(4) Indiana vs. (12) VCU Preview
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
Follow @Yannis KoutroupisYannis Koutroupis
(4) Indiana Hoosiers
Without any tournament experience whatsoever, the Hoosiers managed to control any first-time jitters they may have had and eliminate New Mexico State 79-66. They were extremely efficient offensively, shooting 59 percent from the field, 53 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free throw line. The Aggies had some success against them offensively, but never could get the consecutive stops they needed to make this game interesting. Jordan Hulls was on point for the Hoosiers, scoring a game-high 22 points. Cody Zeller was solid as well, putting up 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and six steals. One of the few areas of concern for Hoosiers head coach Tom Creen is on the boards, where his team was outrebounded by one. Luckily for the Hoosiers, next up is a VCU team that anywhere near as tough to box out as the Aggies. Against the Rams the Hoosiers should look to force feed Zeller inside and make sure that they take good care of the basketball. They’ll also have to contain Burgess, whose production is vital for the Rams’ hopes of getting back to the Sweet 16.
(12)Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Although much different looking than last year’s Rams team that made it all the way to the Final Four, this year’s Rams had the same result in the second round as they advanced past Wichita State 62-59. The Rams played extremely well in the first half, using their pressure defense to build a 34-25 halftime advantage. They played with just enough poise late to weather a Shockers’ comeback attempt. Bradford Burgess came up big, which he’ll need to do all tournament long to keep his team alive, with 16 points, including a clutch three-pointer late. The Rams did a good job defensively against a quality center in Garrett Stutz, holding him to four points and seven rebounds, well below his season averages. Their interior defense will have to be even better against Indiana’s Cody Zeller, one of the best five men in the tournament. They’ll also have to do a better job of rebounding and shooting the three. The Rams settled for 23 shots from distance, only making six.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Indiana. Look for Zeller to dominate the paint and for the Hoosiers’ defense to give the Rams a hard time.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!