March Madness 2013: Early Predictions for Intriguing Third-Round Matchups

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March Madness 2013: Early Predictions for Intriguing Third-Round Matchups
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It's time for the shift from quantity to quality. 

The first two days of the NCAA tournament are undoubtedly exhilarating, but part of the appeal is the sheer volume of games in a short amount of time. As evidenced on Thursday, there are still plenty of blowouts and overmatched teams.

That all changes in the Round of 32.

There are still a good amount of games on the slate, but the matchups and head-to-head talent are far more enticing.

Let's take a closer look at some of the intriguing battles that are already set up. 

Note: A printable bracket and live, updated bracket can both be found at the bottom of this page. 

Also note: All stats come courtesy of, unless noted otherwise. 


No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 4 St. Louis

Oregon is not a 12 seed. There might be a little "12" next to their name right where you have "Oklahoma State" crossed out on your bracket, and the selection committee might think so, but the Ducks are not a 12 seed.

Nevertheless, while they are far better than some might realize, and Thursday's domination of Oklahoma State backs up that notion, St. Louis is still incredibly dangerous.

The Billikens won't win any beauty contests, but they are made up of eight strong, experienced, physical rotation players who are constantly prepared. Against New Mexico State, a team that plays a 6'8" guy, two 6'10" guys and one 7'5" giant, they still won the physical battle by an easy 20 points. 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This one is going to turn into a defensive battle, and although picking against Arsalan Kazemi is nearly blasphemous in my book, the Billikens are a special team capable of slowing down the Ducks and making them uncomfortable. 

Oregon 58, St. Louis 66


No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 3 Michigan State

These teams couldn't really be coming off wins that are any more different than each other. 

Michigan State pushed around Valparaiso, controlled the glass and absolutely cake-walked to a 65-54 win.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Memphis, on the other hand, used its athletic prowess to control St. Mary's for most of the game, but it still clearly wasn't a top-notch performance, as the Tigers missed a bunch of free throws down the stretch and let the Gaels back into the game. 

Don't be surprised if that momentum carries into this matchup. Joe Jackson has the speed to frustrate Keith Appling, but the Spartans are better defensively and have the big boys inside to better negate the super-athletic D.J. Stephens than St. Mary's did.

And Tom Izzo. Having Tom Izzo always helps.

Memphis 65, Michigan State 74


No. 6 Butler vs. No. 3 Marquette

Get ready for an all-out war in what will be a rematch of this thriller:

Butler held Bucknell to 37.1 percent shooting—and amazingly enough, everyone not named Joe Willman (Joe Willman!) to 28.3 percent—en route to a grind-it-out, rim-bruising win. 

Marquette, meanwhile, played a similar battle with Davidson, but needed three straight treys down the stretch (after going 1-of-12) to pull off the miraculous win. 

Anything is possible in what will be a close, low-scoring game, but I refuse to bet against Brad Stevens in a tournament game (via College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster):

Moreover, Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham won't combine to shoot 5-of-19 like they did on Thursday.

Butler 63, Marquette 61 


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