TODAY'S SWEET 16 CAPSULES


SOUTHEAST REGION

NO. 2 FLORIDA VS. NO. 3 BRIGHAM YOUNG

■ WHERE: NEW ORLEANS

■ WHEN: 4:27 P.M. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Gus Johnson play-by-play, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller analysts

■ RECORDS: Florida 28-7; BYU 32-4

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Florida defeated No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 79-51, defeated No. 7 UCLA 73-65; BYU defeated No. 14 Wofford 74-66, defeated No. 11 Gonzaga 89-67

■ LINE: Florida -3; total 148½

■ KEY STATS: BYU shoots 76.3 percent from the line (10th nationally); Florida is at 67.1 percent (237th).

■ BUZZ: BYU beat Florida 99-92 in double overtime in the first round of last season's NCAA Tournament, and Jimmer Fredette scored 37 points to lead the Cougars. This Florida team, though, is a lot better than last season's. The Gators enjoy a big advantage in the frontcourt, and coach Billy Donovan will be happy if center Vernon Macklin (11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), forward Alex Tyus (8.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and swingman Patric Young (3.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) get a lot of touches in the low post. When those guys are scoring down low, the perimeter opens up for guards Kenny Boynton (14.0 ppg, 2.6 apg) and Erving Walker (14.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) and forward Chandler Parsons (11.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.7 apg). Parsons, in particular, bears watching in this one. Parsons, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall, was the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and can hit from the outside and finish at the rim; he could do damage against BYU, considering the Cougars' lack of size and their sometimes shaky defense. BYU is all about Fredette (28.8 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.5 rpg). He has phenomenal range and a quick trigger, but he's also strong and a great finisher. He's going to get his points, and a key for Florida is to make sure no other Cougar scores 15 or so. Guard Jackson Emery (12.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.7 apg) is a solid backcourt mate for Fredette; Emery is a good defender (2.8 steals per game) and distributor who can hit the 3-pointer. Swingman Charles Abouo (7.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg) might be the best athlete on the floor, and his rebounding and defensive toughness will be key for BYU. The Cougars lost just four times this season, and they shot 26.4 percent from 3-point range in the losses. That's 10.1 percent worse than their season average.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Brigham Young's frontcourt took a huge hit when forward Brandon Davies was suspended, and the Cougars need junior forward Noah Hartsock to be productive on both ends of the court. Hartsock averages 8.6 points and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds. Despite the relatively low scoring average, Hartsock is a talented offensive player who can score from 3-point range, with a midrange jumper and in the low post. But in BYU's four losses, Davies totaled 16 points.

NO. 4 WISCONSIN VS. NO. 8 BUTLER

■ WHERE: New Orleans

■ WHERE: 6:57 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Gus Johnson play-by-play, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller analysts

■ LINE: Wisconsin -4½; total 123½

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Wisconsin defeated No. 13 Belmont 72-58, defeated No. 5 Kansas State 70-65; Butler defeated No. 9 Old Dominion 60-58, defeated No. 1 Pittsburgh 71-70

■ RECORDS: Wisconsin 25-8; Butler 25-9

■ KEY STATS: Wisconsin leads the nation in free-throw percentage (82.3) and in fewest turnovers per game (7.5).

■ BUZZ: Neither team is flashy, and both win with toughness, defense and timely 3-point shooting. There are two intriguing player matchups: Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor vs. Butler guard Shelvin Mack and Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer vs. Butler forward Matt Howard. (Though Butler probably won't use Mack on Taylor all that much.) Howard (16.7 ppg) and Mack (15.6 ppg) are the only Bulldogs with scoring averages in double figures, and Leuer (18.7 ppg) and Taylor (18.0 ppg) are the only Badgers who average in double figures. While each team has others who are complementary scorers, no other player on either team is offensive-minded. One worrisome aspect for Wisconsin is its perimeter defense. While the Badgers give up an average of just 58.8 points per game, their opponents hit 37.3 percent from 3-point range, a figure that ranks 313th nationally. Wisconsin doesn't have the quickest guys on the perimeter, and that could hurt against Butler, which is going to run Badgers defenders off numerous screens. Butler can be foul prone, which could be dangerous against a Badgers team that is excellent from the line. Then again, Wisconsin has gone to the line less frequently than its opponents (an average of 15.6 times per game) because it's not a team that attacks the basket. All eight of Wisconsin's losses have come to teams that made the NCAA Tournament; three of Butler's nine losses came to tournament teams.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Guard Ronald Nored (5.5 ppg) is probably Butler's best defender, and his work against Taylor and Josh Gasser (5.9 ppg) is going to be important. But Nored commits silly fouls on occasion and has fouled out a team-high six times. He's not an offensive threat, but his experience, passing ability and defense is missed when he's on the bench.

WEST REGION

NO. 2 SAN DIEGO STATE VS. NO. 3 CONNECTICUT

■ WHERE: Anaheim, Calif.

■ WHEN: 4:15 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

■ RECORDS: San Diego State 34-2; Connecticut 28-9

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: San Diego State defeated No. 15 Northern Colorado 68-50, defeated No. 7 Temple 71-64 in 2 OTs; Connecticut defeated No. 14 Bucknell 81-52, defeated No. 6 Cincinnati 69-58

■ LINE: Connecticut -1; total 130

■ KEY STATS: San Diego State outrebounds opponents by 6.9 per game, and Connecticut outrebounds foes by 4.8 per game.

■ BUZZ: The Aztecs are the latest team that will try to slow Connecticut guard Kemba Walker (23.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.5 apg). San Diego State's frontcourt will be able to hold its own, but can the Aztecs' backcourt hold up? Their two losses came to Brigham Young, and Cougars guard Jimmer Fredette scored 68 points in the two games. Walker is the only "scary" offensive player for the Huskies, but that offensive method has led to 28 wins and a spot in the Sweet 16. UConn coaches have to feel good about Walker's ability to get his points against the Aztecs, so the Aztecs' goal has to be to make sure that no other Husky has a breakout game. Look for San Diego State to pay particular attention to freshman swingman Jeremy Lamb (10.5 ppg). Each member of San Diego State's starting frontcourt has scoring averages in double figures, and that trio combines for 37.1 points and 23.1 rebounds per game. Kawhi Leonard (15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg), Malcolm Thomas (11.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and Billy White (10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) have to control the paint if the Aztecs are to win.

■ KEY INDIVIDUALS: San Diego State guards Chase Tapley (8.7 ppg) and James Rahon (7.1 ppg) need to be productive. Tapley isn't a great athlete, but he has a nice offensive game and is a competent defender. Rahon, who began his career at Santa Clara, hits 43.3 percent from 3-point range. If he can hit a few from beyond the arc early and extend Connecticut's defense, the Aztecs' frontcourt will have that much more room to work.

NO. 1 DUKE VS. NO. 5 ARIZONA

■ WHERE: Anaheim, Calif.

■ WHEN: 6:45 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

■ RECORDS: Duke 32-4; Arizona 29-7

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Duke defeated No. 16 Hampton 87-45, defeated No. 8 Michigan 73-71; Arizona defeated No. 12 Memphis 77-75, defeated No. 4 Texas 70-69

■ LINE: Duke -8½; total 145

■ KEY STATS: Duke shoots 37.4 percent from 3-point range, but Arizona opponents hit just 29.1 percent of their 3-point attempts.

■ BUZZ: Forward Derrick Williams (19.1 ppg) is the only Arizona scorer averaging in double figures, and as with every Wildcats opponent, Duke is going to pay extra attention to Williams. When that happens, Arizona's perimeter guys need to hit their 3-pointers. Arizona is better than Duke from 3-point range (the Wildcats hit 39.9 percent from beyond the arc), and the Wildcats can't chuck up bricks against Duke. Neither team gives up that many 3-pointers, and open looks are going to be hard to come by. Duke has 15 fouls to use on Williams -- with the Plumlee twins and Ryan Kelly -- so you can expect the Blue Devils to bump and grind with Williams in an attempt to wear him down. While Duke forward Kyle Singler (16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) has solid perimeter skills, he has struggled with his 3-point shooting this season. Arizona's guards are going to have trouble keeping up with Duke guard Nolan Smith (21.0 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.5 rpg), and if Duke also can get offense from Kyrie Irving (16.4 ppg, 4.4 apg, 3.7 rpg), Seth Curry (9.2 ppg) and/or Andre Dawkins (8.0 ppg), the Blue Devils will be in good shape.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Irving missed three months because of a toe injury before returning last week in the first round against Hampton. He had 14 points against the Pirates and 11 -- but just one field goal -- against Michigan. At times against Michigan, the Blue Devils looked out of sync offensively. That's not surprising, considering Irving missed those three months. Roles were established when Irving was out, and Smith became used to having the ball in his hands on almost every possession. With Irving back, his role has changed. While Irving is the team's most talented player, he's not the best right now. That is Smith, and that is why the insertion of a talent such as Irving could be disrupting Duke's chemistry.

MIKE HUGUENIN/RIVALS.COM

 

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