DAYTON, Ohio – Just some thoughts on today’s NCAA tournament games below.
I actually didn’t do terribly in trying to help with my analysis earlier this week. On my “official” bracket I guessed correctly on 23 of 32 first-round games, and considering the number of upsets, I’m patting myself on the back.
I generally do. Here goes…
Michigan – VCU: To me, it’s the must-see game of the day, though there certainly will be good games at night. VCU probably isn’t as great as it looked against Akron, but Michigan has been trending in the wrong direction for a month now. Trey Burke will create scoring opportunities by beating VCU’s pressure, but Michigan’s inside struggles and inconsistent shooting are of major concern. VCU’s Troy Daniels is locked in, and I think the Rams win another one
VCU 68, Michigan 66
Michigan State – Memphis: The Spartans have a lot going for them, including an advantage inside with Derrick Nix and the home-crowd advantage in Auburn Hills. They’ll be a tough out for a gifted Memphis team that played a smart, steady game in holding off Saint Mary’s on Thursday. Expect a close one throughout, but wait ’til later for a true upset
Michigan State 65, Memphis 58
Colorado State – Louisville: Strange things happen in March, but not in this game.
Louisville 72, Colorado State 52
Harvard – Arizona: The wide-open West region gives us another intriguing pairing. Harvard comes in off a huge upset of New Mexico and won’t be intimidated on this stage. Arizona has the talent to make a deep run and should see the door open here, but don’t expect it to be easy. Maybe Mark Lyons vs. Ohio State next Thursday?
Arizona 67, Harvard 65
Oregon – Saint Louis: The Ducks aren’t your typical 12 seed and are playing their best basketball right now. So are the Billikens, who can play with anybody. Unfortunately, Louisville is probably next, but this will be an outstanding game.
Saint Louis 58, Oregon 55
Butler – Marquette: I’m not sure if anybody knows just how Marquette managed to win that game Thursday against Davidson. I am sure nobody wants to see Butler in a tournament setting. The longer the Bulldogs hang around, the more dangerous they become.
Butler 65, Marquette 60
Wichita State – Gonzaga: Not your typical No. 1 seed vs. No. 9 matchup, especially when compared to Louisville-Colorado State. Wichita State has guards, experience and won’t be rattled. Gonzaga seems to be playing a little burdened, and though I expect the Zags to be better than they were against Southern, I don’t think they’ll be good enough.
Wichita 63, Gonzaga 60
Cal – Syracuse: The Orange cruised over Montana by 47 in the first round and Cal showed it’s also not your typical 12 seed by running past UNLV. Cal has the guards (as previously advertised) to take on the Syracuse zone, and I’d expect the Bears to be right in it all the way. Upset Saturday? Yes, why not? Upset Saturday it is.
Cal 68, Syracuse 67