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The first game puts the Purdue Boilermakers against the Tennessee Volunteers. Each team will want to control the pace with Purdue looking at a more deliberate flow. Tennessee wants a helter skelter, track meet pace. Another battle will be on the boards where the Volunteers want to impose their strength and toughness on the Boilermakers. Purdue just wants to compete, match the intensity level and keep the margin close.
Keys To the Game: The keys to victory for the Boilermakers will be defensive rebounding, protecting the paint and finding some production off the bench. The Volunteers’ keys start with taking care of the basketball, followed by knocking down jumpers and finally, their perimeter defense (especially on point guard Carsen Edwards).
Prediction: Tennessee’s pressure on both ends and their half court execution will be enough to carry them to the next round.
The second game features the Oregon Ducks and the Virginia Cavaliers. The Ducks are on a roll and playing with house money. Virginia has to feel good getting the monkey off their back with two solid victories. This game will come down to Oregon’s shot making against the Cavalier’s pack line defense.
Keys To The Game: Oregon has to limit their turnovers, get second chances off offensive rebounding and speed up the game. The Cavaliers formula is always the same and so is their margin for error. They will rely heavily on their defense, the ability to dominate the boards and keep the game at a slower controlled pace.
Prediction: Oregon’s magic carpet ride continues as they make enough crucial baskets to advance.
The first game has the Florida State Seminoles taking on the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Seminoles will try to continue their hot shooting from long range. Their defense is highly effective because of their length and athleticism. The Bulldogs are an offensive machine with weapons at every level. They will hang around and are no slouch on defense themselves.
Keys To The Game: Florida State needs to have consistent outside shooting, team rebounding and their signature defensive pressure. For Gonzaga, their game plan will be to relentlessly attack the Seminoles defense, win the rebounding battle and limit their turnovers. This will be an up and down contest, don’t blink.
Prediction: The Bulldogs offense is efficient and has too many options to stop, allowing Gonzaga to march on.
The second game is between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Michigan Wolverines. This game will be all about defense, so it seems. Both teams have defensive pedigrees but the team that can make shots will win.
Keys To The Game: Texas Tech must play defense without fouling, be efficient on offense and of course, defense (especially rotating off help). The Wolverines should try to attack the basket (to get to the free throw line), get defensive rebounds and of course, play sound perimeter defense.
Prediction: The Red Raiders’ offense will outperform their counterparts and propel them onto the next round.