(8) Gonzaga vs Michigan
These two teams have been excellent this far in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Michigan is led by one of the best point guards in the county with Zavier Simpson who controls it all for Michigan. Also, the play of Jon Teske on both ends has been great providing scoring and rim protection. In addition, Isiah Livers is giving great scoring and size to the perimeter and tough defense. Eli Brooks is stepping up as a scorer and the emergence of Franz Wagner’s smart play. The coaching job of Juwan Howard has been exceptional to this point.
Now for Gonzaga, the play of Filip Petrusev has been exceptional as a scorer and defender while being extremely efficient. Also, the scoring of Corey Kispert has been great in giving them that threat. The quality of Gonzaga’s backcourt with Ryan Woolridge, Joel Ayai and Admon Gilder gives them many different options. Next, Drew Timme and Killian Tille next to Petrusev will give them the best frontcourt in college basketball. The collective scoring of Gonzaga will outlast Michigan in a very good game.
Prediction: Gonzaga 75 Michigan 72
(6) North Carolina vs (11)Oregon
North Carolina is coming off a game where they struggled to score effectively against Michigan. As for Oregon, coming off a very tough loss to Gonzaga in overtime.
With North Carolina, it starts with Cole Anthony as he sets up everyone and is pure bucket getter. He must get more help from others to make North Carolina a more complete team. This starts with getting the ball inside to Garrison Brooks allowing him to get high percentage shots. Also, the perimeter must step up either with Christian Keeling or Justin Pierce living up to the hype as graduate transfers. Along with additional contribution from Leaky Black and Brandon Robinson.
Oregon has played exceptionally well with the play of Payton Pritchard being exceptional in scoring in all aspects. Also, Shakur Juiston is giving major toughness to this team on the boards and giving key points. Furthermore, Chirs Duarte and Anthony Mathis are strong scorers who compliment Pritchard very well. In addition, the length and size of C.J. Walker and Chandler Lawson will cause problems defensively for North Carolina. North Carolina will not be able to keep offensively with Oregon is this game.
Prediction: Oregon 85 North Carolina 77
(17) Tennessee vs Florida State
Rick Barnes is looking to continue the consistent success he has built-in Tennessee. Similarly, Leonard Hamilton has a program built on consistency as well.
For Tennessee, their success starts with Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner in the backcourt. They are capable of taking over games with their innate ability to score. Furthermore, Yves Ponds must contribute as a more well-rounded player rather than just playing with his great energy. In addition, Joshiah-Jordan James will need to deliver as a more efficient player and be a factor on the boards.
As for Florida State, Patrick Willaims is starting to show what he is capable of being an all-around threat for Florida State. Further, Trent Forrest and Devin Vassell must continue to lead this backcourt especially in this matchup against Tennessee. Continued, the depth of Florida State gives them an opportunity in this game as they are deeper than Tennessee. This game will be decided on the perimeter as there are no major interior threats in this matchup. Tennessee has too much experience against Florida State along with backcourt play.
Prediction: Tennessee 80 Florida State 71
Ole Miss vs Oklahoma State
Ole Miss is coming off a major comeback against Penn State. Oklahoma State is coming off a big win over Syracuse.
The success of Ole Miss starts with their dynamic backcourt. Further, Breein Tyree and Blake Hinson are coming off combining for 35 points. In addition, Devonte Schuler will need to contribute at a higher level in this matchup. Next, the frontcourt played well especially K.J. Buffen was great inside out making plays as a scorer and distributor along with on the boards.
The play of Issac Likekele against Syracuse led the way and gave Oklahoma State a go-to scorer. In addition, Thomas Dziagwa needs to continue to provide solid scoring to the perimeter. Furthermore, the frontcourt will need to do a good job of matching the production of K.J. Buffen. This starts with the play of Cameron McGriff and Yor Anei playing at a high level. The experience of backcourt play for Ole Miss will elevate them in this matchup.
Prediction: Ole Miss 78 Oklahoma State 72
Saints Mary’s vs (15) Utah State
These are two of the best teams on the West Coast. Saint Mary’s success starts with the point guard play of Jordan Ford who can dictate the offense in all aspects. Next, Malik Fitts provides good versatility as he can play inside and outstretching the defense. Furthermore, Matthias Tass needs to be a more dominant player inside for St. Mary’s to give quality inside scoring. Also, Logan Johnson and Tanner Krebs need to be able to score and contain the backcourt of Utah State including Sam Merill.
Utah State has been off to a great start and they have been without Neemias Queta. Furthermore, this starts with the quality of depth with players like Justin Bean and Abel Porter. As well as, Brock Miller and Diogo Brito’s ability to score the basketball and know their roles. In addition, Kuba Karwowski has stepped up in the absence of Neemias Queta. Lastly, they are led by the great scorer in Sam Merrill. Utah State is playing too well for St. Mary’s to defeat them in this matchup.
Prediction: Utah State 82 St. Mary’s 70
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