Saturday, March 17, 2012

NCAA Round of 32 Saturday Previews

A few quick notes on a few of Saturday's featured match-ups:

12:15 pm ET, East Region - (1) Syracuse vs. (8) Kansas State - Plenty of people looking for the upset here, after Syracuse struggled against UNC-Asheville in their opener, but the Orange don't play well against smaller, quicker teams normally. Kansas State offers plenty of size, and their big man inside (Henriquez) will benefit from Fab Melo's absense. A god one to start off a full day of hoops.

2:45 pm ET, East Region - (2) Ohio State vs. (7) Gonzaga - Both teams cruised through the opening round, but Gonzaga completely tore up the 10 seed, West Virginia, playing a boatload of subs, so the Zags will be poised for the upset. Could be the game of the day, but Gonzaga will keep this one close and could easily be seen winning it.

5:15 pm ET, West Region - (3) Marquette vs. (6) Murray State - A barn-burner from start to finish in a game featuring two teams with absolutely no quit in them. After the Racers took out Colorado State handily, the selection committee was probably wondering why they seeded the Racers as a 6 and not a 3 or 4. At 31-1, Murray State has the best record in the country. Marquette is playing at a very high level right now and will put forth a good showing, but nobody should be surprised with a Murray State win here.

7:10 pm ET, South Region - (4) Indiana vs. (12) VCU - How did VCU ever get seeded a 12. The best defensive team in the tournament by many standards, the Rams took out a very good Wichita State team in the opening round in yet another selection committee blunder: putting two of the best mid-major teams up against each other in a first round game. Indiana is a very good representative of the Big Ten, but this is what hoops fans want to see, the smaller schools up against the big conferences. VCU has a great deal more experience over the youthful Hoosiers, and should win this one going away.

7:45 pm ET, South Region - (1 Kentucky vs. (8) Iowa State - The Cyclones are possibly the sleeper of the tournament, coming out of the very tough Big 12, where they went 12-6 and split games with Kansas and Baylor and beat Kansas State twice. Their win over UConn was a sleep-walk, so it will be interesting to see what the Cyclones do against some real competition. Ditto for Kentucky, which waltzed through the SEC, but were beaten in the conference tourney final by Vanderbilt. Their slaughter of Western Kentucky in the opener was a snooze-fest, but the Wildcats have a not-so-secret weapon named Terrence Jones, who's had three double-doubles in his last four games and just missed in the other, scoring 14 points with 9 boards against Florida in the SEC Tourney.

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