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Oakland Region 2nd Round Preview

2006 Oakland Region March Madness Preview

NCAA SECOND ROUND OAKLAND MATCH-UPS:

Alabama Crimson Tide Vs UCLA Bruins

Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide beat Marquette (90-85) with outstanding 3-point performances by forward Jean Felix (8-11) and guard Ronald Steele (4-6). Together they were 12 for 17, while the team was 12 for 23 from the 3-point line. This amazing 3-point performance was against this team’s norm both in how many they attempted and how many they hit. Bama is solid at the free throw line, which means Felix and company should be taking shots that can get them to the foul line as much as possible. (Need to: Be wary of getting hooked on the 3-pointer. Especially against the unforgiving Bruins.)

UCLA Bruins: The UCLA Bruins hammered the Belmont Bruins 78-44. They shot, rebounded, and moved the ball extremely well. One concern—14 turnovers, which is also how many the Belmont Bruins had. That should not be the case in a game like this. Blowouts can create complacency and the 1-1 turnover ratio may indicate just that. The Bruins better gear up, Bama is coming! (Need to: Be wary of complacency and don’t give a team like Alabama equal footing in turnovers. It could get too close for comfort.)

Indiana Hoosiers Vs Gonzaga Bulldogs

Indiana Hoosiers: The Hoosiers outlasted the San Diego State Aztecs 87-83. Indiana was beat soundly in every shooting category and in rebounds but survived due to two Aztec turnovers in the final 13 seconds and a 3-pointer by Indian’s Robert Vaden with 3 seconds left. (Need to: Defend much better, shoot well, and play more consistent ball. They’re lucky to be in the Second Round.)

Gonzaga Bulldogs: Gonzaga, the number 3 seed, had a tough time getting their act together against the unrelenting number 14 seed, Xavier Musketeers. Ultimately, they beat them (79-75) from the free throw and 3-point lines. The Bulldogs gave up too many fouls in this game (24), which resulted in 23 Musketeer points. Xavier shot 69% from the foul line; if Xavier had a few more hits from the penalty stripe, the Bulldogs would be sitting out the rest of the tournament. (Need to: Play more consistently against the #6 seed, Indiana. Don’t let them in the door. The Hoosiers can take advantage of mistakes late in the game.)

Memphis Tigers Vs Bucknell Bison

Memphis Tigers: First seed Memphis easily beat sixteenth seed Oral Roberts, 94-78. At the half the Tigers had a commanding 51-39 lead over the Golden Eagles. Memphis shot well from the field hitting 61.7% of its shots and getting double-digit contributions from five players. But Memphis had trouble at the foul line, only sinking 52.6% of its free throws. (Need to: The Tigers can dominate as a team but their job will be much easier if they start converting at the foul line.)

Bucknell Bison: The ninth seed Bucknell Bison eked out a 59-54 win against the eighth seed Arkansas Razorbacks, primarily on the scoring of guards Charles Lee (24 points) and Kevin Bettencourt (18 points). As a whole the team hit a desultory 38.6% from the field but were saved by some good defense (10 steals) and accurate foul shooting (77.8%). They were also helped by Arkansas’ inability to sink threes, hitting only 2 of 12 attempts (16.7%). (Need to: Bucknell must score as a team and convert a much higher percentage of its shots. Otherwise, they will be out of their Second Round game very early.)

Pittsburgh Panthers Vs Bradley Braves

Pittsburgh Panthers: The fifth seed Pittsburgh Panthers played more like a number one seed today than most number one seeds have during the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, hitting 67.4% from the court and 73.3% from the foul line. Six of their players hit double figures and the team caught net inside, outside, and everywhere in-between. The Panthers’ defense was physical and tough throughout the contest. The Kent State Golden Flashes didn’t have a chance. (Need to: The Panthers looked so good, it’s tough to come up with a weakness or a concern. The primary thing for this team to remember is that they have to always work hard, play for the good shot, and take nothing for granted. They have run into problems this season when they’ve gotten careless with the ball.)

Bradley Braves: The 13th seed Bradley Braves stuck it to the Kansas Jayhawks by outplaying them on the defensive end of the court and hitting all-important foul shots at the end of the game. The 77-73 victory went down to the wire with the Jayhawks refusing to give up. The 13th seed Braves showed a lot of poise in playing toe to toe with 4th seed Kansas. Bradley’s senior forward Marcellus Sommerville showed up to play, leading his team with 21 points and also grabbing seven rebounds. (Need to: Bradley really kept their cool throughout the game, committing only 15 fouls to Kansas’ 23. But the team only shot 45% from the field; if they don’t do better than that against the hot shooting Panthers, they won’t stand a chance. This team must make every shot count.)


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