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March 29, 2008
Bracket Breakdown
Sweet 16, Day Two

by Ken Pomeroy


Sadly, there was no late-game suspense last night. I don't know that a whole lot of analysis of Bloodbath Friday is needed, but let's give it a shot, anyway...

(2) Texas 82, (3) Stanford 62 [65 possessions]

Despite the unexpected margin of victory, a few things went according to form. Both teams committed few turnovers--Stanford 10 and Texas just six. Both teams had a field day on the offensive boards. The difference was in the shooting department, where the Cardinal made ten fewer shots than Texas while having the same number of attempts. Stanford was within one after a three-pointer by Landry Fields at the 12:54 mark of the second half. They would proceed to miss their next 10 shots which fueled a 20-3 Texas run and the lopsided final.

(10) Davidson 73, (3) Wisconsin 56 [54]

I couldn't understand how the four-plus days each team had to prepare somehow benefited Bo Ryan more than his counterpart in this one. It's as if people thought Bob McKillop was just going to tour landmarks in southeast Michigan this week and not game plan. Davidson's run will likely end against Kansas on Sunday, but it's probably not going to end easily. Over and over, Davidson has caused problems for quality opponents this season, so if you're expecting a blowout, you'll probably be disappointed. The Wildcats were given no favors with their draw and yet they'll be playing for a Final Four appearance after averaging more than 1.2 points per possession in their first three games. If they should fail to make it to San Antonio, at least remember this about the '08 Davidson club: no team has shredded a Wisconsin defense over the past two seasons like Davidson did last night.

(1) Kansas 72, (12) Villanova 57 [66]

If you saw Kansas' win over UNLV, you basically saw this game, too. It was another easy win without the drama of a flurry of points over any one stretch of the game. Sure, they Jayhawks closed the first half on a 13-1 "run", but they took more than seven minutes to do it. This was another smothering KU defensive effort. Villanova went 3-for-17 from three-point range, but if these Wildcats are using the odd sightlines of Ford Field as their excuse, it's a stretch. Teams collectively shot 34.9% from three-point range on Friday, which is right around the national average and consistent with past shooting in domes.

(1) Memphis 92, (5) Michigan State 74 [68]

It's not often you see a team go on a 17-0 in the second half and still never get any closer than 14 points. That's what Michigan State did in this one after falling behind 50-20 at the break and rendering the entire second half garbage time. The single biggest reason (and there were lots of them) that the Memphis offense was so efficient was that they got to the line 35 times, making 26 free throws. Defensively, Antonio Anderson made Drew Neitzel's last game as a Spartan a miserable experience.

So it's come to this. All the one-seeds are still alive and three of them look indestructible. The fourth, UCLA, gets a break by playing Xavier for its Final Four ticket as opposed to Louisville or Texas. Log5 analysis says there's now a 23.1% chance of all four one-seeds winning this weekend. In reality, the chances are significantly higher. The bottom line is that these are desperate times. We faced similar circumstances last season and survived. Now it is up to people like Andre McGee, Max Paulhus-Gosselin, Jason Love and Damion James to preserve the madness that has historically been March. Good luck, guys. You're going to need some.

Ken Pomeroy is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Ken by clicking here or click here to see Ken's other articles.

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