Friday, May 18th, 2012

Picking the Midwest region game by game : 2012 NCAA Tournament

Published on March 14, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

Who do I think will win the Midwest region? Find out below as I pick every game. Will the Tar Heels make it to the final four this season?

2nd Round

North Carolina/Lamar- I am picking Lamar to win the play in game. Ever since Pat Knight called out his seniors his team has won 6 straight games. That streak will end here, even if Tar Heels star John Henson doesn’t play. Lamar only features 3 regulars that are over 6’5”. Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes will dominate. North Carolina-102 Lamar-75

Creighton/Alabama- One team is good at offense and struggles on defense and the other team is vice versa. The Creighton Blue Jays average about 80 points per game. They are led by the coach’s son Doug McDermott, who is one of the top scorers in the nation. Creighton shoots the three very well. Meanwhile, Alabama has not given up 80 points all season. While the Tide excels on the defensive end they really struggle on offense. It hurt when their 2nd leading scorer, Tony Mitchell was kicked off the team. Which will win in this game offense or defense? I always take offense. Creighton-66 Alabama-56

Temple/California – I am projecting California to beat South Florida. A lot of people forget that earlier this season the Owls beat Duke, they also beat Wichita State. The Owls have one of the best backcourts in college basketball. Guard Ramone Moore needs more publicity nationally. The key to this team is big man Michael Eric, who has missed some games due to injury. Compared to past Temple teams this team is better on offense than defense. The Cal Bears have lost 3 out of their last 4 games. Jorge Gutierrez was the Pac 12 Player of the Year but they lack depth. Temple-66 California-60

Ohio/ Michigan – A lot of people are picking an upset here but I just don’t see it. Both of these teams have elite point guards in Ohio’s D.J. Cooper and Michigan’s Trey Burke. Burke has more help around him led by Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan also shoots the three better. Teams that beat Michigan have dominant post players and Ohio doesn’t have that. John Beilein is a heck of a coach. Michigan-67 Ohio-61

NC State/ San Diego State- The Wolfpack had to sweat it out on selection Sunday, they were the last team announced on the selection show. Leading the way is C.J. Lesile; he has ton of talent and he has finally put it together. Point guard Lorenzo Brown has the Wolfpack at 13th in the nation in assists. Jamaal Franklin leads SDS in points and rebounds; he was the MWC Player of the Year. It hurts that the Aztecs have to travel across country to play a 9:40 A.M local time game for them. Lesile will take advantage of the smaller Aztecs team. NC State-69 San Diego State-65

Georgetown/ Belmont- Belmont almost pulled over an upset in the first game of the season losing at Duke by 1 point. This Bruin team has plenty of experience with 8 juniors and seniors on the team. Belmont loves to push it on offense and fire up plenty of threes. This is every high seeds worst nightmare. However, Georgetown is a very good defensive team, especially at defending the three. The Hoyas have too much down low for Belmont to handle in Otto Potter and Henry Sims. The Hoyas can also shoot the three with Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson. Georgretown-70 Belmont-56

St. Mary’s/ Purdue- You have to feel good for Robbie Hummel who is having a great senior season after having 2 ACL injuries. Hummel will have the edge over Rob Jones. The point guard battle goes to the Gaels Matthew Dellavedova over Lewis Jackson. In the end I am taking Purdue. Why? Because Purdue rarely turns the ball over and their ability to shoot the three. St. Mary’s is also not a good defensive team. Purdue-64 St. Mary’s-58

Kansas/ Detroit – For a 15th seed Detroit has some top level talent. Detroit’s Ray McCallum Jr. could have played anywhere in the country but he wanted to play for his dad at Detroit. McCallum will be in a heck of a one and one battle with Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor has more players around him especially inside. The Jayhawks will dominate with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. Detroit struggles to shoot the ball especially from three. Kansas-77 Detroit-65

3rd Round

North Carolina/ Creighton – North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Creighton’s Doug McDermott played on the same high school team. Wow, that must of have been one heck of a high school basketball team. If you like offensive basketball this is a game you need to watch as both teams average over 80 points per game. UNC’s one weakness is defending the three and the Blue Jays have 4 regulars shooting over 40 %. North Carolina’s length will cause problems. Creighton’s problem is they are not a good defensive team. They will have major problems going up against North Carolina’s front line with Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Barnes. Kendall Marshall could have over 15 assists in this game. North Carolina-92 Creighton-83

Michigan/ Temple – I think this game will be pretty even, both teams are guard first offenses, and feature a lot of back door cuts. I think this game comes down to three pointers. Michigan makes 8.2 threes per game while Temple makes 7.3. Michigan also ranked 8th in the country in two point shooting. Temple has lost to teams like Bowling Green and Richmond this season. Michigan-65 Temple-59

NC State/ Georgetown- Here is where I think NC State run stops. They just do not play well against top level teams. They are 1-8 vs. RPI top 50 teams. I really like Georgetown’s ability to defend. Georgetown is the best in the country at defending the three and they don’t give up offensive rebounds. I also think NC State will get frustrated by Georgetown’s back door offense. Georgetown-63 NC State-56

Purdue/ Kansas – Purdue does not match up well against top teams. They are 3-10 against RPI top 50 teams. They don’t have enough size and strength to match up with Kansas inside. Thomas Robinson in my mind is the best player in the country; he will just dominate Purdue. Tyshawn Taylor should have a big size advantage over Purdue’s Lewis Jackson. Kansas has lost to double digit seeds lately but not this year. Kansas-76 Purdue-63

Sweet 16

North Carolina/ Michigan- John Henson should be 100 % by now. The one weakness for Michigan will come back to hurt them in this game. The Wolverines get no low post scoring and struggle guarding teams that have multiple post players. Henson and ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller should have a field day. This game will feature a great point guard matchup between Trey Burke and Kendall Marshall. With Marshall’s scoring lately I give him the edge. This will be Michigan’s first appearance in the sweet 16 since 94 but it will be short lived. North Carolina-80 Michigan-69

Kansas/ Georgetown- This would be a game between two aggressive hard working defensive teams, while Kansas has a little more offensive fire power. Kansas big man Thomas Robinson is unstoppable. Georgetown’s Henry Sims does have the size to bother Robinson. On offense Georgetown runs the Princeton offense with a lot of back doors. The Hoyas big man led them in assists. Sometimes, the Hoyas really struggle to score on offense because they don’t have that one elite scorer. One huge edge Kansas has is at point guard with Tyshawn Taylor. He should dominate this game. I think Kansas’s three point shooting ability could also be a difference. Kansas-63 Georgetown-60

Elite 8

North Carolina/ Kansas- Talk about storylines. North Carolina’s head coach Roy Williams coaching against the school where he used to coach. Kansas beat the Tar Heels in a final four game in 2008. Also, the Tar Heels having to play Kansas not far from the Jayhawks campus. If you like to watch good inside play this is the game for you. It will be a battle between Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey versus UNC’s Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Robinson is clearly the best player, but the edge goes to the Heels because of the talents of both Henson and Zeller combined. Both teams have excellent point guards. UNC’s Kendall Marshall is the best passer out there and is scoring of late. Kansas’s Tyshawn Taylor is more of a scoring point guard. The teams are pretty even across the board, but the Heels get a big edge at the small forward position with Harrison Barnes. This will be a tough match up for Kansas. If this game is close late, Barnes would not be afraid to hit a big shot. North Carolina-72 Kansas-66

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