NCAA Brackets: Breaking Down Potential Dream Battles in Round of 32

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 17, 2013

Mar 25, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams (rear) and Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self (front) watch the closing minutes of the second half of the finals of the midwest region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Edward Jones Dome. Kansas won 80-67. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It's never too early to start looking ahead. 

Why else do you think ESPN's resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, is probably currently working on his 2014 Field of 68? 

So, even though this year's bracket was just made official and there are gaudy, potentially instant-classic second-round matchups scattered throughout the bracket, why not take a look forward to the third round?

That's when things really get enticing. 

With that being said, let's take a gander at the potential dream matchups awaiting us in the round of 32. 

Note: Be sure to click here to download a printable NCAA bracket. You can also follow along with a live, updated bracket here.


Kansas vs. North Carolina

Let's just say this. The committee certainly isn't upset whenever Kansas and North Carolina meet up in the tourney.

KU and UNC are two of the most storied college hoops programs in America, and individually, they bring a whole heap of viewers every time they play, no matter where they play. Together, and in the biggest tournament in the world, they would make for one of the most anticipated games of the year. Period. 

It also doesn't hurt that Kansas has a future NBA stud in Ben McLemore, while North Carolina, which plays at a blistering pace, has been a dangerous offensive force since switching to a four-guard lineup.

This one will have points, points and, maybe, if you're lucky, even some more points.


Michigan vs. VCU

Michigan and VCU don't have cupcakes in the round of 64—the Rams have to take on big man Zeke Marshall and Akron, while the Wolverines must try to slow down dynamic point guard Nate Wolters and South Dakota State—but assuming they avoid the upsets, we would be rewarded with gold.

Gold, Jerry!

Shaka Smart's VCU tends to win games by completely "HAVOC"-ing its opponents to death. If you don't know what HAVOC is, just imagine a bunch of rabid dogs full of caffeine chasing around a basketball-shaped piece of meat. 

The Rams' full-court press is arguably the most ferocious and effective in the country (and far more intelligent than the rabid dog example), and if you can't find a way to break the pressure, you will lose. They are first in America in opponent turnover percentage

Fortunately for Michigan, it has the best HAVOC defense in America in Trey Burke. 

Despite being one of the most relied-upon players in the country, the explosive point guard only averages two turnovers per game. He has a completely unreal combination of dynamite playmaking and heady, controlled, safe play.

As a result, the Wolverines are first in America in turnover percentage

If you've been following along, you might have noticed that's the team that forces the most mistakes against the team that makes the least amount of mistakes. Just like that movie with Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves (woah there, all-star cast), something's gotta give. 


Indiana vs. NC State

Hold on.

I've never really known why people tell viewers at home to "hold on," but if there's one game that can literally make you fall off your couch due to excitement, it's this one.

The No. 1 Hoosiers average 68.7 possessions per 40 minutes. That's marginally fast, ranking 109th in America, but if they are given the opportunity, they will take it into fifth gear. 

Well, the Wolfpack might just be the most likely team in the nation to let them, as they average 70.1 possessions and are also far more effective when in transition. 

So, essentially, what you would have here is an up-and-down game that features Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Lorenzo Brown, Rodney Purvis and C.J. Leslie, five of the most electric players in the country on the fast break. 

As it is, the Hoosiers average 80 points per game, and the Wolfpack hit 77.5 with questionable defensive play. Pit them together, and you're looking at a potential for 180 points. Each (just kidding, kind of).

So, yeah. Hold on.


*All stats via


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