NCAA Tournament 2013 Bracket: Day 3 Winners That Will Reach Sweet 16
The field of 64 is no more, as the action is officially underway at the 2013 NCAA tournament. Early favorites have advanced, a No. 5 versus No. 12 upset has already transpired and a No. 1 nearly went down.
Just another day of March Madness.
The question is, which of these Day 3 winners will be able to reach the Sweet 16? It won't be easy, as the round of 32 is being set as one of the greatest in recent memory.
No. 3 Marquette over No. 6 Butler, East Region
This is going to be one of the ugliest games you see all season. That's not a result of the quality of these two teams, but instead their traits.
Both Marquette and Butler are grind-it-out squads that emphasize defensive pressure over all else.
This will actually mark the second game of the season between Marquette and Butler. The first time they met, Butler's Rotnei Clarke hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 72-71 win.
Don't expect Marquette to let that happen during the round of 32.
Marquette barely escaped Davidson, but the Wildcats are an elite jump-shooting team. As for Butler, only one of its players is shooting better than 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Expect Marquette to exploit that weakness and turn up the defensive pressure en route to a tough, close victory.
No. 4 Saint Louis over No. 12 Oregon
This is going to be one of the most entertaining games of the NCAA tournament. Saint Louis plays overwhelming defense, while Oregon has proven to be a balanced offensive force.
Something's got to give.
Call me a sentimentalist, but I'm going to side with the Billikens. Their head coach, the legendary Rick Majerus, passed away in December, and that gives Saint Louis more to play for than any other team.
Considering it has the talent to support its momentum, Saint Louis will take this one home.
No. 3 Michigan State over No. 6 Memphis
The Michigan State Spartans picked up a statement victory over Valparaiso, while Memphis struggled to get by St. Mary's. With that being said, we'd be foolish to believe that's the story of this game.
Memphis is a dangerous team that will take the Spartans down to the wire
Joe Jackson is one of the most dynamically efficient playmakers in the nation. For the season, he's averaging 13.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals on a slash line of .527/.456/.735.
Unfortunately, Jackson simply does not have the supporting cast necessary to take down MSU. More specifically, the Tigers don't have enough to counter Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne down low.
It will be close, but the Spartans will advance
No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 9 Wichita State
The Gonzaga Bulldogs escaped No. 16 Southern University during the round of 64. The Wichita State Shockers decimated the Pittsburgh Panthers to open up the tournament.
Don't put your money on the Zags going down this easily.
Wichita State has the size to compete with Gonzaga, as it has five players on the roster that are at least 6'8". The Shockers also have two productive guards in Malcolm Armstead and Demetric Williams.
With that being said, Gonzaga has four players taller than 6'8" and two 7'0" monsters is Przemek Karnowski and Wooden Award finalist Kelly Olynyk.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs have one of the best backcourt trios in the nation with David Stockton, Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. On paper, they match up well against Wichita State and hold a substantial advantage.
On the court, it will play out the same way.