NCAA Eye for the NBA Guy: Four Matchups for Sunday
Evan Turner (Ohio State) vs. Georgia Tech. Turner has skyrocketed up NBA draft charts with his wondrous and multi-faceted high level of play. His bevy of skills extend themselves beautifully at both ends of the floor, where he is a relentless driver and unstoppable scorer, and on the defensive end, where he is both physical and extremely quick. His array of skills has the Buckeyes in striking distance of the Final Four but as we mentioned earlier, Georgia Tech has plenty of pro-level talent, namely center Derrick Favors and power forward Gani Lawal.
Nolan Smith (Duke) vs. Jerome Randle (Cal). The Pac 10 POY is a tireless (played 40 minutes against Louisville) point who really likes to shoot the three and put pressure on the defense with his driving ability. Smith is a much improved player for Duke, particularly at the offensive end where his mid-range jump shot has developed into a consistent weapon, and his drives have really opened up the floor for both Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer, as well as 7-footer Brian Zoubek. This is another terrific guard match-up out of the South region.
Greivis Vasquez (Maryland) vs. Kalin Lucas (Michigan State). We all know about Mr. Vasquez, but Lucas was the Big Ten POY two seasons ago. Michigan State has been disappointing all season long, but Lucas is their clear-cut leader, the type of lead guard every coach dreams of having. While Vasquez has the dramatic size advantage and a more diverse offensive game, the 6-foot Lucas is a pesky defender who will get underneath the Maryland star all game. If he can dictate this match-up – particularly at the defensive end limiting Vasquez - Sparty moves on.
Ryan Wittman (Cornell) vs. Wisconsin. Trevon Hughes was very good in round one vs. Wofford, but Ryan Wittman was even better against Temple (20 points on 7-10 shooting). Wittman is a 6-6 bomber who knows how to use angles and crevices to get his shot off, even against quicker defenders like Hughes. As BYU does for Fredette, Cornell sets a ton of picks to free up Wittman off the ball. Wisconsin in general is a very stout defensive unit that plugs up gaps and help defends as well as anyone in the nation. The Ivy champs are much better than Wofford though, and if the Badgers don't limit Wittman – particularly from the outside – the Big Red will advance to the Sweet 16.