Yesterday’s NCAA Tournament action saw a 43-point
scorer, the annual No. 5-No. 12 upset and several high-ranked teams
surviving scares from double-digit seeds. With half of the
first-round games still left, Daily basketball writer Daniel
Bremmer takes a look at what’s ahead today:
No. 5 Illinois vs. No. 12 Murray State
12:25 p.m. — Columbus, Ohio
The Illini won the Big Ten and were runners up in the conference
tournament. Their reward: a No. 5 seed. Dee Brown and company will
prove they were under-seeded with an easy win.
No. 4 Cincinnati vs. No. 13 East Tenn. St.
2:45 p.m. — Columbus, Ohio
Coach Bob Huggins reinstated Robert Whaley — who had left
Cincy for personal reasons last month — days before the
tourney. Does that seem shady — like Huggins’
graduation rates — to anyone else?
No. 7 Xavier vs. No. 10 Louisville
9:30 p.m. — Orlando, Florida
This could be the most evenly matched game of the day.
Xavier’s Romain Sato did it all during the A-10 Tourney, but
Francisco Garcia and Luke Whitehead make a tough Cardinal duo.
No. 2 Mississippi St. vs. No. 15 Monmouth
7:10 p.m. — Orlando, Florida
If you’re looking for a Cindarella, Monmouth isn’t
it. The only game Monmouth wins against Mississippi State is the
game to decide whose block ‘M’ logo is better. That
Hawk is pretty sweet.
EAST RUTHERFORD REGION
No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Richmond
7:20 p.m. — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
After winning the Big Ten tourney, Wisconsin may be the most
under-seeded team in the tournament, continuing the
conference’s trend. A home game (basically) against the
Spiders shouldn’t be a problem.
No. 3 Pittsburgh vs. No. 14 Central Florida
9:40 p.m. — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pitt would be a No. 1 seed if not for its loss to Connecticut in
the Big East Tourney. Central Florida went 25-5 this season, but
me, you and three friends could do the same in the Atlantic Sun
No. 7 Memphis vs. No. 10 South Carolina
12:30 p.m. — Kansas City, Missouri
Memphis’s Sean Banks is one of the best freshmen in the
tournament. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 24 a game over his
last seven and should give the Gamecocks a handful.
No. 2 Oklahoma St. vs. No. 13 E. Washington
2:50 p.m. — Kansas City, Missouri
Oklahoma State won the Big XII championship. No one’s even
heard of Eastern Washington. The Cowboys are scoring at a pace of
79 per game and only giving up 63. This one could get ugly.
ST. LOUIS REGION
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 16 Florida A&M
7:10 p.m. — Columbus, Ohio
Any chance the Wildcats fall to a team that’s under .500
(15-16), like Florida A&M? Sure. But there’s probably a
better chance of a Bo and Woody Big House picnic in a
No. 8 Washington vs. No. 9 UAB
9:30 p.m. — Columbus, Ohio
As proven yesterday, No. 8-No. 9 games are great, and this
should be no exception. Washington can play with anyone —
just ask Stanford. UAB’s balanced attack features six guys
averaging seven or more.
No. 5 Providence vs. No. 12 Pacific
7:25 p.m. — Kansas City, Missouri
Providence shouldn’t have too much trouble taking care of
Pacific, since the obligatory No. 5-No. 12 upset already came
yesterday. Plus, Providence’s Ryan Gomes is better than
anyone in the Big West.
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Illinois-Chicago
9:45 p.m. — Kansas City, Missouri
Bill Self will have all the pressure in the world on him in his
first tourney game at Kansas. Keith Langford and Wayne Simien
should allow Self to breathe easy until at least the second
No. 6 Boston College vs. No. 11 Utah
12:30 p.m. — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Boston College is red hot. The Eagles have won 10 of their last
12 coming into the tourney, with their two losses coming to Pitt
and Providence. Any way Keith Van Horn’s still eligible for
No. 3 Georgia Tech vs. No. 14 Northern Iowa
2:50 p.m. — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The fact that you probably can’t name one player on
Northern Iowa doesn’t bode well for the Panthers’
chances. Georgia Tech managed a 9-7 record in a ridiculously tough
No. 6 Vanderbilt vs. No. 11 Western Mich.
2:35 p.m. — Orlando, Florida
Matt Freije can shoot the lights out and leads Vandy with 19 per
game. But if you’re looking for an upset, Western Michigan
could be the team. T0he Broncos have only dropped four games this
No. 3 N.C. State vs. No. 14 La.-Lafayette
12:15 p.m. — Orlando, Florida
N.C. State probably didn’t earn a No. 3 seed, and with a
name like the Ragin’ Cajuns, Louisiana-Lafayette probably
deserves a win. Don’t count on it, unless the Cajuns can stop
the Wolfpack leader Julius Hodge.