Thoughts on the 2022 Elite Eight Games in This Year’s NCAA Tournament

March 27th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Over the weekend, I saw a slew of basketball games in the Elite Eight of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Here were some thoughts I had, as I casually watched these games over this past week.

The Duke-Arkansas Game:

Duke’s 7-0 sophomore center, Mark Williams (pictured in the middle, wearing #15) scored 12 points on 6 of 6 shooting, and he also notched 12 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots in his team’s Elite Eight win over Arkansas yesterday.
(Photo:
Tony Avelar/Associated Press)

Yesterday, I managed to watch some of the Duke-Arkansas game.  Here were my thoughts on Duke’s win over Arkansas.

Mark Williams was tremendous in his team’s win over Arkansas.  He played very good defense as he would swat shots due to possessing great size, length, and athleticism, and he would run the floor and score on numerous hustle plays around the basket.  He showed a knack for scoring in the paint, and Williams is a very tall, athletic center that could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the late lottery in the 2022 draft.

A.J. Griffin had a strong, all-around performance.  He really excelled at making shots, as he made threes and also scored on strong drives to the hoop.  He’s a rangy defender that was able to block a shot off of a cut, and he really thrived to help his team get the win.  He’s a very good, all-around player, and he’s a likely top 5 pick on draft day.

Paolo Banchero had a solid showing in this game.  He consistently drew free throws on strong drives to the hoop, and while he was inconsistent as an outside shooter, he was able to hit a key open three when counted on.  He’s shown that he can draw lots of foul calls to get to the free throw line, and he is a solid, all-around player that is a likely top 5 pick in the upcoming draft, and he has shown that he could contend to be the top pick on draft day.

Jaylin Williams did a very good job of scoring in the post, as well as on hustle plays.  He has done a great job of drawing charges, and he played very well in his team’s loss to Duke.  The Arkansas big man will likely see his draft stock soar, and he will at least be a likely second round pick if he decides to declare to enter the 2022 draft.

J.D. Notae did a very good job of knocking down his threes, and he and Arkansas’ perimeter players defended well, but he wasn’t consistent as a scorer on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He had a good NCAA Tournament overall, and while he will need to be a more consistent performer and shooter in games, he is a very athletic combo guard that will likely be considered in the mid to late second round range on draft day.

Wendell Moore did a good job of scoring on mid-range jumpers, aggressive drives to the hoop, and he played unselfish basketball to get assists.  He is a strong, skilled swingman that has improved leaps and bounds over the years, and his versatility and skill set could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the late first to the second round range on draft day.

Trevor Keels hit a big, clutch three to close the first half. He does a fairly good job of attacking the hoop to get scores and assists. He has struggled with his outside shot at times, but he is an athletic point guard that plays with an aggressive style, and he seems to be a high upside prospect that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first round of the 2022 draft.

Arkansas’ other perimeter players, Stanley Umude, Au’Diese Toney, and Trey Wade played good defense in their team’s loss to Duke.  They are athletic, energetic players that would get steals and blocks, and they made it tough for Duke to pass and handle the basketball, especially early on.  They struggled to consistently get their shots up or to score, but Umude seemed to have the best game amongst them, as he was able to make athletic plays and showed off versatile scoring skills, as he scored 14 points in this game.

Thoughts on Today’s North Carolina-Saint Peter’s Game:

North Carolina’s starting center, Armando Bacot scored 20 points and hauled in 22 rebounds to lead his team to a double-digit win over Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
(Photo:
Patrick Smith/Getty Images, via Boston Globe)

Armando Bacot had a tremendous showing in his team’s Elite Eight win over Saint Peter’s. He did a great job of scoring in the post, and he would outmuscle his opponents to score and grab rebounds in the paint.  Brady Manek did a great job of knocking down threes.  Adding to that, R.J. Davis and Caleb Love played very good defense, as they would intercept passes, and they excelled at driving to the hoop to score on speedy drives to the basket.

KC Ndefo did a great job of blocking shots, and while he was inconsistent as a scorer in this game, he played unselfish basketball, and he would score off the dribble and off off-ball motion plays.  He would sometimes commit fouls, and he will need to improve his outside shot, but he had a very good NCAA Tournament overall.

Doug Edert had been playing very well all tournament, and he’s a gifted shooter that can knock down movement threes on catch-and-shoot opportunities where he runs off the ball to get his shots up, but he and his team struggled to get going or to find their rhythm in this game against North Carolina.  The 2022 NCAA Tournament star just couldn’t find his shooting stroke today, but he had a strong tournament overall.  Daryl Banks III had previously excelled at making shots and scoring off the dribble, but similarly struggled in his team’s loss to North Carolina.

Next year, Saint Peter’s will be a really fun team to watch, as they have skilled guards, and a slew of promising forwards led by KC Ndefo (if he decides to stay), as well as Fousseyni and Hassan Drame, and the Saint Peter’s Peacocks could be poised to make another strong run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament next year.  It may depend on if head coach Shaheen Holloway decides to come back, as he will surely get big offers from power conference schools in the offseason.  Regardless, they will be a fun team to watch, and they could make another deep run in the next postseason.

Thoughts on the Kansas-Miami Game:

Christian Braun had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists to help lead Kansas to an Elite Eight win over Miami in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
(Photo:
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)

Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji did a great job of driving to the hoop to score the basketball, and Braun was able to throw down a high-flying dunk to really boost his team.

David McCormack showed a knack for scoring in the post, and he would outmuscle his opponents to score and get extra free throws for his team.  He played very well, and the Kansas’ big man looks to be a second round prospect for the 2022 draft.

As for Miami, Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong excelled at taking the ball to the rack to score, but they struggled with their jump shots in this game.  Charlie Moore took care of the ball early on, but committed a slew of turnovers in the second half, as his team ended up getting blown out by Kansas.

Thoughts on Yesterday’s Villanova-Houston Game:

It was a very low scoring game, but Villanova’s senior forward, Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead his team to a decisive victory over Houston in the Elite Eight.
(Photo:
Eric Gay/Associated Press)

I didn’t see most of this game, but Collin Gillespie has had a good tournament, and he is a crafty, skilled point guard that has been making tough outside shots, and he has been passing the ball well. Also, Jermaine Samuels had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his team’s win over Houston, and he did a good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop. Villanova’s head coach Jay Wright did a great job of leading his team to get to another Final Four in their win over Houston. On the other hand, it was heart breaking that Villanova lost Justin Moore to a season ending torn Achilles, and they will be without one of their most important players and contributors in their next game in the Final Four match against Kansas.

Those are my thoughts for now, and thanks for reading.

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