NCAA Tournament 2013 Bracket: Breaking Down Thursday's Best Matchups
The round of 64 in the 2013 NCAA tournament has tipped off, with Valparaiso battling Michigan State.
Thursday's action figures to provide plenty of highlights for college basketball fans, from rim-rattling dunks to sweet swishes that tickle the twine.
There are several underdogs who have a legitimate shot of upsetting favorites on Thursday, including sharp-shooting Matthew Dellavedova and the St. Mary's Gaels.
Here's a breakdown of Thursday's best matchups.
St. Mary's (11) vs. Memphis (6)
St. Mary's has the three-point shooting. Memphis has the athletes. This is going to be a joy to watch.
A lot of people are picking St. Mary's to upset Memphis (myself included). The Gaels—led by senior guard Matthew Dellavedova—rank 33rd in the country in three-point percentage. Dellavedova is averaging 16.0 points while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc and 86 percent from the free-throw line.
Memphis ranks 153rd in opponents' three-point percentage. The Tigers have to make sure to close out on the shooters of St. Mary's or it's going to be a long day for the No. 6 seed. Beyond Dellavedova, the Gaels also have Stephen Holt (35 percent from downtown).
On the other hand, St. Mary's ranks 114th in defensive efficiency, and Memphis loves to push the ball (ranked 55th in field goal attempts per game).
This is going to be an exciting game.
Davidson (14) vs. Marquette (3)
Marquette, despite being a three seed, has not been that impressive lately. It has many thinking Davidson could upset the Golden Eagles.
In its last two games, Marquette has lost to Notre Dame and barely beaten St. John's in overtime. The Golden Eagles also rank 84th in defensive efficiency, which could be a problem considering Davidson ranks ninth in offensive efficiency.
The Wildcats have two talented scorers in senior forward Jake Cohen and junior forward De'Mon Brooks.
On the other hand, Marquette does have an advantage on the glass (ranked 45th in rebounding rate), so the Golden Eagles could win this game with their rebounding.
FYI: A 13 seed has upset a No. 4 seed in each of the last five years in the NCAA tournament.
Belmont (11) vs. Arizona (6)
Who has the best chance of pulling off an upset?
Belmont ranks fourth in field goal percentage and 13th in offensive efficiency this season. On the other hand, Arizona ranks 48th in the nation in defensive efficiency and has been defending the three-ball better as of late (holding UCLA to 1-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc on March 15).
Belmont ranks 35th in the country in three-point percentage behind star Ian Clark, who is averaging 18.1 points while shooting 54 percent from the floor, 46 percent from downtown and 84 percent from the free-throw line. That's what makes Arizona's recent lockdown on the perimeter so important.
While some have Belmont upsetting Arizona on Thursday, I don't see it. Not only have the Wildcats been better defending the three-ball, they also have a distinct advantage on the glass (ranked 17th in rebounding rate).
This should be a close game, though.
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