Blog Entry

Southeast Regional Preview

Posted on: March 21, 2011 12:21 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 12:26 am
Posted By Matt Jones

The New Orleans Regional was supposed to be the most wide open of any of the four regions and after the first weekend, that is still the case. With No. 1 seed Pittsburgh losing to Butler, a case can be made for any of the four remaining teams ending up in the Final Four. None of the four teams provide significant matchup issues for the others and all four have the capability of beating each other in a one-game scenario. No matter what happens in New Orleans, the games there will be the hardest to forsee and thus likely, the most exciting.


Three storylines dominating New Orleans

  1. Jimmer Fredette tries to will his BYU team to the Final Four
  2. Butler seeks to prove last year was not a fluke and get to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.
  3. Florida coach Billy Donovan goes for his fourth Final four in just over a decade

How they got to New Orleans

No. 2 Florida:  The Gators have been one of the most impressive teams so far in the NCAA tournament and are playing their best basketball of the season. SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons led Florida throughout the year with his ability to score both inside and outside and hit the offensive glass. However in the last four weeks, guard Erving Walker has also stepped up and shown that not only does he want to take the big shots, he can also finish them. The Gators dominated UC-Santa Barbara in the first round, in as thorough a win as any team took in the round of 64. In the round of 32, the Gators struggled at times with UCLA, but executed down the stretch, thanks to the multitude of scoring weapons and Walker’s big play. No team in the New Orleans region has more weapons and the Gators will be the one team that can exploit advantages at its fourth and fifth options in both regional games.

No. 3 BYU:  It was unknown just how the Cougars would respond in the NCAA tournament, after the loss of Brandon Davies just two weeks prior. But BYU has answered the call and played some inspired basketball. The story with BYU will always be Jimmer Fredette, who was amazing once again in the Cougars’ round of 32 victory over Gonzaga. The win over the Zags was one of the most impressive of the tournament due to just how thorough it ended up being. Most believed that the Cougars were susceptible to a team that played physical and would try to exploit them on the interior, but BYU showcased that when its offense is clicking, defensive mismatches will not have much of an effect. They go into New Orleans with an opening game against a team they defeated last year and with a legitimate chance to overcome the late season turmoil and reach the Final Four.

No. 4 Wisconsin:  After the Badgers played so dreadfully in a 36-33 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin was considered a potential first round upset victim in the NCAA tournament. But after a convincing win over Belmont in the round of 64 and a gritty, hard-fought victory over Jacob Pullen and Kansas State, Wisconsin now moves on to New Orleans for the Southeast regional. Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer are one of the best one-two punches left in the tournament and will be difficult for any of the teams remaining in New Orleans to stop. The Badgers must however have other players step up and hit big shots to advance. Against Kansas State, Tim Jarmusz and Mike Bruesewitz both hit big shots from behind the three-point arc and it will require a repeat performance in New Orleans for Wisconsin to make a trip to Houston for the Final Four.

No. 8 Butler:  The Butler Bulldogs are as close to America’s team in college basketball right now as anyone in the sport. After two exciting, harrowing winds in Washington D.C., Butler is now on to try and make another miracle run to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. Matt Howard’s lay-up at the buzzer versus Old Dominion was the culmination of a great battle between two teams playing each other far too early in the tournament. The Bulldogs then moved on to get an impressive win over Pittsburgh in one of the better first weekend games in the past decade in the NCAA tournament. While most will remember the game for the bizarre ending, Butler had a near perfect performance throughout and showcased just how much it has improved since its rough early start to the season. Now the Bulldogs go to a regional in which there is no team it cannot beat and a Final Four is once again on the doorstep. 

New Orleans’s five best players

  1. Jimmer Fredette: The biggest star in college basketball has had an amazing season and is two games away from entering college basketball immortality.
  2. Jordan Taylor: There is no more explosive player in the country that is lesser known than the Wisconsin star who is one breakout performance away from stardom.
  3. Chandler Parsons: The SEC Player of the Year has had ups and downs in his career, but when he plays well, he is a matchup nightmare for any defender.
  4. Matt Howard: One of the best tournament players of the last 15 years. He finds a way to score in the post where it seems impossible.
  5. Jon Leuer: The Wisconsin big man is a load to handle and can step out and shoot, making him a very dangerous weapon.

This is the most wide open regional and a case can be made for any of the teams advancing. I will pick the Florida Gators, only because they have the most variety of weapons and are thus best suited to withstand a bad game by one of their star players. I look for Florida to play Wisconsin in the regional final and get the victory to send Billy Donovan to yet another Final Four.

More NCAA tournament coverage

Since: Mar 25, 2011
Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:09 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

You're telling me because they had a few bad games like some other big conference teams did this year that wisconsin would have their way with Butler.  Guess you ate your words on that one.  Although Wisconsin did try and make a comeback Butler is just too hot right now.  They have plenty of tournament experience and would not be surprised to see them in the Final Four.  By the way they played a great game in the Horizon Championship, I don't know what game you were watching.  Oh i know it was Wisconsin with a high school score in the Big ten tournament.

Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 7:45 am

Southeast Regional Preview

That must make your Panthers a Jr. High team, because they got absolutely man handled in the championship game. Did you miss the ODU (RPI 0f 20) and Pitt (#1 seed) games?  Apparently you have a different definition of 'sucks.'  Either that, or you're still bitter about not being able to get into Butler.  Go Dogs!

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2011 6:56 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

Bo Ryan and the Badgers have the upper hand in this game. You see, Ryan has an ace in the hole no one is talking about. His name is Rob Jeter, Ryan's old assistant and friend who coaches UW-Milwaukee, who beat Butler 2 out of 3 times this year. Hmmm, I wonder if they have been talking since Sunday? You better believe they have!

Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:54 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

I also saw Butler lose on last second shot at Xavier-->  Easily beat Florida St. and Washington State (on neutral court).  AND until Mack got hurt in Duke game--> Butler was going back and forth with them.  In addition, they beat Stanford at home by 40 pts.. However, they did hit a wall where Nored was an offensive liability bc of turnovers..  With that said, they haven't lost in last 11 games since having Nored come off bench.. we shall see what happens on Thursday night.

Go Butler

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:01 am

Southeast Regional Preview

mahon,I agree with your last line each team seems to be pretty capable... because they can all play good defense.  Taking the Badgers last game for example we just saw having a guy put 38 pts on the board (Pullen) doesn't guarantee a win when the opponents D (UW) virtually shuts down everyone else.  On the flip side, UW overcame a 2/16 shooting day from their biggest scorer in the backcourt and absorbed (quite literally it seemed) every punch KSU could dish out en route to a hard-fought win.  Butler certainly brings the same type of character. Should be a great game.  BYU - FL should be tight too (I picked BYU, but could actually see a scenario like WI-KSU if FL can shut down Jimmers supporting cast pretty well).  But what do I know, I've already shredded my bracket after shamefully picking KSU to beat WI...and Butler...and BYU!!! -Yeesh Embarassed.  Picked the wrong region to take a flier in. 

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:05 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

I have personal and family allegiance to both BYU and Wisconsin, and have followed both teams closely all year. Throughout the season, we have frequently discussed what would happen if the Badgers and Cougars met on the court. Now, we will be cheering loudly on Thursday for the chance to find out. Both teams will need to play their best against outstanding opponents in order to advance, but if they do, the outcome on Saturday will largely depend on who is able to control the tempo of the game and play the best defense. Either way, the game will not be a blow-out. This may be the most wide-open of all the regionals, which essentially means that all 4 teams have a legitimate shot at making it to the final 4.

Since: Feb 8, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:01 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

haha can't wait until you're proven wrong. BYU in the final four? they can't ride the jimmer train forever.

Since: Oct 5, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 7:45 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

I love it.  Your comments demonstrate that you know absolutely nothing about Wisconsin basketball.  Just like so many of the so-called experts.  BYU will blow them away!  What a joke.  Every one of the upcoming games is likely to be close because all of these teams are reasonably solid and obviously playing well to be in the sweet 16.  In close games, I like Wisconsin's chances against anyone left in the field.

Since: Jun 26, 2010
Posted on: March 22, 2011 7:34 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

As a BYU Alum and a college sports fan, it's difficult to go against the Cougs but they may have the right mix at the right time to once again beat Florida.  Yes, Florida is better this year than last, but so is BYU and it might be another nail biter!
I just had a memorable experience at the Rose Bowl this past New Years Day with tousands of disappointed Wisconsin fans.  I hope to have the same experience again as little Butler brings it "on Wisconsin." And hopefully the Wisconsin band will show up and entertain Butler with the 5th Qtr.  It was awesome!  Nobody does it better - losing that is.
If BYU beats Florida and Butler leaves Wisonsin in the dust... BYU will eek it out.  If Wisconsin wins, BYU will blow them away.
I picked BYU as a final four team Beating Florida and Butler in my bracket!!
They are all winners!!

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 2:29 pm

Southeast Regional Preview

Worry not my friend.  There guards are short, Howard is guardable.  Neither are stephan curry.  I'd rather play Butler than Northwestern.

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