South Regional Sweet 16

Kentucky's revenge? South Regional Sweet 16 preview

3/23/12 in NCAABB   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

The conversation around the NCAA Tournament has been focused on it being a tournament of Kentucky and then everyone else. If anyone can down the No. 1 Wildcats, it might be their Sweet 16 opponent, Indiana. Here are previews of Friday's games from Atlanta.

No. 3 Baylor Bears vs. No. 10 Xavier Musketeers, South Regional at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Friday, March 23, 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

Second Round: No. 3 Baylor defeated No. 14 South Dakota State, 68-60.
Third Round: No. 3 Baylor defeated No. 11 Colorado, 80-63.
Second Round: No. 10 Xavier defeated No. 7 Notre Dame, 67-63.
Third Round: No. 10 Xavier defeated No. 15 Lehigh, 70-58.

For the third consecutive game Baylor (29-7) will be playing a team with a double-digit seed, which is good news for the Bears, whose only losses this season came to teams with single-digit seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bears survived a bit of a scare from No. 14 seed South Dakota State in the second round, before trouncing the Pac-12 Tournament champion Buffaloes in the third round. 

One troubling sign for the Bears in their first two games is that star forward Perry Jones III has just nine total points in two games this tournament. If the Bears are going to go much further in the tournament, they will need better play from Jones. 

Xavier (23-12) got off to a great start this seasons, but sputtered a bit after an ugly brawl with rival Cincinnati early in the season, but now they have found their way to the Sweet 16. Still, neither team they have beaten in the tournament is nearly as good as Baylor, so the Musketeers will have to up their game.

Xavier's success begins with guard Tu Holloway, who is averaging 23 points per game in the tournament, as well as center Kenny Frease, who had 25 points and 12 rebounds the Xavier's third-round win over Lehigh.

No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers, South Regional at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Friday, March 23, 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

Second Round: No. 1 Kentucky defeated No. 16 Western Kentucky, 81-66.
Third Round: No. 1 Kentucky defeated No. 8 Iowa State, 87-71.
Second Round: No. 4 Indiana defeated No. 13 New Mexico State, 79-66.
Third Round: No. 4 Indiana defeated No. 12 VCU, 63-61.

Only two teams beat Kentucky (34-2) all season--and one of them will be taking the court against the Wildcats Friday. Indiana (27-8) handed Kentucky its only regular-season loss back in December on Christian Watford's buzzer-beating three pointer in Bloomington. 

After that the Wildcats didn't lose again until the SEC Tournament Championship Game. It's easy to see why, with a couple freshman studs like Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Now, it seems to be Kentucky's tournament to lose--and back-to-back routs in the first two rounds games has done nothing to dispel that notion.

Having only beaten No. 13 and No. 12 seeds, Indiana will obviously have to raise it's game against the Wildcats--especially with Kentucky hungry for revenge. 

The Hoosiers only barely squeezed by a feisty VCU squad in the third round, and if they hope to have a shot at a second win over Kentucky they will need big games from Watford and freshman forward Cody Zeller.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview