NCAA Bracket 2013: Juiciest First-Round Matchups

Sam StrykerContributor IIIMarch 20, 2013

Vander Blue and Marquette are set to square off with Davidson.
Vander Blue and Marquette are set to square off with Davidson.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament selection committee gifted fans with several juicy matchups when they seeded the bracket on Sunday, with several games standing out as must-see contests.

Whether they feature high-scoring offenses or battles in the paint, these three matchups should be entertaining for fans—and could send the blood pressure of the coaches involved soaring. 

No. 3 Marquette and No. 14 Davidson are set to square off Thursday in Lexington, Ky., in what should be a hotly-contested matchup despite what the teams’ seeding might indicate. 

The Wildcats are riding a 17-game win streak and have not lost since Jan. 14. Davidson can score—the team is 38th in the nation, averaging 73.7 points per game. The Wildcats also shoot well, ranking 42nd in the country with a .463 field-goal percentage. 

Davidson also rolls deep, with seven players averaging at least 20 minutes per game. 

Meanwhile, Marquette finished third in the Big East with a 14-4 conference record. The Golden Eagles boast wins over Notre Dame, Syracuse, Georgetown and Pitt. 

Marquette passes well, averaging 14.4 assists per game and can shoot, averaging a .467 field-goal percentage as a team, 34th in the nation.

The Golden Eagles may be the favorite in this matchup, but expect the Wildcats to give them a run for their money in the first round of the tournament. 

No. 8 Colorado State and No. 9 Missouri will meet up in the first round of the Midwest Region in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, and the contest should be fierce. 

The Rams can score—they average 73.1 points per game, good for 50th in the nation—and they can control the boards. Colorado State is fourth in the nation in rebounding, averaging 40.4 boards per game as a team. 

But the Tigers have some sticky mitts of their own. Missouri averages 41.4 rebounds per game, ranking second in the nation.

Led by strong guard play, the Tigers also boast a high-octane offense. Mizzou averages 76.2 points per game, 20th in the country. 

Fans will certainly enjoy a Colorado State-Mizzou matchup that should feature lots of scoring and competition in the paint. 

Friday’s matchup in Kansas City between the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers and No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels has all the makings of a very competitive contest. 

The Rebels should give the Badgers some serious trouble, as Ole Miss scores and rebounds well. The Rebels average a scorching 78.2 points and 38.8 boards per game, good for seventh and 19th in the nation, respectively. 

Ole Miss also boasts an impressive resume, with a victory over then-No. 13 Florida on March 17 to take the SEC championship and a win over then-No. 10 Missouri on Jan. 12.

But the Badgers have looked sharp lately, with consecutive wins over then-No. 6 Michigan and No. 3 Indiana in the Big 10 tournament, before falling to Ohio State in the finals. 

Wisconsin also has several other impressive wins on the season, toppling the Hoosiers on Jan. 15 and Michigan on Feb. 9. 

Wisconsin and Ole Miss have proven they are the types of teams to rise to the occasion. Expect a competitive and entertaining matchup between the two squads come Friday. 

All statistics via ESPN