Friday, March 19, 2010

Can Friday's action top what we saw on opnening day? I hope you have multiple screens.

I’m not sure it’s possible to top the action on day one but it won’t be because the matchups aren’t intriguing enough. There’s plenty on the board, so let’s get to the matchups.
(6)Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota – The X-men average 80 points per game and limit opponents to 41% shooting. Tubby Smith’s crew will have to get good guard play, if they’re going to control tempo and slow them down. We think they can do it and like Minnesota in this one.
(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State – The Mountaineers get a chance to exercise their frustration at not getting a top seed and Morgan may be the object of their anger today. However before you lay the 17, remember how their fellow conference members did yesterday. If it’s just to win, we like WV.
(5) Temple vs. (12) Cornell – By fare the most intriguing matchup of the day as it’s not often that you get an Ivy League vs. A-10 matchup in a tournament game, particularly one where the Ivy League school is the favorite of many to win. But these aren’t your grandaddy’s Bears s Cornell leads the nation with 43.4% shooting from 3. Conversely Temple holds opponents to 28% from the same distance. Something’s gotta give and we like Cornell in the upset.
(13) Siena vs. (4) Purdue – Everyone is jumping on the Siena band wagon as their upset special of the first round but the truth is that with no Robbie Hummel the Boilermakers are a double digit seed themselves and this is not that big of an upset. Although we normally swim against the tide, the current might be too strong for Purdue this time. We like Siena as well.

(14) Oakland vs. (3) Pittsburgh – All eyes will be on the Big East schools today as 1-3 record is the subject of much conjecture. It won’t be a laydown for Pitt but they’d better control Keith Benson or this could be much closer than people expect. The Pitt guards will control the flow in this one and we like Ptt.

(9) Florida State vs. (8) Gonzaga – This has all the makings of a classic 8/9 matchup even though the Zags are not going to sneak up on anyone anymore, particularly shooting about 50% from the floor. However the Seminoles have the best defense in the nation when it comes to FG %, so the only question is can they put up enough points to beat the Gonzaga and we don’t think so. We like the Zags.

(10) Missouri vs. (7) Clemson – Great game for a 7/10 as it’s the Big12 vs. ACC in the game of the turnover creators. Both teams force over 15 TO’s per game so this may be a sloppy low-scoring game but a close one. Tough to call, and the line reflects it at less than a bucket, we like the Tigers. Just kidding. Going with the dog, Missouri.

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Wofford – It was great to see how Wofford got it’s ticket to the dance and they don’t make many mistakes but the Badgers are huge up front, and have won some big games this year. A sleeper pick to make the sweet 16, we’re going that way.
(12) Utah State vs. (5) Texas A&M – Utah State will need all of their 42% from behind the arch if they’re going to sty with A & M who have a big advantage athletically. As the game wears on we expect that to show itself and like the Aggies.

(9) Louisville vs. (8) California – This could be the game of the first round and that’s saying something considering the games we’ve seen. Losing Amoke will hurt Cal but they might still have the advantage in the back court. However if they get into foul trouble all bets are off as the ‘The Ville’ has a deeper bench. We think the Pac-10 is still underrated and like Cal.

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont – Cuse’ will play without Onuaku but it won’t make a difference and it’s probably wise to give him the extra rest. The Orange has had a week to fester on their bad BET showing and will take it out on Vermont tonight. My only concern is the old axiom that if you come into the tournament cold, you’ll go out the same way, and they haven’t of late.

(10) Georgia Tech vs. (7) Oklahoma State – The Jackets might be battling to save their coaches job providing added motivation but they have to keep their turnovers down as they average 16 per game and that will be too many against a 7 seed from the B-12. Ok State can score so, the Jackets will have to D-up as well. The number on this game is 1.5 so that gives you an idea of how close it’s supposed to be. We like G-Tech to save a job. For at least another two days.

(12) New Mexico State vs. (5) Michigan State – New Mexico has the sympathy vote going for them in another 5/12 scare game but rebounding and defense will prove to be the deciding factor in this one and the Spartans will control both. - Michigan St.

(13) Houston vs. (4) Maryland – we think this one is going to be closer than people think. Maryland has played great down the stretch of the ACC season and we expect them to win the game but would apprehensive to lay 10 points in this one. Aubrey Coleman (26ppg) will have license to fire at will and if he gets hot this game could come down to a couple of possessions.

(16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. (1) Duke – Duke gets the ‘play in winner’ for some reason and tune up for their tough second round matchup with Cal/Louisville so the 25 points might be a tough cover but the game will not.

(15) UC Santa Barbara vs. (2) Ohio State – If this was game was in the “Thunder Dome” I would like the Gauchos chances better but a neutral court is the best their going to get. UCSB doesn’t have anyone to match up with Evan Turner who should have a huge game. Ohio State wins big and sits people for Sunday.

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