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2022 NCAA March Madness Observations: Kentucky, Iowa, UConn, Auburn

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A look at what went wrong for Kentucky, Iowa, UConn, & Auburn during March Madness.

Besides their two stars, Kentucky & Iowa mostly played awful in losses, plus coaches got outworked

Going into the tournament, #2 seeded Kentucky & #5 seeded Iowa definitely looked sharp enough to at least get 1st round wins vs. #15 seeded Saint Peter’s & #12 seeded Richmond. But as their games started, they got exposed badly by inconsistent guard play on both ends and poor shooting. With the exception of forwards/centers like Oscar Tshiebwe (30 points), Jacob Toppin (9 points), Keegan Murray (21 points), Pat McCaffery (18 points), and Filip Rebraca (9 rebounds), both teams were pretty much living out a nightmare. TyTy Washington (2-10 FG), Sahvir Wheeler (6 turnovers), Kellan Grady (1-9 FG), Keion Brooks (2-7 FG), and Davion Mintz (5 fouls) all struggled for Kentucky, while Iowa players like Jordan Bohannon (2-8 FG), Kris Murray (1-6 FG), Tony Perkins (2-5 FG), Payton Sandfort (1-5 FG), and Joe Toussaint (1-3 FG) couldn’t hit a shot. Not to mention their guards had no answer on the defensive end for Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard (24 points) & Saint Peter’s Daryl Banks (27 points). From what I saw out of the coaches, I couldn’t help but notice UK’s John Calipari negatively reacting to bad plays by his team and Iowa’s Fran McCaffery nervously putting his hands in his pockets throughout the entire game. You could see that Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway instilled confidence & positivity in his group from the opening tip while Richmond head coach Chris Mooney stayed composed and let Gilyard lead the way like a true point guard.

UConn & Auburn guards get burnt bad by New Mexico State’s Teddy Allen & Miami’s four guard starting lineup

Year after year, we see guards take over March Madness with their explosive offense. And that’s exactly what we saw from New Mexico State’s Teddy Allen (37 points) vs. UConn & Miami guards Isaiah Wong (21 points), Kameron McGusty (20 points), Charlie Moore (15 points), & Jordan Miller (12 points) vs. Auburn. The Huskies & Tigers had no answers on the defensive end for both teams’ star players, leaving no doubt in my mind that Allen, Wong, and McGusty have NBA level offense in their skillsets. Going into the games, it was pretty clear UConn & Auburn were going to have a tough time defending scoring guards and needed to make that their #1 priority. UConn shooting 30.4% from three point range and Auburn’s Jabari Smith & Walker Kessler combining to go 3-22 from the floor didn’t help much, as both teams now had no choice but to bring it on the defensive end if they wanted to pull out wins. Unfortunately, Allen’s muscle/scoring ability (6-6, 212 pounds) created too many problems and UConn ended up letting New Mexico State shoot 64.7% behind the three point line while Auburn looked like they were experiencing the same disaster SEC tournament loss to Texas A&M when they let guards Tyrece Radford & Quenton Jackson combine for 36 points.

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