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(4) Saint Louis vs. (12) Oregon
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 23, 2013 @ 12:22 am In NCAA | No Comments
(4) Saint Louis Billikens
Few questions regarding the NCAA Tournament have been asked as much as is Saint Louis for real? The winners of the Atlantic-10 regular season and conference tournament looked as legitimate as anybody on Thursday, convincingly eliminating New Mexico State 64-44. Dwayne Evans led the way for Billikens, pouring in a game-high 24 points. Collectively, the Billikens had three players in double figures and had 17 assists on 25 made field goals. The Billikens were outrebounded by the Aggies, who grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, by 11. However, when you hold the opposition to 17-61 shooting like the Billikens did to the Aggies, you’re going to give up some offensive rebounds. Still, they’re going to need to improve their work on the glass against a big and athletic Ducks team in the Round of 32. The Ducks are turnover prone, something the Billikens have to look to capitalize on. If they can create easy offense from their defense, they’ll be in a great position to keep their winning streak alive and move onto the Sweet 16.
(12) Oregon Ducks
One of the biggest surprises on Selection Sunday was that the Ducks were only a 12 seed in the eyes of the committee. They played every bit like a team deserving of a higher seed in their opening game against Oklahoma State, knocking off the Cowboys 68-55. The Ducks contained the Cowboys’ backcourt of Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, holding them to a combined 11-29 shooting from the field. Freshmen guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson really rose to the challenge and made life tough for Smart and Brown on both ends of the floor. Equally as important, the Ducks beat the Cowboys up on the boards, outrebounding them by 14. Senior forward Arsalan Kazemi really anchored their effort on the glass, grabbing six offensive boards and 17 total to go along with his 11 points. Carlos Emory nearly had a double-double himself, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds. Their defense will really be tested against a balanced and red hot St. Louis team. They should have a rebounding advantage against them, though, and if their defense stays up to par, they have a chance to advance to the Sweet 16. Where they will get in trouble is if they allow a lot of points off of turnovers.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Saint Louis. The Billikens will battle inside, be opportunistic defensively, efficient offensively and earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
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