DePaul at (14) Villanova
Villanova needs to continue to develop their chemistry as a young team to grow into its potential. The play of Saddiq Bey must continue with his ability to score the basketball and defend at a high level with his versatility and length. Further, the steady presence of Collin Gillespie is the key to this Villanova team’s success. Also, Justin Moore must be able to provide major scoring off of the bench for Villanova. The key matchup in this game will be Jeremiah Robinson-Earl against Paul Reed. As will be the versatility of Jermaine Samuels in scoring and defending the perimeter of DePaul.
As for DePaul, their success will be from Charlie Moore and the ability for him to outplay Collin Gillespie. Next, Justin Coleman-Lands will need to be able to score at a high level in this game. They will also need major production inside from Jaylen Butz. Furthermore, Romeo Weems could be the x-factor for DePaul in his ability to defend Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels. Reed must be at his very best for DePaul to have a chance in this game. The continuity and versatility of Villanova will be too much for DePaul in this game.
Prediction: Villanova 74 DePaul 65
(18) Seton Hall at (5) Butler
This game will be a phenomenal Big East matchup and vital for standings in the Big East. For Seton Hall, they have been playing extremely well as of late and Myles Powell sets the tone with scoring and leadership. Also, the frontcourt of Seton Hall has played very well with Romaro Gill and Ike Obiagu operating around the basket. In addition, the play of Jared Rhoden will be key against Sean McDermott where that is a matchup that could swing the game. Also, Quincy McKnight and Powell will have a major task against Kamar Baldwin and Aaron Thompson. Seton Hall’s offense against the stingy Butler defense will be the deciding factor in this game.
For Butler, their success starts with Kamar Baldwin’s ability to score the basketball and defend at a high level. Furthermore, Aaron Thompson will be key in shutting down the Seton Hall perimeter. Next, Sean McDermott and Jordan Tucker are key factors who can change the game with their shooting ability. In addition, the most important factor for Butler could be the frontcourt with Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden’s ability to contain the boards. Butler will continue with their defensive mindset and get a huge win over Seton Hall.
Prediction: Butler 61 Seton Hall 55
Virginia at (9) Florida State
Virginia needs to get back on track with their ability to find consistency on the offensive end. That starts with the play of Mamadi Diakite becoming a go-to guy inside for Virginia. Next, the play of Jay Huff has been there with his versatility which can stretch the defense. In addition, Kihei Clark needs to pick his spots offensively as a scorer while still initiating the offense and bringing the elite on-ball defense. Also, Tomas Woldentensae and Casey Morsell needs to be able to make plays offensively on a consistent basis. The defense of Virginia will be there, however, their offense must continue to develop.
Florida State is just starting to get it going. The versatility of Florida State makes this team very hard to prepare for along with their depth. The perimeter has been very good and will need to get quality looks against the Virginia defense. Trent Forest and M.J. Walker need to continue to be very effective along with the emergence of Devin Vassell as a go-to option for Florida State. The frontcourt for Florida State will be key against Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key. Therefore, Raiquan Gray and Patrick Williams must play well in this game. The way Florida State is playing together will be too much for Virginia in this matchup.
Prediction: Florida State 66 Virginia 55
Xavier at Marquette
The defensive ability of Xavier against the offensive ability of Marquette will be the headline in this game. Markus Howard defines how they play, as he is averaging 26.8 points per game leading the team. Now, the play outside of him is where Marquette needs to improve with Sacar Anim’s ability to defend and score. Next, Koby McEwen will have a key ability in defending the perimeter of Xavier and being the second option offensively for Marquette. Furthermore, the impact of Theo John and Brendan Bailey will be very key inside for Marquette.
For Xavier, Naji Marshall must continue to be a force on both ends for Xavier with his athleticism. Next, Paul Scruggs and Quentin Goodin will be vital in defending Markus Howard on each possession. Furthermore, Tyrique Jones will be setting the tone inside for Xavier with his physicality on the boards. Also, Zach Freemantle will be vital in making plays on 50/50 balls. Xavier will impose their defensive ability against Markus Howard and Marquette respectively.
Prediction: Xavier 68 Marquette 66
Oregon State at Washington
Oregon State is coming off a great win over Arizona Sunday night. The play of Tres Tinkle is setting the tone for Oregon State and will be very interesting to see him against Jaden McDaniels. In addition, Ethan Thompson has a major that is favorable against Washington without Quade Green. In addition, Zach Reichle will be vital in defending Naz Carter and being able to make key shots. Furthermore, Kylor Kelley will have an extremely difficult matchup against the physicality of Isaiah Stewart. Also, the versatility of Alfred Hollins will be key against the wings of Washington.
Washington must overcome the ineligibility of Green leaving a void at the point guard position. In addition, Washington needs Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart to take over with their talent and athleticism. Also, Jamal Bey needs to be a strong scorer for Washington along with Naz Carter providing that capability. Also, the point guard play of Washington must be figured out this way their offense operates a high level. Oregon State is more complete than Washington and Ethan Thompson will have a huge game against Washington.
Prediction: Oregon State 69 Washington 62
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