NCAA Tournament Preview: 7 vs. 10 Games
No. 7 New Mexico (27-6, 15-3 Mountain West) vs. No. 10 Stanford (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12)
New Mexico Strengths and Weaknesses
The top three scorers for the Lobos combine for 50.3 points per game; with Cameron Bairstow (20.3), Kendall Williams (16.4), Alex Kirk (13.6) being the leading scorers. New Mexico lacks of depth though, playing only a seven man rotation
Stanford Strengths and Weaknesses
Stanford has great balance on offense with four players averaging over 11 points per game. But sometimes their offense becomes too stagnant and relies too much on 1-on-1 offensive sets.
X Factor- New Mexico Forward Cameron Bairstow
Standing at seven feet tall center Bairstow poses a threat in the paint to any team, as well as being able to be a threat from mid-range. Bairstow comes into the tournament averaging 20.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
No. 7 Connecticut (26-8, 12-6 AAC) v. No. 10 Saint Joseph (24-9, 11-5 A10)
Connecticut Strengths and Weaknesses
The Huskies have arguably the best backcourt in the nation featuring Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatwright. Despite the backcourt Connecticut struggles to rebound as a team because of lack of height. Napier, UConn's point guard, leads the team in rebounding.
St. Joseph Strengths and Weaknesses
St. Joseph is on a roll winning nine out of their last 11 games including a 64-58 win over No. 23 VCU in the Atlantic 10 Championship. But the Hawks struggle to score averaging 71.5 points per game, ranking them 158th in the country.
X Factor- Connecticut Center Amida Brimah
The Huskies are at their best when Amida Brimah is big contributor and stays out of foul trouble. Brimah at seven feet tall can combine with Shabazz Napier to a very strong inside and outside presence making UConn a even more difficult team to defend.
No. 7 Oregon (23-9, 10-8 Pac-12) vs. No. 10 BYU (23-11, 13-5 WCC)
Oregon Strengths and Weaknesses
Oregon averages 81.8 points per game which ranks 11th nationally, but ranks 204th in the NCAA with 34.3 rebounds per game. Inconsistency has also plagued the Ducks, but they are playing improved basketball as of late.
BYU Strengths and Weaknesses
BYU scores at a high clip of 84.2 points per game. That ranks 3rd overall in the NCAA. Will Collinsworth, the second leading scorer tore his ACL in the WCC championship game and will be out for the rest of the season.
X Factor- BYU Guard Tyler Haws
Haws has the ability to drop 30 points on any given night. He leads the team at 23.4 points per game. Haws has scored 20 or more points in his last four contests, including 24 in the WCC semifinals and finals.
No. 7 Texas (23-10, 11-7 Big 12) vs. No. 10 Arizona State (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12
Texas Strengths and Weaknesses
The Longhorns are a great rebounding team averaging 41.8 rebounds per game, good for fourth in the country. But they lack of explosive players, Jonathon Holmes leads the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game.
Arizona State Strengths and Weaknesses
The Sun Devils possess a dynamic backcourt of Jahil Carson and Jermaine Marshall, who both average more than 15 points per game. Arizona State is entering the tourney on a bad note losing their last three games of the season.
X Factor- Javan Felix
When Texas wins Javan Felix shoots 40.7 percent from three but when they lose he only shoots 19.0 percent. Felix can either jumpstart or stall this Texas offense.