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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 22, 2010

NCAA hoops: Capsules for the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament

By Mike Huguenin


All times EDT.



In Syracuse, N.Y.
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 11 Washington

TIME: 7:27 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: Washington needs to force the tempo to have any chance at its third consecutive upset. The Huskies can hurt WVU in transition, but they are going to have trouble scoring inside if they’re forced to play a half-court game. For the second game in a row, the main job for WVU’s guards will be to withstand defensive pressure and get the ball inside to a standout frontcourt.

No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Cornell

TIME: 9:57 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: Cornell eviscerated the defenses of Temple and Wisconsin to get here, and those teams are more defense-oriented than Kentucky. But the Wildcats are better offensively — vastly better — than the Owls and Badgers. Cornell should get its points, but there doesn’t seem to be any way the Big Red can slow the Wildcats.


In Salt Lake City
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 5 Butler

TIME: 7:07 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: The biggest storyline will be whether Syracuse center Arinze Onuaku will be healthy. Butler can’t run with the Orange, so look for the Bulldogs to try to control the pace. That’s hard to do against the Orange. But consider: Syracuse was held under 70 points three times this season and the Orange lost twice (to Louisville both times). The other game was a 59-57 win at DePaul when the Blue Demons fell apart down the stretch. The flipside: Butler allowed 70 points just three times this season — and lost all three (to Minnesota, Clemson and Georgetown).

No. 2 Kansas State vs. No. 6 Xavier

TIME: 9:37 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: Both teams prefer a fast pace not surprising, considering that both have good guards but K-State is better defensively. While the guards are the focal points for each team, the frontcourt battle will be worth watching. Xavier’s Jason Love and Jamel McLean going against K-State’s Jamar Samuels and Curtis Kelly actually could have more impact on the outcome than the play of the backcourts. Speaking of backcourts, let’s hope both coaches decide that K-State’s Jacob Pullen should guard Xavier’s Jordan Crawford and vice versa.



In Houston
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 10 Saint Mary’s

TIME: 7:27 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: For a mid-major Saint Mary’s certainly has good size, and the Gales have had two good matchups so far - against guard-oriented Richmond and Villanova. Baylor is guard-oriented, too, with Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn. But the Bears have something that Richmond and ’Nova don’t: They have a standout center in Ekpe Udoh. Saint Mary’s has survived two quick backcourts so far. Can the Gaels survive another? And the Udoh-Omar Samhan showdown should be a good one.

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 Purdue

TIME: 9:57 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: Duke is looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 2006, and it will be doing so against an undermanned Purdue team. Even without star Robbie Hummel, the Boilermakers got past defense-challenged Siena in the first round and offense-challenged Texas A&M in the second round. Now comes Duke, which is a well-rounded team. But, hey, if Chris Kramer can score 17 points in one game, anything can happen for Purdue.


In St. Louis
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Tennessee

TIME: 7:07 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: This region has opened up with Kansas’ shocking departure. Can either of these teams take advantage? Ohio State runs a four-guard offense and lacks both big men and depth. But the Buckeyes have Evan Turner leading the way. Tennessee rarely looks pretty when it wins, but the Vols have done a lot of winning this season. Expect Vols coach Bruce Pearl to concoct some off-beat defenses to try to deter Turner. Neither team is overpowering on the boards, so that bears watching.

No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 9 Northern Iowa

TIME: 9:37 p.m.
QUICKIE ANALYSIS: On the face of it, your first thought probably is, “Northern Iowa beating Mr. March himself, Tom Izzo, and the Spartans? Come on.” Then you sit back and realize that if UNI can beat Kansas, the Panthers can beat anyone. And then you think back to 2006, when George Mason beat Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut on the way to the Final Four. Besides, will Michigan State star Kalin Lucas be healthy and able to play?