12:15 pm ET, Midwest region: (3) Georgetown vs. (11) NC State - A pretty even match-up overall as both teams are playing their best basketball at the right time, though especially NC state, which will be seeking their second straight upset win (topped #6 San Diego State in their opener). The battle will be likely won or lost by Wolfpack big men, who have a bit of a size advantage over the Hoyas, but either team could benefit from hot shooting by the guards. Looks like a wide-open, fun affair.
5:15 pm ET Midwest region: (1) North Carolina vs. (8) Creighton - Two questions immediately arise upon looking at this game: 1) Will John Henson suit up and play?, and 2) Will Harrison Barnes of the Tar Heels or Creighton's Doug McDermitt have the bigger game. Barnes and McDermott were teammates in high school when the two won state championships together in Iowa. Henson, the lanky, shot-blocking forward, sat out North Carolina's opening win over Vermont and is still nursing a sore wrist, suffered in the SEC final against Vanderbilt.
Whatever the outcome of those questions, North Carolina has been a dominant team all season and are the pick to prevail over the last survivor from the Missouri Valley conference, though Creighton has a solid attack and is one of the better defensive teams in the tourney. How well McDermott performs will be key.
6:10 pm ET West region: (7) Florida vs. (15) Norfolk State - The Gators had an easy time getting past Virginia, while Norfolk State upset Missouri in their opener. Florida may not have an answer (does anybody?) for the spartan big man, Kyle O'Quinn, though they'll surely do better than Missouri did handling him. The other question is whether Norfolk St. can maintain their poise, hot shooting and emotion after the biggest win of their program. No 15-seed winner over a 2 seed has ever won their following game. The spartans have a chance to make some more history.
7:45 pm ET, South region: (10) Xavier vs. (15) Lehigh - Like Norfolk State, the Mountain Hawks can make NCAA history if they take out Xavier, who upset 7-seed Notre Dame in their opener. After beating back #2 seed Duke, Norfolk State will need to stay focused on defense, lest Tu Holloway goes off for 30+ points and the Musketeers ride his hot hand. The Mountain Hawks are probably still hungry following the Duke win and Xavier looks like they could be another victim in a weak draw.
9:40 pm ET, east region: (3) Florida State vs. (6) Cincinnati - The opening weekend of the tournament concludes with a real hard-knocking contest. Both teams are primarily defensive-oriented, but have managed to find enough offense to reach this point. The battle in the paint and on the boards may be ferocious, but the feeling is that the Seminoles are battle-tested after beating North Carolina in the ACC final and then rallying to beat a very similar-looking St. Bonaventure team in their opening game. A hot hand for either team could decide this. Keep a close eye on Cincy guard Cashmere Wright, who, as the name implies, has a smooth game.
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