Sweet 16 Preview Washington DC Region
2006 March Madness Washington DC Region Sweet 16 Preview
NCAA TOURNAMENT SWEET 16 WASHINGTON DC MATCH-UPS:
GEORGE MASON COLONIALS Vs WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
GEORGE MASON COLONIALS: The Colonials of George Mason gave the defending champion North Carolina Tar Heels only four shots at the foul line (4-4) while the Colonials took 19 and made 15 from the penalty area. Eleventh seed George Mason played third seed North Carolina tough and although they were out rebounded, 40-33, and saw 10 of their shots blocked, they outlasted last year’s champs, 65-60. Senior Colonial guard, Lamar Butler, has been a fine playmaker, a dependable ball handler, and an accurate shooter in the first two rounds. Sophomores Folarin Campbell, swingman, and Will Thomas, forward, will both need to continue to contribute in order for this team to win. (George Mason has a mature, dependable point guard in Lamar Butler, a necessity in the tournament. His unflappable personality gives the rest of the team confidence. Continued steady play by Butler, sound positioning by the forwards for offensive rebounds, and continued stingy defense will give Mason a chance at making the Elite Eight.)
WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS: The seventh seed Shockers have been true to their name as they easily took down second seed Tennessee in the Second Round. In defeating Bruce Pearl’s Volunteers, Wichita State knocked in 9 of 15 (60%) from downtown, 23 of 29 (79%) from the free throw line, and 24 of 48 (50%) from the field. The team had double digit contributions in scoring from five players, including sophomore swingman PJ Couisnard who threw in 20 while grabbing 9 rebounds. The Shockers were stingy with fouls but, at times, careless with the ball. In their next game, stronger rebounding on the offensive end of the court will be very helpful. (The Shockers are a good team that can hit from just about anywhere on the court. But they gave away the ball numerous times in their last contest; that can really hurt them against the opportunistic Colonials. If Wichita State continues mixing up their shot selections in their next game, it will help keep George Mason off balance. That could turn the game in the Shockers’ favor. This should be a tough, hard fought contest. One of the best of this round.)
CONNECTICUT HUSKIES Vs WASHINGTON HUSKIES
CONNECTICUT HUSKIES: Of all the number one seeds, Connecticut has been the least dominant. The sixteenth seed Albany Great Danes gave Connecticut all they could handle in Round One and the eighth seed Kentucky Wildcats took the Huskies to the limit in the second round. In the tournament, the Huskies have been victorious over both dogs and cats, and now they’re going up against the Huskies of Washington. Will it be a dogfight? The good news for Connecticut is that they got significant contributions from five players and they were disciplined and careful about giving fouls. They’ll need to shoot better than 49% from the field and 28% from the 3-point area, which is what they accomplished in the Kentucky game. (Connecticut must get it in gear. They are an excellent team, perhaps the best all-around club in the tournament, but they’ve let their first two opponents hang around too long, and in Kentucky’s case, allowed them back in the game again before putting them away. Need consistent play from this team if they’re going to be one of the eight “elite.”)
WASHINGTON HUSKIES: The fifth seed Washington Huskies took on the fourth seed Illinois Fighting Illini, beating them 67-64 in the Second Round. Like so many of the teams that have made it to the Sweet Sixteen, the Huskies gave away far fewer fouls than their opponents gave, converted penalty opportunities, and shared scoring chances amongst all players. Senior guard Brandon Roy has been a strong leader, tough defender, and accurate shooter in the first two games of the tournament. The game against Illinois had numerous scoring swings, but Washington managed to keep their focus, fight for position, and get back on track. These Huskies were underrated prior to the tournament; at least after two games, it seems as though they were. (Can these Huskies beat the other Huskies, sending them to the dog house? Washington is a highly motivated, smart team that can fight through adversity. They have performed above the expectations of many “experts.” Connecticut may be the one seed but Washington doesn’t care about that. Continued good defense and a higher percentage of shots going through the net are a necessity for them to be successful.)
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