NCAA Tournament Preview: 1 vs. 16 Games

Story posted March 16, 2014 in CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

Virginia (28-6, 16-2 ACC ) vs. Coastal Carolina (21-12, 11-5 Big South) 

Virginia Strengths and Weaknesses

Virginia comes into the NCAA tournament as the top defense in the nation, allowing just 55.3 points per game. They’ve held opposing offenses to under 50 points nine times this season. Virginia struggles to score against better defenses on a consistent basis. The Cavaliers are ranked 294 in the nation in scoring, averaging 65.8 points per game.

Coastal Carolina Strengths and Weaknesses

The Chanticleers are one of the toughest rebounding teams in the country, averaging nearly 40 rebounds per game.Coastal Carolina struggles to find offensive production outside of its top three scorers. Elijah Wilson, Warren Gillis and Josh Cameron average 45 of the team’s 73 each game.

X-Factor: Virginia Forward Akil Mitchell

Mitchell will be battling down low with the Chanticleers big men all day long. Mitchell’s rebounding will lead to second chance opportunities and defensive stops for the Cavaliers.

Arizona (30-4,15-3 Pac-12) vs. Weber State (19-11, 14-6 Big Sky)

Arizona Strengths and Weaknesses

Arizona may be one of the most deep teams in the nation, housing seven players with 21 or more minutes played for game. Wildcats are a poor outside shooting team, shooting just 35.6 percent from beyond the arc this season. That’s good enough for only 119 in the nation.

Weber State Strengths and Weaknesses

Weber State comes into the tournament as the 20th best shooting team in the nation, shooting 48.1 percent from the field. The Wildcats, who play in the Big Sky, have no marquee wins under their belt this season. The team went 0-4 against teams in the RPI Top 150 this season.

X-Factor: Airzona Guard Nick Johnson

Johnson will be charged with guarding Weber State shooters all afternoon. If he’s able to shut out Weber State’s top scorers, Arizona will dominate from start to finish.

Florida (32-2, 18-0 SEC) vs. Albany/Mount Saint Mary's

Florida Strength and Weaknesses

The Gators are possibly the most complete team in all of the tournament. They’re ranked third in the nation in defensive scoring and have a potent enough offense to carry them deep. Florida hasn’t proven that they’re the best team in the nation outside of the SEC. The Gators have gone just 3-2 against the RPI Top 25 this season.

X-Factor: Florida's 26 game winning streak

It’s tough for a team to be hotter than Florida is coming into the NCAA tournament. Florida hasn’t lost a game since December 2, 2013.

Wichita State (34-0, 18-0 Missouri Valley) vs. Cal Poly/Texas Southern

Wichita State Strengths and Weaknesses

Wichita St is the one No. 1 seed to have final four experience. Last year’s Final Four appearance will go a long way in favor of the Shockers in 2014. Wichita St, while undefeated in the regular season, has yet to play an RPI Top 25 team this year, and played just three games within the Top 50. Lack of tough teams may be the Shockers downfall.

X-Factor: Sophomore Guard Fred Van Vleet

Fred Van Vleet, Sophomore Guard- VanVleet, a 5-11 guard who saw a ton of minutes in 2014, averages over 12 points a game on nearly 50 percent shooting. He’ll be called upon to be the facilitator for the Shockers in 2014, setting up the offense and scoring when needed.

Tyler Zulli is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email