NCAA Tournament Preview: 2 vs. 15 Games
Kansas (24-9, 14-4 Big 12) vs Eastern Kentucky (24-9, 11-5 Ohio Valley)
Kansas Strengths and Weaknesses
Kansas is an extremely talented team top to bottom. Depth starting with Big 12 Freshman of the Year Andrew Wiggins through Jamari Traylor, talent is abundant. Part of that depth is freshman center Joel Embiid, however, his health issues highlight Kansas' biggest weakness. If Embiid isn’t healthy, Kansas is in trouble.
Eastern Kentucky Strengths and Weaknesses
Eastern Kentucky is very talented offensively because of the way they spread the ball. EKU is 55th in the country in assists and 28th in the country in scoring offense. However, the Colonels are one of the worst rebounding teams in the country at 350th in the nation.
X-Factor: Kansas Center Tarik Black
With Embiid out, Black has to step up as a viable post presence and prove Kansas can survive without the freshman center.
Villanova (28-4, 16-2 Big East) vs UW-Milwaukee (21-13, 7-9 Horizon League)
Villanova Strengths and Weaknesses
Nova has solid ball movement, leading to quick and easy baskets. The Wildcats are 20th in the country in assists, getting James Bell and Darrun Hilliard II good looks. The main weakness for Nova is its of big time wins as the only wins over ranked opponents (at the time) are Kansas and Iowa.
UW-Milwaukee Strengths and Weaknesses
Milwaukee hit a hot streak at the right time with a five game winning streak led by improved offense. Four players finished the season in double digit scoring. Even with that though, Milwaukee doesn’t rank in the top 100 in any major offensive categories.
X-Factor: Milwaukee Gaurd Jordan Aaron
Aaron led the Panthers improved offense in the Horizon League tournament, scoring 16 points or more in each contest and could spark gritty Milwaukee team in their first NCAA tournament game since 2006.
Wisconsin (26-7, 12-6 Big Ten) vs American (20-12, 13-5 Patriot League)
Wisconsin Strengths and Weaknesses
The Badgers are one of the most balanced teams in the country, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, their lack of a true post presence. Frank Kaminsky is a talented big man with a good mid-range game, but not a true presence in the post.
American strengths and weaknesses
American is very efficient offensively entering the tournament at seventh in the nation in field goal percentage at 49.5. American plays slow, averaging just 63.9 points per game despite their stellar field goal percentage.
X-Factor: American Center Tony Wroblicky
The big center from American can assert his presence in the post against a weak inside team from Wisconsin.
Michigan (25-8, 13-3 Big Ten) vs Wofford (20-12, 10-5 Southern)
Michigan Strengths and Weaknesses
Outstanding 3 point shooting team. Michigan shoots nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc led by Stauskas (44.5). No true offensive threat after Stauskas. LeVert and Robinson III are too inconsistent offensively.
Wofford Strengths and Weaknesses
Wofford is a good 3 point shooting team at 37.1 percent on the season. Ironically, bad free throw shooting team is what haunts the Terriers, who shot just 66.3 percent from the free-throw stripe on the season.
X-Factor: Michigan Guard Caris LeVert
If LeVert joins Stauskas as another consistent offensive threat as they were expecting Mitch McGary to be before injury, the sky is the limit for Michigan.
Jeff Jezewski is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.