Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Midwest Region First-Round Previews


Florida vs. Jackson State: While the Gators won’t have any trouble winning this game, there are still some interesting storylines. First, tune in to watch Trey Johnson, the terrific scorer from JSU, on a national stage. He can really fill it up. Secondly, it will be intriguing to see how Florida comes out in the first game on their road to a repeat title.

Arizona vs. Purdue: One of the better 8-9 games in the Tournament. Arizona has been an enigma all season long, as they have the offensive talent to beat anyone in the country but lack focus defensively and have not played to their potential. However, if they turn it around at that end of the floor, look out. Purdue is very methodical in their offense, although their inside-outside combo of David Teague and Carl Landry is tough. Arizona struggles to defend the interior, so Landry will be they key to this game.

Butler vs. Old Dominion: Essentially a match-up of two Bracket Busters, but it is also a 12 over 5 upset special. Butler is not coming in on a high note, and has struggled down the stretch. A.J. Graves has slumped late in the year, and he will need to hit his shots in order for the Bulldogs to win. Old Dominion is experienced and is on a roll heading into the Tournament. Valdas Vasylius is an inside-outside player up front, and will create match-up problems for Butler. Unless Graves turns it around, ODU will come out on top.

Maryland vs. Davidson: Another potential upset pick in what should be a fun game to watch. Maryland was very hot heading into the ACC Tournament, but they fell to Miami (Fl.) for the second time this year. The Terrapins are experienced and athletic, but will have to deal with Davidson’s outstanding backcourt of freshman scoring phenom Stephen Curry and dynamite point guard Jason Richards, who is second in the country in assists. The Wildcats are going to have to take care of the ball against the Terps’ pressure.

Notre Dame vs. Winthrop: One of the best first-round match-ups of the Tournament. Everyone likes Winthrop this season, as they ran through the Big South unscathed and have been talked about for weeks now. However, this may not be the best match-up for them, style-wise. The Eagles are at their best in a half-court game, but Notre Dame likes to push the ball and get the game in the 70s and 80s. Whoever can impose their style on the opponent will have a big advantage in this one.

Oregon vs. Miami (Ohio): Both teams won their respective conference tournaments, including Miami’s buzzer shot off the backboard to beat Akron. However, their run will likely end here. They have solid inside performers in Nathan Peavy and Tim Pollitz, but they don’t have the perimeter players to hang with the Ducks. Aaron Brooks leads the way for a deep guard group that includes Bryce Taylor and Malik Hairston.

UNLV vs. Georgia Tech: This might be the biggest toss-up of the region. UNLV is a team not many people know anything about, but they won the MWC Tournament, and are playing well. They like to get up and down the court and get points off of steals and turnovers. Wendell White is a good player who creates match-up problems. Georgia Tech is one of the most talented teams in the country, but they struggle to play together at times. UNLV will need to force freshman guard Javaris Crittenton into turnovers in order to win.

Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: A struggling #2 seed against the best #15 seed. Potential upset in the making? Not so much. Despite the Badgers’ offensive struggles late in the year, Alando Tucker will be enough to get them at least past the Islanders. Tune in to watch A&M’s 7-foot center Chris Daniels, who could have a big day with Wisconsin’s Brian Butch out with an injury.


  1. I really like Purdue in this bracket. Even though they were bounced early in the Big 10 tournament, they play a very physical brand of basketball and play bigger than their size. They also have excellent guard play in Carl Landry, which, come tournament time, is essential for any team to make a run.

    The Boilermakes already knocked off a tough Arizona team, but a bigger challenge lays ahead today when they take on defending national champion, Florida. It should be exciting to watch how their big men match up with Al Horford and Joakim Noah of the Gators.

  2. Carl Landry is a center. A small center at 6-7, but still a center. He spends nearly all of his time with his back to the basket.

  3. Whoops. My bad, Jeff I got him confused with Teague. Either way I still wish they had won that game. A lot of people I know have all 4 number 1 seeds making it to Atlanta. This tournament has also been devoid of a true Cinderalla, with maybe the exception of USC or Vandy. It'll be fun to watch it play out anyway