Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday's Second Round Previews

Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech- Gonzaga just slid past Winthrop in round one, while Texas Tech lead nearly the entire game in their contest against UCLA. In this game, it will be a match-up between Texas Tech's sensational perimeter vs. Gonzaga's excellent frontcourt. I think that the Bulldogs have defenders that can neutralize the Red Raiders' backcourt. On the other hand, I don't see Texas Tech matching up well against Ronny Turiaf and JP Batista. In addition, the Red Raiders have no answer for Adam Morrison. Watch for him to have a big day. Prediction: Gonzaga by 6

Washington vs. Pacific- In their respective first round games, Washington did not look very #1 seed-like in their victory against Montana, while Pacific played well throughout the game to knock off Pitt. Pacific can win this game if they utilize their advantage down low. Guillaume Yango and Christian Maraker are too big and talented for anyone on Washington to handle. However, Washington has a stable of perimeter scorers that can carry them, led by Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons. If the Tigers can slow the game down, they have a chance to pull off the upset. Prediction: Pacific by 2

Oklahoma vs. Utah- Andrew Bogut carried Utah to a first-round win over UTEP to avoid the upset, and Oklahoma withstood a solid first half by Niagara for a victory. The Sooners have the bodies down low in Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout to try to shut down Bogut. Unless Bogut gets substantial help from his supporting cast, Oklahoma has too many weapons offensively and defensively to get knocked out here. The quickness and depth of the guards for Oklahoma could be the difference. Prediction: Oklahoma by 11

Illinois vs. Nevada- After Illinois struggled through much of their win over Fairleigh Dickinson and Nevada's hard-fought victory against Texas, this one is going to be closer than people think. While Nevada may not have any type of answer for the perimeter of Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head, I don't think that the Illini have anybody to put the clamps on the great post duo of Nick Fazekas and Kevinn Pinkney. If those two have big games, and Ramon Sessions provides solid production from the outside, Illinois is going to be in for a tough contest. However, Illinois is more balanced and is too quick for the Wolf Pack. Prediction: Illinois by 8

Arizona vs. UAB- UAB looked very good in their dominant win over LSU, while Arizona struggled in the first half against the slow-down style of Utah State. They will not have to deal with such a pace in this game. UAB presses from the opening tap, which could play right into the Wildcats' hands. If Mustafa Shakur does not turn it over too much, Arizona could get a lot of easy baskets. In addition, Channing Frye should be able to control the paint area. UAB needs to create havoc full-court if they are to pull off another upset. DeMario Eddins and Donell Taylor are the main scorers for the Blazers; it is imperative for UAB to get easy baskets in order to win. Prediction: Arizona by 10

Boston College vs. UW-Milwaukee- Boston College breezed through most of their win over Penn, and UW-Milwaukee surprisingly did much of the same in their upset victory against Alabama. If they Panthers are to pull another upset win, they need to continue to force turnovers with their full-court pressure, as well as keep up their hot three-point shooting. Boston College is prone to turnovers because of their lack of ballhandling. The Eagles are going to have a huge advantage down low, though, with Craig Smith and Jared Dudley controlling the lane. Ed McCants, Noah Tucker, and Boo Davis all can score for UW-Milwaukee. Prediction: UW-Milwaukee by 4

Kentucky vs. Cincinnati- Kentucky looked very soft inside and did not seem very efficient on offense in their close win against Eastern Kentucky, while Cincinnati played tremendous defense and dominated for most of the game against Iowa. Eric Hicks and Jason Maxiell control the paint for the Bearcats, and their long, athletic wings lead a very tough defense. Kentucky has solid leadership from Chuck Hayes and Kaleena Azuibuike, but not much scoring. Their defense leads the way. Patrick Sparks needs to hit his shots, and Rajon Rondo needs to keep his turnovers to a minimum. I think that Cincinnati is too talented for Kentucky, and they have the inside players to win the interior battle. If their guards can hit their threes, the Bearcats will pull off the upset.
Prediction: Cincinnati by 9

Wake Forest vs. West Virginia- West Virginia got a dunk with 2 seconds left by Tyrone Sally to get a last-second victory over Creighton, while Wake Forest overcame a horrendous first half to defeat Chattanooga. West Virginia has a host of three-point shooters that can get hot and carry the Mountaineers. Kevin Pittsnogle is going to be a tough match-up for the Demon Deacons. On the other side of the ball, Wake Forest is extremely balanced and has Chris Paul to lead the way. Eric Williams is going to control the paint against West Virginia. Even if West Virginia hits a barrage of threes, they do not have the defensive ability to stop the Wake Forest attack. Prediction: Wake Forest by 11


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