Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet 16 Preview: West

Here is the first of four previews of the Sweet 16, as we prepare for even more madness this weekend. The region that I will be looking at is the West.  There has only been one upset in this side of the bracket, with the 5 seed beating the 4.  All eight teams advanced to the third round, while four of the top five seeds are in the sweet 16.

The first matchup is Duke vs. Arizona.  This game has the makings to be another nail-biter, with star power on both ends.  Duke has been a top notch team all year long and with a revived Kyrie Irving, the Blue Devils are poised to make a championship run.  Kyle Singler and company have been playing well, despite barely pulling out a victory against a pesky Michigan team.  This matchup does not favor Duke, because of Derrick Williams.  The standout big man for Arizona has had an unbelievable year and will cause problems down low for Duke.  Williams gets to the hoop very well and is so quick and big that no person can guard him alone.  He will cause foul trouble inside, creating a lot of free throws for himself.  This game will come down to Arizona's ability to control Duke's penetration and shooting.  If they can shoot well, they can easily win this game; however, the moment that Derrick Williams heats up, Arizona can take over as well.  Duke MUST not settle for contested jumpers, otherwise they will be dominated by a very talented team on the boards.

The other West game is a #2 - #3 battle, between SDSU and Connecticut.  San Diego State advanced to the sweet 16 after defeating Temple in double overtime, but should have lost that game.  SDSU is a solid basketball team and plays great team defense.  The team does not shoot very well, but they do control the tempo of the game and get to the free throw line.  They can lull you to sleep with their offense, often going deep into the shot clock.  On the other hand, Kemba Walker is just a flat out stud.  He can score however, whenever and wherever he is on the court.  He is an underrated passer and rebounder as well, and if he shoots poorly, he will contribute another way.  The rest of the Huskies better be ready, because you know Kemba is going to be fired up in what could be his final game at UConn.

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