What a wild ride the Midwest has been with so many crazy upsets. most notably Richmond taking down Iowa in the first round, followed by Iowa State defeating Wisconsin and LSU, as well as Miami taking down Auburn in the second round.

1-Kansas vs 4 Providence

Kansas has a very solid team with a ton of experience at this level. Agbaji is a very special player despite not having his greatest shooting performance last time out (5-14). Remy Martin led the way for them with 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists off the bench in a 79-72 win over Creighton in the round of 32. In their opener, they easily handled Texas Southern 83-56 in a team performance where nobody truly carried the load.

For Providence, they opened the tourney with a hard fought 66-57 win over South Dakota State, snapping their 21-game winning streak. Offensively, they did not play well at all, shooting 39% from the field, but defensively, they held a very good outside shooting team to 30% and 38% from the field. Providence really showed up in the round of 32, absolutely playing fantastic basketball on both sides of the court. Holding Richmond to 51 points on 39% from the field and only 1-22 from deep. On offense, they scored 79 points and shot 51% from the field, and 54% from deep on 22 attempts.

Providence is a very solid defensive team, but they will have their work cut out for them facing such a talented Kansas roster. If the team that showed up against SD State shows up, Kansas will have the game won before half time, but if the Richmond game version of Providence shows up, it could be a little more competitive. Kansas is coming off a win over Creighton who two games ago beat Providence 85-58, so beware of another potential blowout in the tournament.

10- Miami vs 11 Iowa State

Miami got red hot when it mattered, taking Duke to the absolute end in the ACC tournament. In the round of 64, they barely scraped by against USC hitting two free throws with three seconds left to escape with the victory. Leading the way for the Hurricanes was guard (Player: Isaiah Wong) 22 points. They followed this up with a dominating performance over two seed Auburn. Beating them 79-61. Isaiah Wong again led the way for them with 21 points.

Iowa State won their first matchup over LSU 59-54, in a game that was highly competitive from wire to wire. Guard Tyrese Hunter was absolutely red hot for most of this game, hitting big shot after big shot. As a team, they only shot 35% from the field against a really good defensive team. But Hunter scored 23 points on 8-13 shooting including 7 made threes on 11 attempts.

Iowa State followed that win up with another grind it out win over Wisconsin where guard Gabe Kalscheur led the way with 22 points on 10-19 shooting from the field. They played lockdown defense, holding Wisconsin to 29% from the field, and 2-22 from deep. Potential lottery pick (Player: Johnny Davis) really struggled, shooting 4-16 from the field and 0-7 from deep as the Cyclones played very good defense on him. Offensively, Iowa State also had a rough performance, but did enough to win.

Both teams have played incredible basketball while pulling off multiple gigantic upsets. Iowa State is a very solid defensive team, only allowing 51.5 points per game this year. While scoring about 65.9 per game. Miami is the opposite, as they are a much better offensive team then defensive (74.7 points for per game, 63.5 points against). This game could really go either way, as Miami smoked another great defensive team in Auburn last round. Will Iowa States defense suffer a similar fate at the hands of the red-hot Hurricanes? Will Miami be able to score points against a defense that has held three of their last five opponents to under 60.

Matchup to Watch

Both Backcourts

This should be a very intense matchup between two very good back courts. Led by Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington and Tyrese Hunter Iowa State will hope to contain Isaiah Wong and Kameron McGusty. Brockington has not shot well so far in the tournament, so look for this matchup to be one for him to break out in. He’s scored in both games, but he has been very inefficient. Hunter was incredible in the first matchup, but returned to Earth in the second game. If Iowa State hopes to keep this run going, their two leading scorers will need to be on their games. For Miami, their backcourt also are their leaders in scoring. Their back court has carried them in the tournament, with Wong going for 20+ in both games and Mcgusty going for 20 in one of two. If Iowa State can hold them in check, they will have a chance, but this matchup should be very fun to watch.

Final Four Prediction

I expect Kansas to win wire to wire, so they should be sitting pretty in the Final Four. I lean towards Iowa State to get the the Elite Eight just based on their defensive ability and tenacity. They really get after it. I also expect Brockington to finally show what he showed all season averaging over 17 a night. This game is really a coin flip that could go either way, but Iowa State is a much better defensive team so I give them an edge.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.