2012 March Madness East Region 3rd Round Preview

2012 March Madness East Region 3rd Round Preview

Without question the best game in the East Region in the 2nd round was the Kansas State vs. Southern Miss game. The game had several lead swings and was close until down the stretch when KSU managed to pull away with free throws. We’re going to take a look at all of the 3rd round games in the East Region below along with a quick recap of what transpired in the 2nd round.

2012 March Madness East Region Predictions (3rd Round)

• #1 Syracuse Orange -5 vs. #8 Kansas State Wildcats +5

Syracuse struggled mightily without big man Melo under the hoop against #16 seed UNC-Ashville. The Orange were losing by the half against the Bulldogs, but they pulled out a 72-65 victory, which didn’t cover the big spread. Kansas State started the game great, but they gave up their lead and fought until the final buzzer to win 70-64, which was enough to cover the spread.

Syracuse shot 5 for 23 from beyond the arc in their 1st game and need to move the ball inside more. KSU struggled from 3 point land as well against Southern Miss, but they got to the free throw line 34 times and made 26 of them. If the Wildcats want to upset the Orange they need to get to the line again. I think KSU will be pumped to beat Syracuse and I like the +5 in this game.

• #4 Wisconsin Badgers PK vs. #5 Vanderbilt Commodores PK

The Badgers looked great in their 2nd round game against Montana. Many thought that Montana could pull off the upset, but Wisky came out on fire and never looked back. Wisconsin controlled the game the entire way and won 73-49 to easily cover the spread. Vanderbilt won 79-70 and covered, but the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

Vanderbilt held a commanding lead over Harvard, but let them back in the game as Rivard was draining 3’s. This should be a good match-up and the bookies think it is an evenly matched game. Vanderbilt can heat up from the outside, but Wisky plays a tough defensive game that can cause shooters to go cold for lengthy periods of time. I like Wisconsin to advance to the S16.

• #6 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. #3 Florida State Seminoles

Cincinnati opened up a huge lead over Texas in the 2nd round of the tournament, but only won the game 65-59 after Texas made a huge run in the 2nd half to almost draw even with the Bearcats. Florida State played horrible today and they barely made it out of the game with a victory over the St. Bonnies. They won 66-63, but they didn’t take the lead until late in the game.

Florida State has a deep line-up that can beat you behind the arc or in the paint. The only problem is that the Seminoles play right into their opponents for the most part. I think this game might wake them up, but I wouldn’t expect a convincing win over the Bearcats who are currently riding a ton of confidence and a nice winning streak. Seminoles should win here, but not by much.

• #7 Gonzaga Bulldogs +7.5 vs. #2 Ohio State Buckeyes -7.5

Gonzaga romped the Mountaineers in the 2nd round 77-54 and looked great the entire game. The Bulldogs have some sharp shooters on the team and can knock it down from anywhere on the court. OSU won their 1st game 78-59 and the team was led by Deshaun Thomas with 31 points. OSU weren’t tested much by Loyola (MD), but they will be tested by Gonzaga.

Gonzaga hit over 50% of their 3-pt attempts (9-17) against West Virginia and will need to knock down as many 3 point shots in order to knock-off the Buckeyes. Gonzaga also needs to try to get to the free throw line as much as OSU. I think the Bulldogs are going to be able to make a game of this and I’ll take the +7.5 points in this 3rd round match-up tomorrow.

What Team Looks the Best?

Syracuse definitely doesn’t look like a #1 seed in the East Region right now. I watched most of their game and they looked very slow and took way too many outside jump shots. Kansas State could advance to the Sweet Sixteen, but they need to play the full 40 minutes against the Orange.

Wisconsin looked really good in their game as well. They scored a ton of points and they also have a pretty good defence that should be able to limit Vanderbilt’s outside threats. Wisconsin is a team that could make a run to the Final Four, but they have a very tough potential match-up against OSU if they both keep advancing.

Ohio State wasn’t tested in the 1st round, but I’ll have a much better read on them after their game against the Zags. Gonzaga is coming into this 3rd round match-up shooting the ball very well and could stay close in this game against OSU. The Zags will need to be hitting outside shots because OSU has a huge advantage in the paint with Sullinger.

I still think the East Region is wide open and it should be interesting this weekend to see what teams advance to the S16. I was impressed with Gonzaga, but playing OSU isn’t going to be easy with their big presence in the paint. Wisconsin could make a run and if they win I’m sure they’re hoping KSU can knock-off Syracuse, as KSU is a much better match-up for this Wisky team.

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