Men’s basketball: What to know about the teams playing in the Sweet 16’s West Regional

first_imgBeyond Paige, the Tar Heels do have a very tough, long and athletic frontcourt featuring the likes of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks. North Carolina’s frontcourt has led them to be one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and they could give the big frontcourt of Wisconsin some trouble. They may, however, be a man down. Meeks suffered a sprained left knee in their previous game and head coach Roy Williams says the team is preparing as though they’ll be without him.While the Tar Heels are among the best rebounding teams in the country, they’re also one of the worst at taking care of the basketball, averaging 12.7 turnovers per game in the regular season. The issue has not gotten better in the postseason, wtih North Carolina having more turnovers (33) than assists (28). This could pose a real problem against an efficient offense like Wisconsin, as a team cannot afford to lose too many possessions off turnovers against a team that scores like the Badgers can.No. 2 Arizona (33-3 , 16-2 Pac-12 – First place in Pac-12)Second Round: Defeated No. 15 Texas Southern 93-72Third Round: Defeated No. 10 Ohio State 73-58The Wildcats have had no issues so far getting past their first two opponents, handling both double-digit seeds fairly easily.Arizona has been near perfect so far and has given outstanding team efforts in both of their outings. Starting point guard T.J. McConnell — the team’s heart and soul — has been great in both games, racking up a total 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and nine steals.But it has been the athletic wings in freshman phenom Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that have really shined for the Wildcats. Johnson has recorded 26 points and 15 rebounds through the first two games of the tournament, while Hollis-Jefferson has put up 34 points and 20 rebounds. Those two, along with their two bigs down low, Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, give Arizona plenty of size and athleticism all over the floor and are why Arizona boasts one of the best defenses in all of college basketball.But while their strength on defense is consistent, their capabilities offensively are not. The Wildcats have struggled at times this season scoring, going on long droughts in games without getting a single basket. If Arizona loses in the tournament, it will be because they struggled to score. And although the Wildcats’ strong defense has kept them in games when their offense is not flowing, this may not always be the case. The offensive capabilities of teams are just going to get better as this team goes deeper into the tournament.No. 6 Xavier (23-13, 9-9 Big East – sixth place in the Big East)Second Round: Defeated No. 11 Ole Miss 76-57Third Round: Defeated No. 14 Georgia State 75-67Xavier was a popular pick to be upset in their first game against Ole Miss, but it’s proven its doubters wrong and finds itself in the Sweet 16 as the last team from the Big East still standing.The Musketeers have been kind of an unknown all year, and while they may not be as good as some of the teams Xavier has had in the past, they have still managed to be consistently solid for most of the season.The Musketeers have been riding on the back of 6-foot-10, 263-pound senior big man Matt Stainbrook, who has scored 29 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out seven assists in the team’s first two outings. Stainbrook will have to be at his best against Arizona if he and Xavier want to pull off the upset, as the senior is one of the best post scorers in the tournament and will have a chance to disrupt a fairly tough Arizona frontcourt.That being said, the Musketeers will struggle to score against the Wildcats’ vaunted defense, as the team already struggles to score in general. They don’t shoot the ball from outside particularly well. As a team, they shoot just 35 percent from behind the arc and only one player who sees consistent time on the floor, Remy Abeil, shoots more than 40 percent. So while Xavier already struggles shooting the ball, Arizona’s stingy defense will likely give them even more problems than usual. Only 16 teams remain in the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament and only two wins separate each team from a trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis.Four teams – Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona and Xavier – will travel to the Staples Center in Los Angeles this week for the semifinals and finals of the West Regional.Semifinal play begins Thursday with No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 North Carolina before No. 2 Arizona and No. 6 Xavier take the court. The winners will square off in the Elite Eight Saturday.Here’s a preview of each team in the West Regional:No. 1 Wisconsin (33-3, 16-2 Big Ten – First place in Big Ten)Second Round: Defeated No. 16 Coastal Carolina 86-72Third Round: Defeated No. 8 Oregon 72-65The Badgers got a scare from Oregon in the previous round, but the team was able to hang tough and pull away late — as they’ve done several times as of late.The biggest reason for UW’s success in the first two rounds hasn’t just been Frank Kaminsky, as he’s usually going to produce under most circumstances. Rather, it’s been the play of Sam Dekker, who, after scoring just four points in the Big Ten championship game, has scored 37 points while shooting more than 50 percent from the field in Wisconsin’s first two tournament games. There have been times this season when Dekker has disappeared for stretches, but it looks like he’s making a point to stay aggressive now and is hitting his shots in the process.The problem the Badgers may face now is that while Kaminsky has scored 43 points in the last two games, Oregon really found a way to make the potential national Player of the Year candidate uncomfortable in the post. Kaminsky’s been great when double-teamed this year, but the Ducks swarmed the big man as soon as the ball touched the floor, and it really seemed to bother him. That’s not to say that this is the blueprint for neutralizing Kaminsky, which has proved exceedingly difficult for any team to do, but there is no doubt North Carolina head coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels will be watching the film from that game in an effort to stop Frank the Tank.No. 4 North Carolina (26-11, 11-7 ACC – Fifth place in ACC)Second Round: Defeated No. 13 Harvard 67-65Third Round: Defeated No. 5 Arkansas 87-78After holding off a comeback from Harvard, the Tar Heels defeated Arkansas in a fast-paced, sometimes sloppy, display of athleticism.To no one’s surprise, Marcus Paige has led the way for North Carolina thus far, scoring 34 points through the first two games. Throughout his career, Paige has been known for playing his best basketball in the second half, but he really took that reputation to the next level against Arkansas when he scored 20 of his 22 points in the second period to seal the deal against the Razorbacks.Halle Sinnott/The Daily Tar Heellast_img read more

Rank to begin phased reopening of Mecca venues on 4 July

first_img Rank Group has announced that it will begin the ‘phased reopening’ of its Mecca Bingo venues operating across England from 4 July. In accordance with the government’s public safety measures, 36 Mecca venues will reopen on 4 July across England, as Rank re-establishes its retail footprint having been forced to close all gambling venues from mid-March as the UK entered national lockdown. Rank ensured that all Mecca premises have been ‘covid proofed’ ahead of reopening, with all staff undertaking rigorous training to ensure public safety, venue sanitary standards and the upkeep of social distancing rules. Facilitating Mecca’s reopening, Rank detailed that it will push customers towards using contactless payment methods and venue apps for placing food orders.Jonathon Swaine, Managing Director of Retail at Mecca Bingo, said: “We want to reassure the Mecca Bingo community that we are working together to take every precaution necessary to create a safe environment in which to play the nation’s favourite game. “We’re also investing in new entertainment formats in our clubs, to give everyone even better experiences. We are excited to reopen our doors, welcome back our communities and hear ‘House’ called once again.” Further to its statement, Rank management explained that it is awaiting further guidance from Welsh and Scottish governments to allow the company to reopen all 86 of its UK Mecca Bingo properties.Last week, Boris Johnson announced the government’s easing of lockdown rules on leisure businesses (pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and hairdressers) – in which casinos featured on its excluded list of businesses pending further government approval. The government’s decision to maintain casinos under lockdown orders has been criticised by Rank CEO John O’Reilly, who issued a public statement demanding that the government clarifies its judgement.In his statement,  O’Reilly underlined that Rank’s commitment to maintaining its entire workforce had been undermined by the government ‘maintaining casinos in the sidelines’. StumbleUpon Share Share BGC: Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme August 11, 2020 John O’Reilly – Erratic orders have placed UK casinos on life support August 4, 2020 Related Articles Winning Post: Political flip-floppery leads to uncertainty for casinos August 3, 2020 Submitlast_img read more