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So Many Burning Questions for Tonight’s Sweet 16, I’m On Fire …

March 27, 2014

Ponder these Burning Questions about Thursday Night’s South and West Region Sweet 16 matchups while I wonder how you can spend 4-plus years at Kentucky and not earn a communications degree …

(10) Stanford vs. (11) Dayton, South Regional (4:15pm PST) – Can the plucky Flyers, the one true mid-major-style Cinderella left in the field, keep their run going against what is arguably their least talented opponent to date? Can Stanford solve Archie Miller & Dayton’s version of the pack-line defense when the Cardinal couldn’t quite solve Arizona and Archie’s brother Sean’s version of the pack-line defense in two losses this season (scoring 57 and 66 points)? Can Dayton figure out a way to stop Dwight Powell in the high post and contain Chasson Randle in their modified triangle offense? With this tournament run does Johnny Dawkins become leader in the clubhouse to replace Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, or is that still Harvard’s Tommy Amaker? Will Stanford make a 3-pointer tonight (0-9 in their 60-57 win Kansas) and if not, will it matter (Stanford was 8-15 from 3 in their 58-53 Round of 64 win over New Mexico)? Will either of the two lowest scoring teams left in the Sweet 16 score more than 60 points, a result neither team has accomplished in their two wins? What kind of a name is “Scoochie“? Scotch-Romanian? Or Comanche Indian?

(2) Wisconsin vs. (6) Baylor, West Regional (4:47pm PST) – Will Wisconsin be able to handle a bigger, more athletic version of the Oregon team they beat last Saturday? Can the length and athleticism of Baylor’s 2-3 zone defense stifle Frank Kaminsky and the rest of Wisconsin’s shooters like they did Creighton and Dougie McBuckets (to the tune of 40.0% from the floor, 20.8% from 3)? Will Bo Ryan “Swing” offense flame out before the Elite Eight (1 Elite Eight in 12 prior consecutive appearances) again or will they swing on through to Dallas? Speaking of Dallas, can the potential of a Green & Gold Final Four 100 miles from their campus propel the Bears through the West Regional? Will the first team to 80 win? Or will it be 90, between two of the Top 6 efficient offenses in the country? Considering that likelihood, how much popcorn will I go through watching this game?

(1) Florida vs. (4) UCLA, South Regional (6:45pm PST) – Can this game resolve the eternal question of which is more important, offense (UCLA is 12th in the NCAA in both points per game [81.8] and in offensive efficiency [117.4 points per 100 possessions] according to Ken Pomeroy) or defense (Florida allows the 3rd fewest ppg [57.5] and has the 2nd most efficient defense [88.9 points per 100 possessions allowed] in the country)? What will Florida do to slow down Kyle “Slo-Mo” Anderson, who for my money is the toughest individual matchup and best triple-double threat left (averaging 11.5p/7r/5.5a in UCLA’s two wins) in the Dance? Or will Billy Donovan be flummoxed once again by his team’s performance in the post-game interview as he was after the tight Round of 64 win over Albany? Conversely, does UCLA have an answer for Scottie Wilbekin – a potential answer to the “Slo Mo” question himself – or will they take some defensive possessions off as they did against Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin?

(1) Arizona vs. (4) San Diego State, West Regional (7:17pm PST) – Is Arizona really the favorite that both The Power Rank (65.8% probability of winning tonight’s game) and FiveThirtyEight (72.63% probability) believe them to be, not only to win tonight’s game but to reach the Final Four (both have Arizona as having a greater than 40% probability to make it to Jerry World next week, among the Top 2 likeliest teams along with Florida)? Will Sean Miller still be “The Best Coach never to reach the Final Four” after this year, or does he get to pass down that backhanded sobriquet to potential Elite Eight opponents Bo Ryan or Scott Drew in person? Does history repeat itself in tonight’s rematch with Nick Johnson and “Year of the Freshman” fave Aaron Gordon once again leading the Wildcats to victory, or is the Aztecs’ Dwayne “Tram” Polee II (who did not play in their 69-60 loss to Arizona in November, but has averaged 10.6p over the Aztec’s last 15 games and is their 2nd-leading scorer in the tournament) Steve Fisher’s “secret weapon” tonight? Or is that surprise a 1-3-1 defense to trap the Wildcats’ ballhandlers on the perimeter, deny post entry passing and otherwise slow down Arizona in the half court? Will Arizona fans ever buy another LG product?

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From → Basketball, Sports

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