Game 1: Saint Louis vs. Charlotte- Charlotte arrives in the quarterfinals after a stunning victory over Richmond in which the 49ers were awarded three technical fouls inside of the last five seconds. Now, their reward for advancing is facing off against top seeded and top 20 ranked Saint Louis. Earlier this season, SLU easily dispatched Charlotte during an 18 point win back in February. If the 49ers are to spring the upset this time around, they are going to have limit their turnovers and use their size and physicality. Charlotte will want to attempt as few three pointers as possible, so they’ll be faced with scoring against the length of the Billiken bigs in Dwyane Evans, Rob Loe and Cody Ellis. The player to watch for Saint Louis is Dwayne Evans. Evans is the Billikens’ top post defender and must be productive and log heavy minutes.
Duren and La Salle will look to go 2-0 against Butler. Credit: Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos/La Salle Athletic Communications
Game 2: La Salle vs. Butler- Keep an eye on the game within the game. Tyreek Duren of La Salle and Rotnei Clarke of Butler are two of the league’s top point guards. The first time around, Clarke didn’t play against La Salle. That night, Duren led the Explorers in scoring with 16 points. He also chipped in six assists and five rebounds in a super efficient effort. This time things could be different. Duren will be responsible for chasing Clarke around and it will be interesting to see if that affects him on the offensive end. For Butler, the Bulldogs will be looking for revenge and a trip to the semifinals. For bubble sitting La Salle, a win today would likely seal their at -large status.
Game 3: Saint Joseph’s vs. VCU- Trailing by eight points midway though the second half last night against Xavier, it appeared Saint Joseph’s sub-par season was coming to an end. A shocking 12-0 run, followed by a pair of Langston Galloway three throws with 1.4 seconds sealed point win, and now Phil Martelli’s club has a date with VCU. Having already played them tight on the road (Jan. 17th) during an overtime loss, SJU knows they can look the Rams in the eye for 40 minutes. Now the question becomes will they tonight? VCU is firing on all engines right now, winning eight of their last 10 games and seem to be the other favorite to reach the final on Sunday. If SJU can handle the Rams’ pressure and play inside out (through Halil Kanacevic and Ronalds Roberts) we should have another tight affair between this two.
Game 4: Temple vs. UMass- This could be the last time these two clubs meet for a long time with Temple moving on to the America 12. There’s no John Calipari or John Chaney, but tonight we do have Khalif Wyatt and Chaz Williams. While both teams want to play up-tempo basketball, they will go about it in two different ways. Temple pushes the ball into the half court and thrives on taking and knocking down three pointers. The Owls usually sport a lineup with four capable shooters including center Jake O’Brien to stretch the defense. UMass on the other hand, will want point guard Williams to penetrate the Temple defense and score close to the bucket. This game features two of the best scorers in the league and should be a game played in the high 70′s or low 80′s.
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