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Tag Archive | "2012 Final Four Picks"

2012 Sweet 16 Teams in the Most Trouble by Region – NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview

2012 Sweet 16 Teams in the Most Trouble by Region – NCAA Tournament Betting: With as unpredictable as the NCAA tournament has become, any team that has survived to make the Sweet 16 still has a fighting chance to make a run to the Final Four and beyond. However, that doesn’t mean that certain teams aren’t facing a much tougher road than others. Whether it be injuries, tough matchups or whatever else, each region of the NCAA tournament bracket has one team that will have to deal with some serious adversity in order to make it to New Orleans.

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2012 Sweet 16 South Region Team in the Most Trouble

No. 7 Xavier: Yes, the Musketeers were ranked in the top 10 nationally at one point this season, and yes, Tu Holloway is one of the better all-around guards in the country. However, the same weaknesses that caused Xavier to tumble out of the top 25 and on to the NCAA tournament bubble still exist, even though the Musketeers have rallied to reach the Sweet 16. Holloway and backcourt mate Mark Lyons have been a rollercoaster ride all season, dominating one night and struggling from the field the next. That type of inconsistent shooting, especially from Xavier’s two best players, isn’t conducive to a deep tournament run. More importantly, the Musketeers have been overpowered and undermanned in the paint all season, and with the likes of Perry Jones III, Cody Zeller and Anthony Davis still alive in the South Region, Xavier is going to have its hands full.

2012 Sweet 16 West Region Team in the Most Trouble

No. 3 Marquette: Every coaching legend has to get their start somewhere, and Marquette’s Buzz Williams certainly has the personality to do great things. That being said, the other three coaches in the West Region are Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan. Not only have all three reached the Final Four multiple times, but all three have national titles on their coaching resume. Granted, the Golden Eagles have a dynamic scoring duo in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, but they are a fast-paced team that can struggle when the game slows down and is played in the half court. Unfortunately for Marquette, the pace of the game always slows down in March, and games that go down to the wire are part of the territory. In a tight game, the edge has to go to the teams led by experienced and battle-tested coaches, especially when they are some of the greatest coaches in the game today.

2012 Sweet 16 East Region Team in the Most Trouble

No. 2 Ohio State: On one hand, Ohio State has an excellent starting five. The Buckeyes have a lockdown defender in point guard Aaron Craft, and they have three players averaging more than 15 points per game in Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas and William Buford. On the other hand, the Buckeyes don’t have much depth, they don’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter, and they struggle against physical defenses. Looking at the East Region, Ohio State first has to find a way to deal with a very physical Cincinnati defense in an in-state rivalry game. If the Buckeyes get past the Bearcats, they are looking at either a rubber match against Wisconsin or a meeting with the Syracuse 2-3 zone that will expose their lack of 3-point shooting. Either way, Ohio State is looking at a couple of tough matchups.

2012 Sweet 16 Midwest Region Team in the Most Trouble

No. 1 North Carolina: With one awkward fall by point guard Kendall Marshall, the Tarheels went from a favorite to win the national title to a team with a lot of question marks. While North Carolina still has Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, James McAdoo and a banged-up John Henson in the frontcourt, Marshall is the lasted in a long line of injuries to the team’s backcourt. A big part of North Carolina’s offense is its fast pace and ability to get easy baskets in transition. With Marshall either out or greatly limited, that aspect of the offense is compromised. Completely changing styles of play in the middle of the NCAA tournament won’t be easy, but the Tarheels are likely going to have to figure out how to be successful as mainly a half court team. It may be asking too much, even from a team with as much talent as North Carolina.

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2012 Sweet 16 Sleepers to Reach the Final Four by Region – NCAA Tournament Predictions

2012 Sweet 16 Sleepers to Reach the Final Four by Region – NCAA Tournament Predictions: Upsets and March Madness go hand in hand. After all, the 2008 NCAA tournament is the only year since the field expanded to 64 teams that all four No. 1 seed made it to the Final Four. Recent seasons have seen underdogs thrive, with George Mason, Butler and VCU all making runs to the Final Four, and in Butler’s case, the national title game two years in a row. Whether or not there is a surprise team waiting to make a run to New Orleans lurking in this year’s field remains to be seen, but with Sweet 16 action set to begin Thursday, here is a potential Cinderella story from each region of the 2012 NCAA tournament bracket.

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2012 Sweet 16 South Region Sleeper to Make a Run

No. 4 Indiana: Among the victims for Indiana this season are Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State. For the record, that is a pair of No. 1 seeds and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Needless to say, the Hoosiers can beat just about any team in the country when playing up to their full potential. Led by freshman forward Cody Zeller, Indiana’s offense tends to surprise opponents with its firepower and efficiency. The problem is that all of the Hoosiers’ big wins came at Assembly Hall, and they consistently underperformed on the road at neutral sites. If Zeller and company can find a way to buck the trend, this team definitely has the talent to go all the way to New Orleans. Starting with a rematch with Kentucky, the Hoosiers are going to be a dangerous matchup until they are officially eliminated.

2012 Sweet 16 West Region Sleeper to Make a Run

No. 7 Florida: With two-time national champion coach Billy Donovan calling the shots, the Gators always seem to do their best work in March. Despite repeatedly coming up short against top competition like Ohio State and Kentucky during the regular season, Florida actually has the ingredients for success in March, starting with speed and excellent guard play. Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Bradley Beal make up one of the best backcourts in the country, and forward Patric Young provides just enough production in the paint to keep opponents honest. The Gators have a ton of perimeter firepower, and if they start knocking down 3-pointers in bunches, they could overwhelm any of the teams remaining in the West Region.

2012 Sweet 16 East Region Sleeper to Make a Run

No. 6 Cincinnati: The Bearcats were on the tournament bubble late in the year, but the momentum from a strong finish to the regular season and a run to the Big East tournament title game has carried Cincinnati to the Sweet 16. With the setup of the NCAA tournament, getting hot at the right time is often more important than having the most talent, and the Bearcats are rolling. What Cincinnati lacks in offensive firepower, it makes up for with defensive intensity. The Bearcats are physical, relentless and borderline nasty at times on the defensive end of the court. They play ugly and force their opponents to do the same. Cincinnati knows how to frustrate and disrupt its opponents, and with as well as the Bearcats are playing on defense these days, this team is going to be a very tough out.

2012 Sweet 16 Midwest Region Sleeper to Make a Run

No. 13 Ohio: Matchups are critical in the NCAA tournament, and while a road to the Final Four that features North Carolina and probably Kansas isn’t the easiest of paths, it is a path the Bobcats could potentially navigate. Led by guard D.J. Cooper, Ohio can get plenty of scoring from its backcourt, especially from beyond the arc. The Bobcats’ backcourt is also dangerous on the defensive, generating plenty of turnovers that lead to transition scoring opportunities. North Carolina is thin in the backcourt, and point guard Kendall Marshall dealing with a broken wrist. Ohio should have a big advantage at the guard positions against the Tarheels, and if the Bobcats force enough turnovers, it may not matter that they don’t have the size to defend the likes of Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes in the paint. Looking ahead, Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor is talented but sometimes turnover prone. With as many steals as the Bobcats generate, this Cinderella can’t be written off completely.

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