The postseason run for Mountain West teams continue as the BYU Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs both advanced to the Sweet 16 after victories on Saturday. These victories help validate the Mountain West and these programs who took big steps forward this season. Now one eighth of the Sweet 16 belongs to the Mountain West.
Here is a look at the remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament and their game time.
|Away Team||Home Team||Gametime|
|(3) UCONN||(2) San Diego State||Thursday - 5:15pm MST|
|(3) BYU||(2) Florida||Thursday - 5:27pm MST|
|(5) Arizona||(1) Duke)||Thursday - 7:45pm MST|
|(8) Butler||(4) Wisconsin||Thursday - 7:57pm MST|
|(12) Richmond||(1) Kansas||Friday - 5:27pm MST|
|(11) Marquette||(2) North Carolina||Friday - 5:15pm MST|
|(11) VCU||(10) Florida State||Friday - 7:57pm MST|
|(4) Kentucky||(1) Ohio State||Friday - 7:45pm MST|
There was a big difference in the San Diego State victory compared to how BYU handled Gonzaga. The Aztecs needed double overtime to put away the Temple Owls. This was not one of the finest performances by the Aztecs but they did enough to hang on. Temple forced OT by outscoring SDSU 23-18 in the second half. The first overtime netted each team seven points but the Aztecs came on strong at the end. A 10-3 run in the 2OT gave San Diego State some breathing room and a 71-64 victory. With 13 turnovers it was not your typical game by the usually efficient Aztecs. Billy White had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Malcolm Thomas put 13 points nine rebounds and four blocks.
BYU made things look easy the way the dismantled Gonzaga 89-67. The Cougars led 45-38 at the half but then blew the Bulldogs out of the water. Jimmer Fredette had a game high 34 points and the BYU was able to coast in the end. Gonzaga tried to run with BYU and that worked perfectly for Fredette and company. Now they face a much tougher opponent in Florida. The game that everyone would watch is if each team switched opponents, then everyone could finally see Jimmer vs Kemba Walker.
After the jump we'll preview the games for each team and see if the Mountain West will be sending any teams to the Elite 8.
San Diego State vs UCONN
The Aztecs had a hard time containing Jimmer in all three pairings. How will they do against Kemba Walker who is generally considered the best player in the nation noted name Fredette. Walker is averaging 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on the year. He has an amazing jumper and is clutch when he has the ball and the game is on the line. The Huskies average 73 points a game and the Aztecs only give up 58 per game, so who will bend? The greats news for the Aztecs is that they are playing in Anaheim and the crowd will have a huge West Coast bias. The SHOW will be in full force.
With the home court advantage expect the Aztecs to carry the momentum. UCONN has been on fire lately after winning the Big East Tournament and beating Cincinatti by 11.
BYU vs Florida
Things are going to be a lot tougher for BYU when the faces the Gators. This is the exact type of team that the Cougars struggle with. Slower pace of play and a team that dominates on the board. This all equals trouble for BYU and Jimmer who would love nothing more than to keep up a frantic pace and jack as many threes as possible. The game will be played in New Orleans which should favor the folks from Gainesville IF they show up. In their opening round victory of UC-Santa Barbara the arena was half empty and it was played in Tampa.
The Gators enter as 2.5 point favorites and have four players averaging double digits in scoring: Clint Parsons, Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Vernon Macklin. Walker and Boynton are both threats from behind the arc, while Parsons, Macklin and Alex Tyus all average over five rebounds.