Breaking Down the Round of 32: Midwest

The round of 64 was one of the best in a long time, if not the best.  While the insane upsets made Warren Buffet’s billion warm and cozy in his bank account, brackets around the country were shredded but we were surely entertained.

On to the next round!

(4) Louisville vs. (5) Texas
Saturday 2:45, CBS, Orlando (Anderson/ Bonner/ Leahy)

Breakdown:  Louisville escaped a somewhat narrow decision against Manhattan and Saint Louis came back to beat NC State.
Difference Maker:  Russ Smith.  One of the best players in the tournament is the difference maker in this game.
Saint Louis wins if:  They can slow Louisville down and force Russ Smith to make bad decisions and be frustrated.  They are a good defensive team but they will have to be focused to win this one.
Louisville wins if:  They can get out and run and get the ball to Montrezl Harrell.
Prediction:  Louisville

(2) Michigan vs. (5) Texas
Saturday 5:15, CBS, Raleigh (Eagle/ Spanarkel/ Johnson)

Breakdown:  For some reason Michigan is the forgotten team in the Midwest.  They took care of business in the first round like a two-seed should.  They have a tough, tough matchup against Texas because they are the anti-Michigan.
Difference Maker:  Texas is a board dominating team by nature and Michigan is not.
Texas wins if:  They totally dominate the boards.  Michigan is not a great rebounding team but they are good at everything else.
Michigan wins if:  They keep rebounding margin close and are, as-usual, good at everything else.  They have played a tough schedule and are a well polished offensive machine.
Prediction:  Michigan

(1) Wichita State vs. (8) Kentucky
Sunday 2:45, CBS, Orlando (Anderson/ Bonner/ Leahy)

Breakdown:  Wichita State played like a number one seed with a chip on it’s shoulder and you can expect no less against Kentucky.
Difference Maker:  Kentucky’s youth.  This is a battle tested and hardened Wichita State team and the youth of Kentucky will have to grow up to win this one.
Wichita State wins if:  They play like a veteran team, let the game come to them and don’t try to be better athletes than Kentucky or try to match them shot-for-shot.
Kentucky wins if:  They play like seniors and limit turnovers and dumb shots.
Prediction:  Wichita State

(11) Tennessee vs. (14) Mercer
Sunda 6:10 TNT, Raleigh (Harlan/ Elmore/ Miller/ Nichols)

Breakdown:  The battle that no one expected happens at 6:10 on Sunday.  Mercer is the tournament’s darling after defeating Coach K and Duke’s evil empire on Friday.  As predicted by CHD’s very own Matt Waskey, this Mercer team is built for the post season and could find themselves in the sweet 16.
Tennessee wins if:  They can get out and run and score and if they can disrupt Mercer’s game plan.  That all sounds like basketball basics but it is what makes Mercer go.
Mercer wins if:  They run their offense and Langston Hall shows up in a mighty way like he did against Duke.
Prediction:  Mercer