HOOPSWORLD’s 2011 Tourney Preview
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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The 2011 NCAA Tournament is officially underway! The selection show is in the books and we now know who the newly-expanded field of 68 consists of. Records and statistics are now all out the window. It’s all about who plays the best from here on out. The four teams who play the best will end up in Houston for the 2011 Final Four.
This year’s top seeds are highlight by the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes along with the Duke Blue Devils, Pittsburgh Panthers and Kansas Jayhawks. They’ll look to make this only the second year ever where all top seeds advance to Final Four. There are 64 teams who have something else in mind, though.
This page serves as HOOPSWORLD’s headquarters for 2011 March Madness. Here you’ll be able to find our complete 68-team preview along with round-by-round analysis and previews. So, make sure to bookmark it and comeback frequently because it will be updated regularly. You’ll also want to keep up to date with our college page, where we’ll have additional analysis that includes breakdowns from an NBA draft point of view and a coach’s perspective.
Elite Eight – And then there were four. The Final Four is set and believe it or not there are no top seeds in the field. Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, Kentucky and UConn will go at it next week in Houston and by Monday night we will know who our national champion is. Below are our previews for Saturday’s Final Four contests.
(3) UConn Huskies vs. (4) Kentucky Wildcats
(8) Butler Bulldogs vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Sweet 16, Day Two - The first two games of the day really lacked competitiveness but the nightcap games really helped make up for it. For the second-straight night we saw a top seed get eliminated, leaving the Kansas Jayhawks as the only top seed in the Elite Eight, which gets underway tomorrow. Friday’s top performers include Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, UK’s Josh Harrellson, UNC’s entire frontline and Bradford Burgess of VCU. Below are our previews for Sunday’s Elite Eight games.
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (4) Kentucky Wildcats
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Sweet 16, Day One - We won’t be seeing a repeat of last year’s NCAA Tournament as the Duke Blue Devils have been eliminated by the Arizona Wildcats in convincing fashion. We will be seeing the Butler Bulldogs back in the Elite Eight, though, which certainly surprises many. Thursday’s top performers include UConn’s Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker along with Alex Tyus of Florida. Below are previews for the two match ups set for the Elite Eight on Saturday.
(2) Florida Gators vs. (8) Butler Bulldogs
(3) UConn Huskies vs. (5) Arizona Wildcats
Round of 32, Day Two - The Sweet 16 is now set and if you had a 12 seed, two 11 seeds and 10 seed still being alive then you need to send us your résumé because talent like that deserves a paycheck. We’ll now see the tournament take a three-day break before action resumes on Thursday. Sunday’s top performers include the Morris twins of Kansas, Ohio State’s David Lighty, Derrick Williams of Arizona and Duke’s Nolan Smith. Below are the final five previews for the Sweet 16.
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (12) Richmonds Spiders
(2)North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (11)Marquette Golden Eagles
(10) Florida State Seminoles vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Round of 32, Day One - Another thrilling day of NCAA tournament action is in the books. We found out that the Butler Bulldogs are still magical in March and that a foul is a foul, no matter what the situation is. Players of the day include UConn’s Kemba Walker, Butler’s Shelvin Mack, Jimmer Fredette of BYU and Florida’s Irving Walker. Below you can find previews for the three match ups that are set for the Sweet 16.
(2) San Diego State Aztecs vs. (3) UConn Huskies
Round Two, Day Two – The fantastic action from day one was not easy to follow, but day two was really thrilling in it’s own right. There were a couple more upsets with some very competitive games along with the return of one of the top freshmen in the country. Amongst the top performers were UNC’s big men Tyler Zeller and Jon Henson, Texas’ Tristan Thompson, Derrick Williams of Arizona and VCU’s Brandon Rozzell. Below are our previews for Sunday’s Round of 32 action.
(1) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (8) George Mason Patriots
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (9) Illinois Fighting Illini
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (8) Michigan Wolverines
(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (10) Florida State Seminoles
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (7) Washington Huskies
(3) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams
(4) Texas Longhorns vs. (5) Arizona Wildcats
Round Two, Day One – As always day one of the tournament delivered. It was a thrilling day that saw a few upsets along with some convincing performances. The top performers of the day include UConn’s Kemba Walker, Richmond’s Kevin Anderson and SDSU’s Kawhi Leonard. Here are our previews for the match ups that are set for Saturday’s Round of 32 action.
(1) Pittsburgh Panthers vs. (8) Butler Bulldogs
(2) San Diego State Aztecs vs. (7) Temple Owls
East Region – If this is what Ohio State gets as the top overall seed in the tournament, they may have been better off losing a couple games at the end of the season. This is definitely the toughest region with several teams capable of winning it outside of the Buckeyes. Games in this region will start out being played in Cleveland, Tampa, and Charlotte then conclude in Newark.
(1) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (16) UT-San Antonio Roadrunners/Alabama State Hornets
(2) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (15) Long Island Blackbirds
(3) Syracuse Orange vs. (14) Indiana State Sycamores
(4) Kentucky Wildcats vs. (13) Princeton Tigers
(5) West Virginia vs. (12) Alabama-Birmingham Blazers/Clemson Tigers
(6) Xavier Musketeers vs. (11) Marquette Golden Eagles
(7) Washington Huskies vs. (10) Georgia Bulldogs
(8) George Mason Patriots vs. (9) Villanova Wildcats
West Region – There are some very good teams in this region, but Duke has the biggest target on their back of all. Connecticut may be the hottest team going into the tournament, while San Diego State has a big chip on their shoulder. Action starts off in Charlotte, Tulsa, Washington DC, and Tucson while finishing up in Anaheim.
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (16) Hampton Pirates
(4) Texas Longhorns vs. (13) Oakland Golden Grizzlies
(5) Arizona Wildcats vs. (12) Memphis Tigers
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (11) Missouri Tigers
(7) Temple Owls vs. (10) Penn State Nittany Lions
(8) Michigan Wolverines vs. (9) Tennessee Volunteers
Southeast Region – The mid major talent in this region is very strong with Butler, Old Dominion, Gonzaga and BYU. It’ll be interesting to see them matchup if they pull off any upsets. The high major schools are no slouches themselves, with the likes of Pittsburgh, Florida UCLA, Michigan State, Kansas State and Wisconsin. Early on action will go down in Washington DC, Tucson, Denver and Tampa while wrapping up in New Orleans.
(1) Pittsburgh Panthers vs. (16) North Carolina-Asheville/Arkansas-Little Rock
(2) Florida Gators vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
(3) BYU Cougars vs. (11) Wofford Terriers
(4) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (13) Belmont Bruins
(5) Kansas State Wildcats vs. (12) Utah State Aggies
(6) Saint John’s Red Storm vs. (11) Gonzaga Bulldogs
(7) UCLA Bruins vs. (10) Michigan State Spartans
(8) Butler Bulldogs vs. (9) Old Dominion Monarchs
Southwest Region – The Kansas Jayhawks are hands down the favorite in this region, but the same was the case last year when they didn’t make it past the Round of 32. There is definitely some stiff competition for them, highlighted by Notre Dame, Louisville, Purdue and Georgetown. To start games will be played in Tulsa, Denver and Chicago before moving onto San Antonio.
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (16) Boston Terriers
(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (15) Akron Zips
(3) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (14) Saint Peter’s Peacocks
(4) Louisville Cardinals vs. (13) Morehead State Eagles
(5) Vanderbilt Commodores vs. (12) Richmond Spiders
(6) Georgetown Hoyas vs. (11) USC Trojans/Virginia Commonwealth Rams
(7) Texas A&M Aggies vs. (10) Florida State Seminoles
(8) UNLV Running Rebels vs. (9) Illinois Fighting Illini
HOOPSWORLD’s 2011 March Madness previews were written by senior NCAA analysts Yannis Koutroupis and Luke Byrnes. 2011 March Madness coverage is sponsored by the United States Marines.