Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NCAA First Round Preview: Southwest Region

1:40 Thursday, Denver64.2 possessions
13Morehead St.17.9%59.044.327.639.727.6
That's not a misprint. Morehead State should rebound nearly 40% of their misses against Louisville, mostly thanks to the presence of rebounder extraordinaire Kenneth Faried (tooting my own horn a little bit, I'd like to note that I've been on the Faried Bandwagon for more than two years now). Unfortunately for the Eagles, they'll have plenty of offensive rebounding opportunities against a Cardinals team that possesses an excellent shooting defense.

4:10 Thursday, Denver63.2 possessions
Some east coast university is probably going to hire Chris Mooney to run their basketball program this spring, and with good reason. He's shown at Air Force that he can get the best out of someone else's players, and he's shown at Richmond that he can take a program with a decent basketball history to places it hasn't been before. And if fans of whatever school hires Mooney want an idea of what their future might look like, they should take a look at what Kevin Stallings has built in Nashville.

1:40 Friday, Chicago63.2 possessions
2Notre Dame86.3%76.554.115.235.337.4
The MAC-over-Big East upset of a year ago came about because Ohio had one of the best pure point guards in the nation in DJ Cooper and was facing a seriously flawed Georgetown team. While Notre Dame's performance doesn't quite stand up to their reputation, the Fighting Irish should have no trouble putting the Zips away.

4:10 Friday, Chicago63.8 possessions
10Florida St.50.1%61.246.422.932.826.9
7Texas A&M49.9%61.142.721.635.731.3
This matchup between football schools with accidentally good basketball teams should be the highlight of the Friday afternoon offerings. It'll almost certainly be a closely-played game, and it might even be entertaining, but there's almost no chance of it being anything approaching aesthetically pleasing. It'll be smashmouth basketball.

6:50 Friday, Tulsa64.9 possessions
16Boston U.2.9%58.040.519.528.923.7
According to TAPE, the odds of Boston U. and Wofford both advancing to the Final Four and giving the world a Terriers vs. Terriers battle royale, are 1-in-10,448,979. So, you know, there's still a chance.

7:20 Friday, Chicago63.5 possessions
14St. Peter's6.7%
This game is the biggest mismatch outside of the 1-16 games. The Peacocks aren't the worst team in the Tournament--they've actually got the 9th-best eFG defense in the nation--but Purdue just isn't a very good matchup for them.

9:20 Friday, Tulsa66.1 possessions
The media hook on this one is that it's Lon Kruger's new team playing Lon Kruger's old team, but all the players in this game were still in elementary school the last time Kruger coached the Illini.

9:50 Friday, Chicago59.9 possessions
Or (dot-dot-dot)63.5 possessions
No matter what happens in this game and the WVU-Clemson game, people will find a way to tie the outcome to the fact that one team played a game two days earlier while the other had time off. If the play-in game winner loses to Georgetown, it'll be because they were worn out from the game and the travel; if Georgetown loses, it'll be because they got rusty while their opponent stayed sharp by playing the extra game. It's no-brainer, knee-jerk analysis that there's absolutely no way to prove or disprove.

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