Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Picking the West region game by game : 2012 NCAA Tournament

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

Who do I think will win the West region? Find out below as I pick every game.  Will Michigan State go to the Final Four?

2nd Round

Michigan State/ Long Island-The Long Island Black Bears are the third highest scoring team in the country. Last year in a first against UNC, they put 87 points up on the board; problem is they gave up over 100. What a coaching job Tom Izzo did getting the Spartans to a number 1 seed after losing their first two games of the season. The Spartans have too much inside and roll in this game. Michigan State-95 Long Island-75

St. Louis/ Memphis- The Memphis Tigers come into this game red-hot winning 20 out of their last 23 games. Including their last 10 wins by double digits. Memphis is one of only 3 teams in the country that are both top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency. This game will be about pace. Memphis likes to run up and down while St. Louis slows things down. St. Louis is 8th in the country in points allowed. In this game I like the team that has the best player and that is Memphis’ Will Barton. Memphis-70 St Louis-58

New Mexico/ Long Beach State – I know one thing, Long Beach State is battle tested because this team played the best non-conference schedule out there. LBS starts 4 seniors who have all scored over 1,000 points. New Mexico is hot after just winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament. They are 4-0 in their last 4 games against UNLV and San Diego State. This game will feature two of the better players in the nation in LBS’s point guard Casper Wear and NM’s Drew Gordon. An injury to Larry Anderson could really hurt Long Beach State, but I still like them to win because of the scoring ability of Ware. Long Beach State-75 New Mexico-72

Louisville/ Davidson- Louisville comes into this game playing their best basketball after winning the Big East Conference Championship.  Davidson is a team that beat Kansas this year. Davidson can score the ball in many ways but they are not facing defenses like Louisville. The Cardinals like to trap and play real aggressively. I think this will give the Wildcats fits. Plus, the plays lately of point guard Peyton; Siva will be too much. Lousivlle-68 Davidson-60

Murray State/ Colorado State- Murray State comes into this one with only 1 loss on the season. Some might say they play in an easy league, but I think they are for real. They beat some good teams in the non-conference. The Racers Isaiah Canaan is one of the best shooters and scorers in the nation. That bodes well against a 175th ranked defense for the Rams. Teams that give Murray State fits are teams with size and Colorado State is not that team. They hardly get any scoring from their big guys. Murray State-70 Colorado State-62

Marquette/BYU- On Tuesday, BYU just won their play in game against Iona despite being behind by 25 points. Iona scored 55 points in the first 16 minutes of the game but only scored 18 the rest of the way. As for this game BYU big man Brandon Davies will give Marquette some fits. However Marquette stars Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson- Odom will be huge match up problems for the Cougars. They are just too quick and both can shoot. Marquette-80 BYU-73

Florida/ Virginia – This game will be all about style. Florida likes to go up and down while Virginia slows the game down and runs down the shot clock. Virginia is the 2nd best defensive team in the country. The Gators feature a 4-guard offense; they make the most threes of any team in the nation. Virginia has a star in Mike Scott, but he gets no help. Florida stud freshman Bradley Beal has really stepped his game up lately, he will be too much for the Cavs to handle. Florida -75 Virginia-60

Missouri/ Norfolk State- Welcome to the big dance Norfolk State, your award is to play the quickest most dynamic team in the tournament. Missouri makes 8.2 threes per game, a big part of that is Marcus Denmon, who is one of the best shooting guards in the nation. Norfolk State lost to Elizabeth City State this season, there is no way this game will be close. Missouri-100 Norfolk State-62

3rd Round

Memphis/ Michigan State- I thought Memphis should have gotten a higher seed. The Tigers have won 11 out of their last 12. Tom Izzo can’t like this matchup. Memphis is one of the most talented and athletic teams in the country. However, they don’t always play like a team, and that is one thing you can always count Michigan State on doing. This game would feature two of the best players in the country in MSU’s Draymond Green and Memphis’s Will Barton. Michigan State has a + 8.9 rebounding margin, and that’s why I think they win the game. Michigan State-78 Memphis-74

Louisville/ Long Beach State – These two teams played during the regular season and the Cardinals won by 13 but this game was at Louisville. In that game Louisville held Long Beach State star to 13 points, well below his average. I think this is a tough match up for LBS because of Louisville’s aggressive defense. Look for Kyle Kuric to hit some threes late to seal the victory for the Cardinals. Lousivlle-75 Long Beach State-68

Marquette/ Murray State- Marquette head coach Buzz Williams is one of the most intense coaches and his teams play like it. His teams play tough physical defense. Murray State does just not face teams like this in their league. Murray State will have no answer for Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder. Marquette-80 Murray State-74

Missouri/ Florida – If you like threes and guards this is the game for you. Both teams play 4-guard offense. Florida leads the nation in made threes per game while Missouri is 21st. While this game is all about the guards the game will come down to the play of the big man, and Missouri has the better big man Ricardo Ratliffe. Florida’s 119th ranked defense in the country will come back to hurt them. Missouri-85 Florida-81

Sweet 16

Michigan State/ Louisville- Here is where I think Louisville’s inconsistency will catch up to them. The Cardinals sometimes struggle to score they are 155th in the nation in points scored. Cardinal’s point guard Peyton Siva averages 3.5 turnovers per game that is way too much for a point guard. Michigan State Tom Izzo always has his teams playing well in March. I like the team with the best player on the court and that is Michigan State’s Draymond Green. Michigan State-65 Louisville-57

Missouri/ Marquette - This could be a final four game but if these two teams play it would be a sweet 16 match up. Both teams really like to get after it on defense by applying pressure. Marquette would have an edge because they are a little more physical but Missouri would have the edge on quickness. Missouri would have a tough time matching up with Jaw Crowder and Marquette will have trouble matching up with Missouri’s 4 guards. Marcus Denmon and Darius Johnson-Odom are both among the top five shooting guards in the country. Missouri’s ability to shoot the three will be the difference in the end. Missouri-83 Marquette-80

Elite 8

Michigan State/ Missouri- Here is where I think Missouri’s lack of depth inside could really come back to hurt them. However, it really hasn’t hurt them yet. Michigan State has plenty of bulk and depth inside. I don’t know if Missouri could match up with Spartans star Draymond Green, because the Tigers biggest player will have to match up with one of MSU big centers. Missouri could use MSU’s bigger line up to their advantage also. Their quickness off the dribble and deadly three point shooting ability could make this game a nail biter. This could be an up and down game, as both teams like to run. In the end Michigan State’s ability to get offensive rebounds will be the difference in the game. Michigan State-74 Marquette-69

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