Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM
THE NCAA TOURNAMENT REPORT - SATURDAY'S ELITE 8 QUICKIE PREVIEWS
Ladies and gents, let's jump right into our Jim Sez previews for the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 games on Saturday:
WEST REGIONAL FINAL - Honda Center, Anaheim (CA)
#2 OKLAHOMA (28-7) vs. #1 OREGON (31-6) - 6:09 p.m. ET, CBS
"And a one, and a two …"
Okay, so you get the theme for these NCAA Tournament Elite 8 games on Saturday with a pair of No. 1 seeds battling it out with a couple of No. 2 seeds and we start here on the left coast where the top-seeded Oregon Ducks just kicked Duke to the curb with Thursday's 82-68 win/cover that featured 22 assists on 32 made field goals.
If the Pac-12 guys are so caring and so sharing with the ball here, then Oklahoma is in major trouble even if G Buddy Hield comes up with one of his patented 30-point plus games. Dana Altman's Ducks, in fact, may let Hield (17 points, 10 rebounds in easy 77-63 Sweet 16 win against Texas A&M) be a "volume shooter" here while trying to hoist up as many shots as possible in a high-octane game that could be right up Oregon star Dillon Brooks' alley (see 22 points and 6 assists versus Duke but that last-second triple even bugged icon coach Mike Krzyzewski).
Oklahoma boss-man Lon Kruger absolutely loved his team's defense the other night versus A&M (the Aggies drained just 22-of-64 FGs and made good on only 6-of-28 triple tries) but the key here is getting back in transition defense or else the athletic and highly-skilled Ducks will beat 'em with a bunch of 3-on-2's and the like. No question Sooners G Isaiah Cousins (just 1-of-8 from the floor against Texas A&M) needs to complement Hield and G Jordan Woodard (game-best 22 points versus A&M) here … or else!
Now, here's the NCAA Tournament roads that both Oklahoma and Oregon have travelled so far …
|3-24||Texas A&M||- 2.5||77-63|
|3-18||Holy Cross||- 23||91-52|
|3-20||St. Joe's||- 7||69-64|
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SOUTH REGIONAL FINAL - KFC Yum Center, Louisville (KY)
#2 VILLANOVA (32-5) vs. #1 KANSAS (33-4) - approximately 8:49 p.m. ET, CBS
It's duly noted that both 'Nova and Kansas have covered all three of their NCAA Tournament games thus far but only Wildcats' coach Jay Wright uttered the following statement after his team's delicious Sweet 16 win against Miami on Thursday night, "This is the best we've played all year."
No doubt Villanova - which shot a blistering 32-of-51 from the field against the 'Canes (that's nearly 63 percent!) - has stepped up its game to a lofty new level with four-year captain PG Ryan Arcidiacono (21 meaningful points and just one turnover in 35 minutes) the heartbeat of this bunch but does anyone really believe that the Big East squad will hit two-thirds of its beyond-the-arc shots here against a cat-quick Kansas defense?
Villanova did bag 10-of-15 triples against a Miami team that really lost its way early and never did recover but the way Bill Self's Kansas crew defends the perimeter, 'Nova may need a 25-point night from inside presence senior C Daniel Ochefu here following his efficient 17-point game the other night.
Kansas may be humming these days with senior Perry Ellis (27 points against Maryland) playing great but when does G Devonte' Graham show up to this "Big Dance" (see 2 points in 37 cramp-filled minutes versus the Terps)?
Now, here's the NCAA Tournament roads that both Villanova and Kansas have travelled so far …
|3-18||NC Asheville||- 17.5||86-56|
|3-17||Austin Peay||- 24.5||105-79|
NOTE : Catch our NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Sunday matchups in the next edition of Jim Sez.