Maryland and Iowa patiently wait for their future and current partners to join them in a separate dance. There will be no reprise of the last time the Midwest Regionals were held in Indianapolis, as Seth Curry never gave the Spartans a chance to meet Louisville, and of course we've discussed the wonders of zone defense here already.
7:05 PM, #2 Ohio State (-5) vs. #9 Wichita State, NCAA
- Ohio State did very well on the boards against Arizona (11 OReb, .344), kept the Wildcats in check from outside (6-18), and provided plenty of help for Deshaun Thomas (LaQuinton Ross with 17, Aaron Craft with 13, Sam Thompson with 11). Wichita State is also a good rebounding team (38.1%, 17th on offense; 26.2% allowed, 11th on defense), so the Buckeyes will need a similar rebounding effort tonight.
- Perimeter defense won't be as important, though, as the Shockers are merely average from beyond the arc (33.8%, 171st). They were just 2-20 vs. Pitt and 5-12 vs. La Salle. (Gonzaga gave up 14 threes, though ...)
- Wichita State also is not a great free-throw shooting team, shooting just .695 from the line (174th). Among their starters, Carl Hall is a 2-for-3 guy (104-156), and Tekele Cotton hits just .541 (40-74).
- What the Shockers do bring is bench depth (37.3% of minutes, 45th). Eleven guys get 10% or more of available minutes, so even though Wichita State doesn't use them to push tempo (they're slightly faster than OSU, 64.9 to 64.7), Gregg Marshall will have fresh defenders on the court to shadow Thomas.
2:20 PM, #4 Michigan vs. #3 Florida (-5), NCAA
- Be honest: at about 11:20 last night, you were imagining a Michigan-FGCU matchup. The Gators took about 14 minutes of their regional semifinal off, and the Eagles were more than happy to take advantage ... but kenpom's season-long #1 team came to play in the second half and finished off the upset-minded Atlantic Sun champs.
- Of course, it should have been a Kansas-FGCU game, as the Jayhawks kept Trey Burke in check for 20 minutes, then decided they'd see what happened if they gave him a chance to steal the game.
- Florida will present a serious challenge for Michigan's perimeter defense: they hit 38.1% of their threes (23rd), take 40.1% of their attempts from three (31st), and score 34.6% of their points from there (31st).
- Naturally, the interior defense will be important too, as Florida's accuracy from inside the arc is better than Michigan's (54.6%, 8th).
- Like OSU, Michigan will be facing a team that doesn't shoot free throws well. The Gators shoot just .677 (225th). Patric Young will not be on the floor late, as he hits just .504 from the line; Scottie Wilbekin is the next guy to foul, shooting .695 from the stripe. (He did hit 7-8 vs. FGCU and 7-10 vs. Minnesota.)
- It will be interesting to watch Mitch McGary battle Erik Murphy inside. The freshman faces his third straight marquee matchup, and he came off pretty well in the first two: 24 points and 14 boards vs. Juvonte Reddic (who was limited by foul trouble), and 25 points and 14 boards last night against Jeff Withey. Murphy, Young, and Will Yeguete will have to work to limit McGary's offensive rebounds; the only non-post player on Michigan with an OReb above 2.5% is Glenn Robinson III (7.6%), so with McGary sure to get the bulk of the low-post minutes, keeping McGary boxed out will limit Michigan's second-chance opportunities.