NCAA Tournament Game Analysis: Second Round – Friday Afternoon

Posted by EJacoby on March 16th, 2012

RTC Region correspondents Brian Otskey (East), Kevin Doyle (South), Evan Jacoby (Midwest) and Andrew Murawa (West) contributed to this preview.

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Texas – East Region Second Round (at Nashville, TN) – 12:15 PM ET on CBS

These are two teams with similar statistical profiles but the Texas Longhorns are missing Alexis Wangmene, a big senior forward who would have added an extra body for Rick Barnes to go up against Cincinnati’s Yancy Gates in the paint. With a guard-oriented team and a thin front court, the Longhorns have some difficulty against the physical Bearcats. Cincinnati doesn’t have a deep front line either but Gates is the team’s third leading scorer and a key cog in its offensive flow. Neither team shoots the ball particularly well but Cincinnati has an edge on the perimeter with multiple players who can make a three. Texas ranks sub-200 in defending the triple and that’s something that could cost it the game. Cincinnati is a streaky hit-or-miss team with four capable guards surrounding Gates on the floor. As for Texas, leading scorer J’Covan Brown is pretty much the team’s only major threat. If Cincinnati can lock up Brown defensively, it will win the game rather easily. If Brown manages to get free and score close to his average of 20.1 PPG, the Bearcats will be in for a nail biter. Although Brown is the best player on the floor in this game, the edge has to go to Cincinnati because of its more balanced talent on the perimeter (including limiting turnovers), Gates in the post and the team’s overall experience. The majority of Cincinnati’s rotation is made up of juniors and seniors while four of Texas’ top six scorers are freshmen.

The RTC Certified Pick: Cincinnati.

#6 San Diego State vs. #11 N.C. State – Midwest Region Second Round (at Columbus, OH) – 12:40 PM ET on truTV

Jamaal Franklin is a Ferocious Competitor on Both Ends for SDSU (US Presswire)

A very popular upset pick, North Carolina State comes into this game on a roll having won four of its last five games with the only loss in the ACC Tournament semifinals to North Carolina by one possession. But NC State was on the bubble just one week ago; this team has been inconsistent throughout the season. The Wolfpack lost four games in a row prior to that strong finish to the season. The key to pull this upset will be to keep pressure on a strong SDSU defense, keyed by pounding the ball inside to find points in the paint with C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell, and C.J. Williams. It’s doubtful that San Diego State will give Scott Wood any wide open looks from three. The Aztecs, meanwhile, may have the two best overall players in this game with Mountain West Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin (17.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG) and savvy guard Chase Tapley (15.7 PPG, 43.3% three-pointers). Both players shoulder a lot of the scoring load but have been reliable in big games this season against strong MW competition. SDSU is a much stronger defensive team (93.5 defensive efficiency) and holds opponents to 40% shooting from the field. NC State has a 99.9 ‘D’ efficiency and allows too much easy offense. We’ll take the Aztecs, the stronger team all season long that has Sweet Sixteen experience from last season.

The RTC Certified Pick: San Diego State

#8 Creighton vs. #9 Alabama – Midwest Region Second Round (at Greensboro, NC) – 1:40 PM ET on TBS

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SEC Morning Five: 12.22.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 22nd, 2011

  1. Before Vanderbilt‘s much needed 31-point victory over Lafayette the Commodores were coming off a bad loss to Indiana State. Just how bad? Vanderbilt’s offense was putrid as you can see from these statistics. They scored just 0.83 points per possession, their worst offensive output of the year (tied with Cleveland State game). It was also the worst field goal percentage and three point percentage that Vanderbilt has had since the Cleveland State game at the beginning of the year. How much better did the Commodores play on Wednesday night against Lafayette? A lot better. Sharp shooter John Jenkins scored just 11 points (3-10 FG) against Indiana State, but rebounded against the Leopards for 27 points (9-12 FG). That is more along the lines of what Vanderbilt will need from Jenkins to continue its winning ways.
  2. Terrence Jones has not lived up to his preseason hype so far this year. The preseason All-American came back to Kentucky this year to improve his NBA draft status and maybe even win a championship for his Wildcats. Both remain to be seen, but at this point it seems he is more likely to get the latter. Jones is averaging 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds on 48.4% shooting from the field. Those are not the All-American numbers that were expected from him this year. Jones missed Kentucky’s last game against Samford and is likely to miss today’s game with Loyola. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Jones’ body language even more than his play. Jones looked frustrated and disinterested in a loss to Indiana last week, but he has vowed to silence his critics with positive play once he returns.
  3. Tennessee broke out of an early season slump, and they did it the old fashioned way–with tough, hard-nosed defense. Cuonzo Martin‘s club forced North Carolina-Asheville into nine first half turnovers, but were down 35-32 going into the locker room. The Volunteers held the Bulldogs to 37.5% shooting in the second half to eventually secure the victory. Tennessee appears to have more of a scoring by committee approach as the top three scorers on the team are separated by 0.6 points per game. The top scorer in the UNC-Asheville game was  Renaldo Woolridge,  who had a  career-high 17 points. Tennessee needed this win after the Vols had lost their previous four games and six of their last seven.
  4. Free throw shooting has been a major factor in determining how Arkansas has done this season. In the Hogs 71-57 victory over Eastern Kentucky, they were 17-18 from the free throw stripe in the first half and finished  29-35 for 82.9% on the night. This was drastically different from the previous game where Arkansas struggled from the line, shooting 11-23 (47.8%). Arkansas narrowly won that game, escaping with a 62-55 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Coach Mike Anderson has required the Razorbacks to shoot 500 free throws a week, and it looks like the hard work may be paying off.
  5. Trever Releford willed the unranked Alabama Crimson Tide to victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday night. Releford scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half while the Tide played without forward JaMychal Green. Three-point shooting had been the achilles heel for Alabama, and the Tide hit six of nine three pointers in the first half (7-15 3FG overall). The 46.7% three-point shooting accuracy was the Tide’s best all season. Several freshmen got additional playing time with Green out of the lineup, which is a good sign that Alabama was still able to secure the victory.
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