Half of the Sweet 16 field will be set by Saturday night. Eight games, eight winners, but who will they be? First, let’s recap some of Friday’s action:
- Drake and Western Kentucky. What a game. Best game of the tournament so far. It was an up and down, exciting shootout that ended on a last second three-pointer. Nobody could ask for a better game.
- That game kind of stole the show from Stephen Curry. He was absolutely phenomenal against Gonzaga. Davidson had no business being in that game if not for Curry. 40 points in the game, 29 in the second half. One of the better tournament performances I have ever seen. The Wildcats simply won because Curry was the best player on the court.
- A.J. Price went down for UCONN in what looked like a very serious injury. I think that was the difference in the game against San Diego, but what a game that was. The Toreros played their hearts out and frankly, deserved to win.
- American gave a valiant effort, but fell short in the last five minutes. Tennessee looks extremely vulnerable against Butler.
- Speaking of the Bulldogs, that was a great win for them. A lot of people had them being bitten by the upset bug, but South Alabama was no match for its overall experience and game.
As for Saturday, here is a short preview of all eight games.
Battle of the Three
2:10 West Region
#7 vs. #2
Talk about two teams that love shooting the three-pointer. Duke barely survived a scare versus Belmont, while the Mountaineers looked solid against Arizona. The Blue Devils look extremely vulnerable at the moment, and will have a tough time matching up with Joe Alexander and West Virginia.
My Winner – West Virginia
We’re not done
4:20 Midwest Region
#11 vs. #3
Kansas State is coming off of a very good win against a young, dangerous USC team. They’ll have a tough time dealing with Wisconsin’s style of play. The Badgers really control the tempo of the game and force another teams to be very patient. The Wildcats definitely have the ability to pull off the upset because they have the best player on the court.
My winner – Michael Beasley
Boil me an upset?
4:40 West Region
#6 vs. #3
The Boilermakers are a well-coached team that really understands how to play the game of basketball. They are led by two freshman E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel and rely on the three ball. Xavier struggled with Georgia for a little bit, but really rebounded with its defense that wore out the Bulldogs. Xavier has a little more inside game and has the guards and experience to knock off the Boilermakers.
My Winner -The X
Fight in the Irish
6:40 East Region
#5 vs. #4
Both teams easily took care of business against teams that were dangerous in past tournaments. Now, two teams clash in game between teams from the two best conferences in the nation. Washington State comes into the game as the higher seed, but the Fighting might be the favorite in this one. Notre Dame has great balance. Luke Harangody and Rob Kurz control the inside while Kyle McAlarney, Tory Jackson and Ryan Ayers knock down perimeter shots.
My Winner – Notre Dame
Guards win in March?
6:45 South Region
#6 vs. #3
This game is an absolutely mismatch in styles. Marquette has great guards who can take over games and Stanford has twins that completely control the paint. The Golden Eagles have to hit shots because Dominic James and Jerel McNeal will have a lot of trouble getting shots off in the paint. I know that guards win in March, but I love the Lopez Twins in this one.
My Winner – The Stanford Trees
6:50 Midwest Region
#8 vs. #1
People are sick of underachieving Kansas teams. It’s a great reason to pick against them, but this early in the tournament? Can I see this UNLV team hanging with Kansas? Absolutely because of Wink Adams. But in the end, I don’t see these Jayhawks losing in the second round. Brandon Rush, Marion Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Sharron Collins. Too many guards, too much experience.
My Winner – The Rock Chalk Jayhawks
South is where it’s at
9:10 South Region
#5 vs. #4
There are two great games in the South tomorrow and this is the second one. Michigan State has been flying a little under the radar and they haven’t played well outside of East Lansing. Pittsburgh is the hottest team in the nation and its success in the Big East Tournament certainly translated over on Thursday with a thumping of Oral Roberts. Momentum will play a big role in this game and I think the strength of Pittsburgh inside with Sam Young and DeJuan Blair will be too much for the Spartans.
My Winner – Pittsburgh
Give me some more Love
9:15 West Region
#9 vs. #1
This game is the least appealing to me. Health is a big concern with UCLA because Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are both banged up. I’ve emphasized guard play a lot in this tournament and I think UCLA has some of the best guards in the nation. Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp are all future first round picks and you put them with Love and you have a team loaded with future pros. Too much talent for the Aggies to handle.
My Winner – UCLA
Enjoy the Saturday games. After this weekend, the excitement of the tournament really goes down hill.