NCAA Tournament 2013 Predictions: Projecting Winners of Saturday's Games

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NCAA Tournament 2013 Predictions: Projecting Winners of Saturday's Games
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The upsets, breakout performances and madness have only just begun.

The 2013 NCAA tournament will continue on Saturday as the round of 32 tips off. And while upsets highlighted much of the second-round action on Thursday and Friday, Cinderella is sure to be dancing again this weekend. 

Here we'll predict the winner of all eight third-round matchups on Saturday. 

 

No. 5 VCU Over No. 4 Michigan, South Region

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The Rams force turnovers better than any team in college basketball (11.8 steals per game), and that doesn't bode well for their opponent on Saturday afternoon.

Yes, No. 4 Michigan will have a home-court advantage playing in Auburn Hills, but after watching VCU (the only No. 5 seed to win in the second round) dismantle Akron on Thursday night, it's safe to say that Shaka Smart's team is more than capable of earning a berth in the Sweet 16.

The Rams recorded 11 steals and forced 21 turnovers in their 88-42 win over the Zips and will come into Saturday with loads of momentum. Meanwhile, Player of the Year candidate Trey Burke is coming off a six-point, 2-of-12 shooting performance for Michigan against South Dakota State.

In a matchup this even, I like the hotter, more dangerous team. 

 

No. 3 Michigan State Over No. 6 Memphis, Midwest Region

I can't bet against Tom Izzo in the round of 32. Michigan State looked strong and ready in its second-round win over Valparaiso on Thursday while Memphis looked vulnerable late in its narrow victory over Saint Mary's.

 

No. 1 Louisville Over No. 9 Colorado State, Midwest Region

Too much pressure defense from the Cardinals. I look for top overall seed Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16 with ease on Saturday in Lexington.

 

No. 14 Harvard Over No. 6 Arizona, West Region

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The Wildcats are favored by 10 points in this game according to Covers.com, but I'm riding the Harvard bandwagon until it crashes. The Crimson intrigued me before the NCAA tournament began, but now they really have my attention after knocking off New Mexico in the round of 64.

Harvard is the sixth-best three-point shooting team in America at 40.3 percent and plays at a slow pace that often frustrates its opponent.

It also doesn't hurt that Arizona is just an average offensive team, shooting 45 percent from the field as a team this year. I'm not confident in the Wildcats in a game where possessions will be limited, and that's why I'm putting on my big boy pants and going with 14th-seeded Harvard to crash the Sweet 16 party on Saturday.

 

Which Cinderella has the best shot to advance on Saturday?

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No. 4 Saint Louis Over No. 12 Oregon, Midwest Region

The Billikens' 14th-ranked scoring defense will be too much to handle for the overachieving Ducks in San Jose. Saint Louis is playing with great energy right now, and although Oregon is hot, Jim Crews' squad has won five in a row itself.

 

No. 3 Marquette Over No. 6 Butler, East Region

After surviving a scare against 14th-seeded Davidson, look for Vander Blue and the Marquette Golden Eagles to make more than four three-pointers and book their third straight trip to the Sweet 16.

 

No. 9 Wichita State Over No. 1 Gonzaga, West Region

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The upset of the day will be No. 9 Wichita State over No. 1 Gonzaga in the West Region. The Shockers put on a dominant display against No. 8 Pitt on Thursday, getting to the foul line 41 times and blowing out the Panthers by 18 points despite shooting just 38 percent from the field and 10 percent from downtown.

Plus, Mark Few's Bulldogs looked awfully shaky on Thursday, surviving 16th-seeded Southern by six points.

Even though this game will be played in Salt Lake City, I like Wichita State's physical style and hard-nosed defense to prevail in the end. This tournament has had its fair share of upsets already, but this one would top the scales. 

 

No. 4 Syracuse Over No. 12 California, East Region

The Golden Bears will struggle against Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone. Look for the Orange to cover the 7.5-point spread despite playing way out west in San Jose. Syracuse is poised for a Sweet 16 showdown with Indiana next week.

 

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