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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Kentucky rolls in South, Draymond Green carries Spartans in West region of 2012 NCAA Tournament

South Region

Most impressive team?
Yes, it’s boring to say the No. 1 seed is the most impressive. But Kentucky, in convincing fashion, beat an underrated Iowa State team that arguably played its best basketball of the season.

Everybody questions whether Kentucky has the experience to win a national championship. But all signs point to the Wildcats cruising to the Big Easy.

Least impressive team
It goes without saying that Duke simply choked. Duke lived and died by the 3-pointer all season, and on Friday night, it died for good. Give Lehigh University credit for pulling off one of the greatest upsets in tournament history.

But Duke was playing its worst basketball of the season entering the tournament, and it carried over into one of the biggest collapses of the season.

Best player?
Freshman Kentucky guard Marquis Teague has vastly cured the turnover woes that plagued him early this season. He averaged 18 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers in UK’s two tournament games. You’d be hard-pressed to find a point guard in America playing as well as Teague is right now.

What happened in the first two rounds

No. 15 Lehigh’s upset of No. 2 Duke stole the headlines in the South Region. No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth University appeared poised to pull off another Cinderella run after it knocked off No. 5 Wichita State in the opening round but fell to No. 4 Indiana in round 32. No. 10 Xavier worked its way into the Sweet 16 despite the tumble that ensued after the brawl against Cincinnati earlier in the season.

What to expect in the next two rounds
The Indiana-Kentucky rematch is one that has already generated more national hype than any other Sweet 16 game. Kentucky will seek revenge after junior forward Christian Watford’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Wildcats their only regular-season loss. Expect Kentucky forwards Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis to have much more prominent roles in the outcome of this one.

A couple squads that spent time in the top 10 will square off in the other game. No. 3 Baylor arrived at this point without highly-touted forward Perry Jones III, thanks to the 22 points per game from sophomore guard Brady Heslip. No. 10 Xavier has rattled off a couple nice tournament wins, but don’t be surprised if Heslip fuels another Baylor win.

A Kentucky-Baylor matchup would feature more athleticism than some NBA games. With the way the Wildcats have locked down on defense this season, don’t expect them to let up on a Baylor squad that has never faced a team with as many offensive and defensive weapons as Kentucky.West Region

West Region

Most impressive team?
The Golden Eagles might have the best one-two punch in the country in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. The duo led an attack that squashed Brigham Young University’s momentum after the comeback win in the first round. Then Marquette knocked off a Murray State squad that had lost only once all season. With Missouri out of the picture in the Sweet 16 matchup, the Golden Eagles could continue to fly high.

Least impressive team?
This was more like a No. 1 seed losing to a No. 16 seed. All the accolades Frank Haith received for the job he did at Missouri this year were quickly forgotten when his squad forgot to show up against No. 15 Norfolk State.

Sadly enough, Mizzou didn’t shoot poorly. But the Tigers did not come ready to play on the defensive side of the ball, which allowed Norfolk State to pull off the shocker of the tournament.

Best player?
The most valuable player in America has played each of Michigan State’s first two NCAA Tournament games as if they were his last. The Big Ten Player of the Year willed his team past Saint Louis to get to the Sweet 16.

It’s hard to imagine Sparty without Green because of the way he plays every position on the court. Simply put, Green can do everything on the basketball floor — even clean it.

What happened in the first two rounds
No. 7 Florida, a team many thought wouldn’t make it out of the first round, is in the Sweet 16 after wins of 26 and 34 points. The 34-point victory came against No. 15 Lehigh, which shocked the world by upsetting No. 2 Missouri in the second round. Just another Sweet 16 for Rick Pitino, whose No. 4 Cardinals squeaked out two single-digit wins.

What to expect in the next two rounds
In a battle of two powerhouse programs, No. 1 Michigan State will take on No. 4 Louisville in what is sure to be a well-coached game.

No. 3 Marquette and No. 7 Florida are both playing their best basketball of the season right now. Florida won convincingly in these opening rounds, but both wins came against double-digit seeds. Expect Crowder and Johnson-Odom to continue to be matchup nightmares and give the Gators fits.

It’s hard to picture Green’s collegiate career ending in anything but a run to the Final Four. As well as Marquette has played in the first couple rounds, it still doesn’t have anyone who can contain a player like Green.

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