2012 March Madness West Region 3rd Round Preview

2012 March Madness West Region 3rd Round Preview

The West Region had the biggest upset by a long shot in the 2nd round of the tournament. Norfolk State was able to win their game against Mizzou and will advance to the 3rd round. Many people had Mizzou going deep including me. I thought Mizzou would win the tournament this year or at the very least make a deep run, but it clearly didn’t happen. We’re going to have a couple interesting match-ups in the 3rd round of the West Region, so make sure you read our previews below to prepare.

2012 March Madness West Region Predictions (3rd Round)

• #1 Michigan State vs. #9 Saint Louis Billikens

Michigan State just finished playing and they beat LIU Brooklyn 89-67. The game was close at halftime, but the Spartans pulled away in the 2nd half and outscored LIU by 17 points in the 2nd half. Superstar Draymond Green led MSU with 24 PTS, 12 REBS and 10 ASSTS in their 2nd round game. Saint Louis was able to dictate the tempo against Memphis and pulled off the upset earlier.

Memphis was never able to play the type of basketball game that they want to play. Memphis likes to run the ball and score a lot of points, but the Billikens did a great job keeping Memphis from getting transition points on fast breaks. The problem for the Billikens in their next match-up against MSU is that the Spartans will be able to kill the Billikens down low with Green.

• #5 New Mexico Lobos +1.5 vs. #4 Louisville Cardinals -1.5

New Mexico will be taking on the Cardinals in the 3rd round of the tournament. Louisville beat Davidson 79-72 and the Lobos had a tough game against Long Beach State, but they came out on top 75-68. New Mexico shot 50% from the field and they hit 7 of 21 three pointers in the game. The team missed about 25% of their free throws, but Louisville misses at about the same clip.

Louisville isn’t a 3-point shooting team, so they need to make sure the Lobos don’t get hot from beyond the arc. If New Mexico is nailing three’s in the game it will be much more difficult for the Cardinals to keep up. Louisville plays tough defence and in their game against Davidson they held the Wildcats to 35% from the field. I think the Cardinals defence wins them this game.

• #6 Murray State +5 vs. #3 Marquette Golden Eagles -5

Colorado State was no match for Murray State, as the Racers easily won their 2nd round game 58-41. Murray State played tough defence, but the Rams were simply not hitting any of their shots in the game. Marquette won 88-68 over BYU and the game was never that close. Marquette is a scary team in the big dance because they can score a ton of quick points on fast breaks.

Marquette nailed 45% of their shots from the field and from behind the 3-point line in their game against BYU. The Cougars never had the lead once in the game, which goes to show you how tough Marquette is. I think the spread is a little low in this game and I think Marquette will be one of the favourites in the 3rd round to be able to cover their point spread over Murray State.

• #7 Florida Gators vs. #15 Norfolk State Spartans

Noone legitimately thought that Norfolk State would be able to beat the Mizzou Tigers, but they did 88-86. The team can shoot the ball very well and they hit some very clutch three pointers today against Missouri. Norfolk State hit 10 of 19 from beyond the arc to win them the game today. Florida easily beat Virginia by a score of 71-45 today.

Florida looked horrible early on in this game while they were cold shooting the ball, but they eventually started to heat-up and they also held the Cavaliers to only 45 points. Florida has to be very happy that they don’t have to play Mizzou, but they can’t take this Spartans team lightly either or else they may be the next casualty in the West Region.

What Team Looks the Best?

After a day that was full of upsets I think it’s safe to say that the Michigan State Spartans are the best team in the West Region this year. I thought MSU would have trouble against a very fast Missouri team later in the tournament, but now that Mizzou has been knocked out I think that MSU should be able to make the Final Four.

Michigan State has a great match-up in their 3rd round game over the Billikens. MSU can set-up a half-court offence a lot better than Memphis and that will prove to be fatal for Saint Louis. The Billikens may keep it close early on the scoreboard, but by the end of the game the Spartans will be up by 10+ points.

Louisville, Marquette and to some extent Florida also have an outside chance. Florida can knock down 3’s like crazy, but if you watched the beginning of the Gators game you also witnessed how bad they look when shots aren’t dropping. If the Gators can keep hot at the right time in a close game they could make a deep run.

Marquette should prove to be the biggest challenge left for MSU in the West Region now. The Golden Eagles are very fast and can shoot the ball better than most teams in the country. Marquette spreads the floor and that might be a problem to defend for MSU if these two teams meet later in the tournament.

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