setting in motion a chain of events that will undoubtedly bust most people’s brackets by mid-afternoon. Nevertheless, the anticipation for the best two weekdays in all of sports is over. Savor it. Embrace it. Respect it. Let’s get things started with an analysis of all of today’s games, beginning with the afternoon slate of eight contests.

#6 Ohio State vs. #11 Dayton — South Region Second Round (at Buffalo, NY) — 12:15 PM ET on CBS.

Aaron Craft And The Buckeyes Have Had A Difficult Time Putting The Ball In The Hoop This Season; Can They Score Often Enough To Knock Off In-State Foe Dayton?

Aaron Craft And The Buckeyes Have Had A Difficult Time Putting The Ball Through The Hoop This Season; Can They Score Often Enough To Knock Off In-State Foe Dayton On Thursday? (AP)

You could ignore the fact that Dayton and Ohio State are separated by 70 miles of Ohio interstate, that the Flyer’s leading scorer is an Ohio State transfer, that Thad Matta has never had any interest in scheduling a regular season game with UD, and this game would still be one of the most intriguing matchups of the first round. Or you could, of course, take account of all those things and declare this the game to watch in the round of 64. Former Buckeye Jordan Sibert will be a marked man on Thursday afternoon, and not just because he used to don the scarlet and gray. Sibert (43% 3PT) leads a proficient Flyer offense that excels beyond the arc; Dayton has made 38% of their three-point attempts this season. Aaron Craft receives plenty of recognition for his defensive abilities on the perimeter, but Shannon Scott is nearly Craft’s equal when it comes to on-ball defense, and both will strive to make Sibert and the rest of the Flyers’ life difficult. Similar resistance is unlikely to be provided by a Dayton defense that is less than elite, but can the Buckeyes take advantage? Ohio State’s scoring struggles this season have been well documented, but look for LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith to get just enough done offensively for the Buckeyes to seize this battle for Ohio. Either way though, subplots abound.

The RTC Certified Pick: Ohio State

#2 Wisconsin vs #15 American – West Regional Second Round (at Milwaukee, WI) – 12:40 PM ET on truTV

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NCAA Game Analysis: First Four – Wednesday Night

Posted by Walker Carey on March 19th, 2014

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The First Round/Opening Round/Play-In Games/Mild Annoyance of the NCAA Tournament continues tonight, getting under way at 6:40 PM tonight on truTV (go ahead, try to remember where that channel is again). From 68 to 16 in the next six days… let’s analyze the next two games this evening.

#16 Cal Poly vs. #16 Texas Southern — Midwest Region First Round (at Dayton, OH) — 6:40 pm ET on truTV.

Losing Record, No Problem: Cal Poly is Dancing

Losing Record, No Problem: Cal Poly is Dancing

Battling for the right to face one-seed Wichita State in St. Louis on Friday are Big West Tournament champion, Cal Poly, and SWAC Tournament champion, Texas Southern. Cal Poly enters Wednesday evening’s action with an uninspiring 13-19 record, but it should be noted that five of those 19 setbacks came on the road against fellow NCAA Tournament teams (at Arizona, at Oregon, at Pittsburgh, at Stanford, and at Delaware). The team caught fire in the Big West Tournament and won three games in three days to punch its ticket to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs are led by senior forward Chris Eversley, who averages a team-best 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. While the Mustangs are 327th in the country in scoring average, their defense is fairly stout, as the opposition only averages 63.4 points per contest – good for 36th nationally. Texas Southern is nearly the polar opposite of Cal Poly, as it has scored well all season but has failed to defend with any regularity. The well-traveled Aaric Murray (formerly of La Salle and West Virginia) leads the way for the similarly well-traveled Mike Davis (formerly of Indiana and UAB) and the Tigers. Murray averages 21.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and will create a significant match-up problem for the Mustangs on the interior. Look for Murray to lead the way for Texas Southern, as it will advance to battle #1 seed Wichita State on Friday.

The RTC Certified Pick: Texas Southern

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