Sunday, March 23, 2008

Plenty On the Line for Sunday

In the East Region, #7 Butler squares off against #2 Tennessee at 2:30 pm ET. The winner will advance to the regional semifinal to play the victor of #6 Oklahoma and #3 Louisville slated for 5:00 pm ET.

Tennessee is favored by 4 1/2 over the Bulldogs, but the Vols could have their hands full with Butler's style, which, like Tennessee's, is very guard oriented. The advantage Tennessee may have is with their forwards, Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith, both capable of lighting it up inside.

Louisville is favored by 7 over Oklahoma, though this could go either way. Both teams have significant inside presence players and foul trouble could be the deciding factor. Louisville needs production from David Padgett, who was pretty silent in Louisville's opening round win over Boise State. Oklahoma took out a tough St. Joseph's team and are poised for the upset.

#9 Arkansas faces a challenge from the tournament's top seed, North Carolina at 5:20 pm ET. While the Razorbacks took out a disheveled Indiana squad, the Tar Heels emptied their bench in a first-round rout of Mount St. Mary's and are favored by 11 points, the biggest point spread of the day. Look for Carolina to advance.

In the blown up Midwest Region, #13 Siena faces #12 Villanova at 12:10 pm. Siena crushed Vanderbilt in their opener, while Villanova came from 18 points down to slip past Clemson. Siena is getting 5 points, which is something of a surprise. Somebody is going to advance from this game to face #1 Kansas in the regional semi.

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The most interesting matchup of the day pits #10 Davidson against #2 Georgetown at 2:50 pm ET. Davidson has the nation's longest winning streak at 23 straight, while Georgetown is simply a monster, with abnormal height at all positions. The Hoyas are five point favorites, but they'll have to find a way to slow down Stephen Curry, who lit up Gonzaga for 40 in their opener.

Georgetown will defend well, but fouls could be a factor, especially for center Roy Hibbert. If he's allowed to roam free in the lane, it's going to be a long afternoon for the undersized Wildcats. Davidson has faced big men in the past, but Hibbert is really huge and has experience and post moves which make him difficult to defend.

In the South Region, #7 Miami goes up against #2 Texas at 2:15 pm ET. The Longhorns have a plethora of weapons and Miami may not be able to keep up on the scoreboard. If the Hurricanes are eliminated, it would leave North Carolina as the only representative remaining from the ACC.

#8 Mississippi State has an uphill climb with #1 Memphis at 4:45 pm ET, but the Bulldogs are one of the better defensive clubs in the nation. Memphis is favored by 9, but this one figures to be much closer. An upset is definitely a possibility. The winner gets Michigan State in the regionals.

The West Region offers another battle of bracket busters with #13 San Diego facing #12 Western Kentucky at 2:40 pm ET. The Hilltoppers are favored by a healthy 5 1/2 after knocking off Drake in their opener, but the Toreros are hot, having won six straight including knocking off Gonzaga in the WCC tourney final and UConn in round one. This one is really up for grabs, with the winner advancing to a date with the region's #1 seed, UCLA.

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