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Midwest region: Team by team breakdown

March 17, 2009

For those who want some information to help filling out their brackets, I hope this helps. 

This is the Midwest Region team breakdown. 

I will put up the other regions tomorrow.


LOUISVILLE:  #1 overall seed in the tournament, the Cardinals are my pick to go all the way.  Senior, Terrence Williams is the nucleus of a team with tons of talent.  Earl Clark is one of the best if not the best forward in the nation.  Preston Knowles shot over 45% from 3 point range this season.  Jerry Smith shoots near 40% from beyond the arc.  Rick Pitino is notorious for his relentless defensive press, and his ability to set up open 3 pointers for his players.  This team will be very tough to beat down the stretch.

Players to watch:

Terrence Williams- 6-6 guy rebounds like a 7 footer, and is the complete package with his dynamic ability to pass and score at will.,

Earl Clark- One of the best forward duos in the country with Williams.  Clark is also a great rebounder

Samardo Samuels- Monster in the paint

Role players: Jerry Smith, Andre Mcgee, Preston Knowles

OHIO STATE:  The Big 10 champions have had an up and down season.  They are tough to predict, and it is hard to imagine that they will go very far in the tournament.  Evan Turner is the go to guy for the Buckeyes, but they are going to need William Buford, BJ Mullins, Jon Diebler, and Jeremie Simmons to contribute in a major way if they want a shot at going to the sweet 16 and possibly beyond. 

Players to watch:  

Evan Turner- Averages over 17 points a game and is the go to guy for the buckeyes

Jon Diebler- Shoots over 42% from beyond the arc, and puts up over 11 points a game

Role players

William Buford-Puts up over 11 points a game and will be counted on to account for tempo

David Lighty-  10 and 6 a game is going to have to change to 15 and 9 if the Buckeyes are going to make a run

SIENA: Senior guard Kenny Hasbrouck was the hero last year when he put up 30 in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Vanderbilt.  Although losing in the second round, it was a great achievement for them to win a tournament game last year.  Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, Ronald Moore, and Ryan Rossiter all have experience from last year, and the Saints will be a tough out.  I think they will beat the buckeyes, but get ousted by the best team in the country, Louisville.

Players to watch:

Kenny Hasbrouck- We saw what he did last year against Vanderbilt in the first round. Averaging nearly 15 points a game, the senior guard will be looked at to lead the way

Edwin Ubiles- Put up close to 15 and 5 this year, and will be a large contributor if the Saints want to make a sweet 16 run

Alex Franklin- 13.5 and 7 guy, solid forward

Role Players:

Ryan Rossiter- The Saints best rebounder has the potential to be a double double machine

Ronald Moore- putting up 10 points a game in the tourney would help a lot

Clarence Jackson-  Similar role as Moore, should be able to score in double digits

UTAH:  Having a team filled with seniors is a major positive heading into the tournament.  Luke Nevill, Lawrence Borha, Tyler Kepkay, and Shaun Green are all seniors that contribute.  It wouldn’t be a shocker if they beat Arizona, and their side of the bracket is very favorable for a possible sweet 16 birth.

Players to watch: 

Luke Nevill- The big center averaged 17 and 9 during the regular season, and if the Utes want to make any noise during March Madness, Nevill will have to lead the way

Lawrence Borha- over 40% from downtown, Borha is the best guard on the team, and will be counted on to set the tempo early on

Role players:

Shaun Green- Solid forward who averaged 10 points and 5 boards this season.  

Tyler Kepkay- should get plenty of minutes and can put the ball in the hoop

Carlon Brown-  good contributor at the guard position putting up around 10 a game this season, can also help out on the boards

ARIZONA- The Wildcats are a tough team to figure out.  Wins against Kansas, Gonzaga, Washington, and UCLA prove that the Wildcats can stay with anybody when on top of their game.  However, losing 5 of their last 6 made them a bubble team.  Now that they are in, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, and Nic Wise have the talent to lead the Wildcats to a run through the tourney.  Sophomore Jamelle Horne, and freshmen Kyle Fogg will have to step it up.

Players to watch:

Chase Budinger- Budinger is Arizona’s all around best player.  When the game is on the line the ball has to be in his hands. The leader of the Wildcats has to get more production from his supporting cast.  He is also going to put up at least 20 a game for the Cats to make a run.

Jordan Hill- A walking double double, Hill has become the Cats go to guy down the stretch.  As long as he stays out of foul trouble it will be tough to contain the 18.5 points and 11 rebounds he puts up a game.

Nic Wise-  An exciting and versatile guard, when Wise is hot, the Cats are unstoppable.  He is a streaky player, and hopefully his time to shine is now.  He has to set the tempo early for the Wildcats by draining 3s, and setting up Jordan Hill down low.

Role Players:

Jamelle Horne- The forward will be counted on to contribute with a few points here and there, but where he could be most valuable is on the boards.  Horne averaged over 5 rebounds a game during the regular season

Kyle Fogg-  Only a freshmen, Fogg has shown spurts of maturity, and excellence.  However, his play has been inconsistent.  The Wildcats are going to need more than 6 points a game from him throughout the tourney.

WAKE FOREST-  The Demon Deacons started the year on fire by posting a 16-0 record.  Beating UNC, and Duke, makes Wake Forest a threat to anybody.  However, the only consistent shooter they have is Jeff Teague.  This proved to be the nucleus of many of the Demon Deacons problems in the latter half of the season.  Losing to Georgia tech, and NC state, are blueprints to what happens if defenses take advantage of the inconsistent shooting.

Players to watch: 

Jeff Teague- Versatile guard can score from anywhere on the floor.  The leader of this team will have to carry the load to make things happen for a sweet 16 run.

James Johnson- All about power, can dominate in the paint, but is dynamic enough that he has outside shooting ability

Al-Farouq Aminu- Freshmen could be a one and done with terrific skills at both ends of the court.

Role Players:

Chas McFarland- The 7 footer has to contribute more on the boards. Averaging 6 rebounds a game for such a physical specimen is a problem that must be addressed immediately.  On a positive note, McFarland did average 9 points a game in the regular season, and will be looked at to add to that in the tournament

L.D. Williams-  good contributor adding 8 points a game to the lineup for Wake Forest this year.

CLEVELAND STATE- The Vikings are known for their aggressive defense, and this is mostly why they made the tournament.  J’Nathan Bullock, Norris Cole, and Cedric Jackson all average in double digit points a game.  What I really like about Cleveland State is their balance on the offensive and defensive glass.  Bullock averaged 7 boards a game, Jackson averaged 6 rebounds, and D’aundray Brown put up 6 a game as well.  Combined with George Tandy’s 5 boards a game, and you have an even distribution of attacking the glass.

Players to watch: 

J’Nathan Bullock-  Averaged 15.3 points a game, and 7 rebounds, and is a great duo with guard Cedric Jackson.  Bullock will be the go to guy down the stretch if the Wake forest game is a nailbiter.

Norris Cole-  Versatile forward that put up 13 points a game this season.  He is an undersized forward, but makes up for size with quickness

Cedric Jackson-  The floor general for the Vikings, will have a tough task at hand while guarding Jeff Teague

Role Players:

George Tandy- A 6 point 5 rebound guy in the regular season will eat up minutes, and always be a threat to have an immediate impact when in the game

D’Aundray Brown- 38% shooter from downtown, Brown will be looked at to provide a spark.

WEST VIRGINIA-  If Joe Mazzulla didn’t go down with a season ending shoulder injury early in the season, I would be picking the Mountaineers to win the national championship this year.  Even with Mazzulla sidelined, Bob Huggins still has a ton of talent.  Forward Da’sean Butler is the best all around player on West Virginia.  He averaged over 17 points a game this year, but more importantly is his ability to open up the floor for his teammates.  This is especially the case for senior guard, and heart of the team, Alex Ruoff.  He shot 37.5% from 3 this year, but when he gets hot, watch out.  Combine his 15 points a game with freshmen Devin Ebanks 10 points a game, and you have opponents losing sleep.  I look for the Mountaineers to make a deep run in the tournament, especially with Huggins and his top notch defense.  Great guard play, and a lot of athleticism could lead West Virginia as far as the elite 8.

Players to watch:

Da’Sean Butler- All around great player.  17 points a game, 6 rebounds, and a relentless competitive nature make him one of the elite players in the nation.

Alex Ruoff- Leader of team on and off the court.  Puts up 15 points a game, but when he has his jumper, it is going to be a long night for opponents, especially Dayton in the first round

Role Players

Devin Ebanks- The freshmen is quickly on the rise and will be a star in this league next year.  He puts up 10 points a game, and is very athletic and lanky.  He extends plays with his long arms, and can get to the foul line a decent amount.

Kevin Jones-  Jones has shown spurts of brilliance throughout this season.  However, those spurts have been blips on the radar this year.  He needs to be more consistent with his shot, and cannot be afraid to drive to the hoop.  

DAYTON- The Flyers started the year flying as they shot out to a 14-1 start, but went on to lose 5 of their final 10 games.  This included a loss in the quarterfinals of the A10 tournament to Duquesne.  Losing guard Rob Lowery to a season ending injury has been tough for Dayton to cope with.  The Flyers did have some impressive wins this season, beating: Marquette, Duquesne (twice), Auburn, and George Mason.

Players to watch:

Chris Wright-  The sophomore forward is 6-8 and 225 pounds.  He put up 13 points and 6.5 rebounds this year, and is the go to guy on the Flyers.  With only one other player on the team averaging in double digits, Wright will carry the burden and must have the game of his life if West Virginia is going to be taken down.

Marcus Johnson- Known for his 3 pointers, he made a team high 43 treys this season.  He averages 12 points a game, and will have to play a major role in the first round game against the Mountaineers.

Role Players-

Charles Little- The senior forward adds leadership and 8 points 4 rebounds a game

KANSAS- The defending champs were not expected to be as good as they were this season.  Guard Sherron Collins has been the heart and soul of the team, and has led the team scoring 18.3 points a game.  He also averaged 5 assists, and really sets up Cole Aldrich down low for easy lay ups.  Aldrich is a double double machine, and has gotten a lot better around the basket with his feet.  However, Kansas is a young group, with only Collins returning from last year’s starting lineup.  They should get by the Bison of North Dakota State, but taking them lightly would be a mistake as the 14 seed will be throwing everything at the 2008 national champions.

Players to watch:

Sherron Collins-  Junior guard brings championship experience, and a ton of talent to go with it.  The best player on this Jayhawk team, and the leader, the Jayhawks will get as far as he takes them.

Cole Aldrich-  The center put up 14.6 points a game, and 10.6 rebounds a game this year. Being 6-11, 245 pounds, gives him the ability to move swiftly but yet show dominance around the hoop.  He is Collins go to guy down low.

Role Players-

Tyshawn Taylor- The freshman guard has made tremendous strides this season under the coaching of Bill Self.  Averaging 10 points a game, he has the big game potential, and when he is on his game it gives Kansas the third wheel that makes them very difficult to beat.

Brady Morningstar- The sophomore shoots almost 45% from downtown, and will be looked at to have the stroke from the start.

Marcus Morris- The 6-8 freshman will be looked at to get crucial rebounds throughout the game.  He averaged 7.7 points a game and 5 boards in the regular season, and has the potential to play a major role in the Jayhawks first round game

NORTH DAKOTA STATE- The Bison are known for their offensive prowess.  4 players account for almost 62 points a game for the Bison.  Guard Ben Woodside leads the way averaging nearly 23 points a game. The Bison are great at defending the 3, but have to be weary of Kansas inside game.  

Players to watch

Ben Woodside- Matching up against Sherron Collins will be a tough task, but Woodside will put up his share of points.  Averaging nearly 23 points a game this season, he is the Bison go to guy.

Brett Winkelman-  The forward put up an impressive 18.7 points a game, and 7.4 rebounds a game this season.  He is a force to be reckoned with as he plays a lot bigger than his 6-6, 220 pound frame.

Role Players:

Mike Nelson- Another senior guard that brings 12 points a game along with 4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.  He is versatile, and is a great leader

Michael Tveidt-  46% from 3 point range, Tveidt will be looked at to get hot and stay that way to give the Bison a fighting chance against Kansas.

BOSTON COLLEGE- B.C. is a dangerous team led by senior guard Tyrese Rice.  Rice averages 17.1 points a game, and 5.4 dimes, and is a workhorse.  He gets everybody involved, and will be the key to any moves that the Eagles make in the tourney.  Their biggest win of the year came against UNC in the beginning of January.  They then went on to defeat Duke in mid february.  Based on these two victories, you would expect B.C. to have plenty of confidence heading into this week.

Players to watch:

Tyrese Rice-  Outstanding senior guard is the inspirational leader on this team.  He is also the best player, and makes everybody else around him better.  Expect a big first round performance from Rice.

Joe Trapani- the 6-8 forward put up a solid sophomore campaign, averaging 13.5 points per game.  He also snatched 6.6 rebounds a game.  36% from 3 ain’t too shabby for a 6-8 forward.

Rakin Sanders-  The elusive guard/forward does a lot for the Eagles.  He scores 13 points a game, grabs 4.5 boards, and averages nearly 2 assists.  He will be a key element in the Eagles chances of advancing past the first couple rounds.

Role Players:

Corey Raji- 10 and 6 is always a big contribution, if he could turn that into 15 and 8 in tourney time, the Eagles would be grateful.

Reggie Jackson- could be counted on for about 7 points a game, and adds depth to the Eagles guard position.

USC- USC was not going to make the tournament unless they won the Pac 10 tournament.  They did just that by coming back from a 15 point deficit at halftime against a very good Arizona State team.  This should be all the momentum they need to put up a fight against Boston College, and having a legitimate shot of moving on to round 2.  

Players to watch

Daniel Hackett- The outspoken leader of this team is a junior guard with the size (6-5, 205 pounds) to create mismatches against anybody the Trojans face.  He averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists this season, and will lead the way for USC.

Taj Gibson- The 6-9 forward averaged nearly a double double this season.  14.3 points, and 9.4 rebounds, and the offense many times starts and stops with how is playing

Dwight Lewis- The junior guard put up 14 points a game this year and shoots 38% from 3 point range.  He also averages 1.1 steal a game and is a nuisance to opponents he guards.

Role Players-

DeMar DeRozan- He is more of a go to guy, but USC has a lot of them. DeRozan averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 rebounds a game this season.  The freshman from Compton has made himself right at home very quickly. He also averages nearly a steal a game.

Leonard Washington- The freshmen forward is good for 6 points and 4 rebounds a game. He gets a block every other game, and also averages nearly a steal a game.

MICHIGAN STATE- Izzo has his team having their mind on a final 4 run.  Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas is the floor general for the Spartans, and will be counted on to jump start the offense.  Raymar Morgan will hopefully be completely healthy for the big 10 tournament.  Through injuries and pneumonia, the highly recruited junior needs to have a huge tournament in order for the Spartans to get to the final 4.  

Players to watch

Kalin Lucas-  The guard averaged nearly 15 points a game and 4.4 assists this season.  He is great at setting the pace for the offense, and is always looking for Morgan, Suton, and Summers .

Raymar Morgan-  He avereaged a disappointing 10.8 points a game this year.  Coming into college he was supposed to be a 20 10 kind of guy.  Not an 11, 6.  However, he has been sick, and plagued with injuries over the past two years.  Hopefully all that is behind him, and his true talent will come out in this tournament.

Goran Suton-  A 6-10 center that shoots nearly 40% from 3 point range?  Suton also averages 9.5 points a game, 7.6 rebounds, and 1 steal.  The big man is very versatile and has been there go to guy at many times this season.

Role Players:

Durrell Summers- The sophomore guard has a lot of potential, and his 8 points a game this year don’t describe his value.  He really came on hard down the stretch as he put up 26 in a win at Ohio State. He also put up 21 against Iowa and Minnesota.  All three of those games were Spartan victories, and if he steps his game up its going to be very difficult to contain all the weapons that Izzo has to his disposal

Chris Allen- A great start to the year against less than mediocre competition, but then it seemed like his play became inconsistent once conference play began.  He did average 9 points a game this year, and could be a game changer under the right circumstances.

ROBERT MORRIS- Robert Morris is a decent shooting team, making 47.6% of its shots and 39.7% of its 3 point attempts. The beat Mount St. Mary’s in the Northeast conference tournament when Dallas Green picked up a loose ball and nailed a jumper with 2.5 seconds left.  This is their first tourney birth in 17 years.

Players to watch:

Jeremy Chappell- 16.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a game leads the team.

Rob Robinson- tallest player on the Colonials at 6-8, the junior forward averages 11.4 points per game, and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Role Players:

Jimmy Langhurst- the 5-11 junior point guard, is the team’s third leading scorer averaging 10 points a game. ate

Bateko Francisco- The senior guard is a solid all around player.  Averaging 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, the Colonials will need all he has and more to have a slight chance at beating Michigan State






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