The air is filled with sweet smells of the final 16 teams in the NCAA tournament. The first games of the round of 16 were electric giving us nail biting performances and varying shooting performances throughout. This is all about the elite teams in the 2018-2019 season. Here are several of the biggest factors from last night’s 4 march madness games.
Great guard play this far in the tournament is paramount for any team looking to keep their final four hopes alive. In the first four games of the Sweet 16 guards were the main attraction. Guards lead their team in scoring in 3 out of the 4 teams that saw the court. The outlier, of course, was Tennessee’s Grant Williams who co-led with Admiral Schofield.
Carson Edwards of Purdue continues to strengthen his case for the all-tournament with his clutch 29 points performance against Tennessee. Thanks to the foul he received with 1.7 seconds to go the calm demeanor Edwards walked to the foul line missing his first free throw but icing the next two to send the game to OT.
Edwards wasn’t alone in his scoring efforts, Ryan Kline had a career night of his own. He saw 7 of his 10 attempts behind the arc go through the net. His late-game three-point battle against the Volunteers was one of the best moments in the 2019 tournament.
Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins and FSU’s Trent Forest took turns harassing the other all night. Perkins dominated the first half with 11 points, some incredible defensive plays, and trash talking. Forrest took matters into his own hands scoring a team-high 20 points shooting 8-11 from the field and an incredible block in FSU’s loss.
Basketball is won by inches rather than miles and nothing shows this more than fastbreak sequences that FSU and Gonzaga displayed. Between the great defense and better offense that took place that swayed the game in the open court. Gonzaga did what they needed to do the entire game and one of those was taking an edge over Florida State in transition. They scored15 of their 72 points in transition. Gonzaga proves they have elite athleticism on their roster a question that’s been asked since the start of the season.
9 players from the first half of the Sweet 16 shot 50% from the field. The entire Tennessee team shot 50% from three while Purdue shot 48.4%. The shooting these teams showed was ridiculous when considered 4 teams shot three teams shot below 30% from deep.
Two of the best defensive teams in the tournament stifled themselves to 40 combines points at the half. In the second half, Texas Tech uncapped the Michigan defense while they continued to flounder under the red raider defense. The Wolverines would only shoot a 33.7 effective field goal percentage. Texas Tech continues to prove that they are one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament.