The round of 32 in the 2013 NCAA tournament features several teams that few thought would survive their opening game, but all the upset winners will face tough tests in their next contests.
Recording an upset in the second round is always a joyous occasion for a program, and many of the most memorable moments in tournament history have come when a virtual unknown has taken down a blue blood.
But avoiding an emotional letdown after a big win is extremely difficult, and this will be a challenge for each team that earned a surprising victory.
Here are my picks for each of Sunday’s games involving an upset winner.
No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Florida
When: 6:10 p.m. ET
Minnesota surprised very few people with its upset win over a depleted UCLA team. The Bruins were without second-leading scorer Jordan Adams due to a broken foot.
Gophers senior forward Trevor Mbakwe predictably dominated the glass with 12 boards, while Andre Hollins lit up the scoreboard with 28 points. But now, Tubby Smith’s team faces a significantly more difficult challenge.
Florida is healthy and coming off a dominant win over Northwestern State. Billy Donovan’s team has its eye on a trip to Atlanta for the Final Four.
Minnesota was lucky to draw UCLA in the second round, but its good fortune is over. The Gators will roll to a convincing victory in this game.
Prediction: Florida 72, Minnesota 58
No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
When: 7:10 p.m. ET
Florida Gulf Coast pulled off the surprise of the tournament with its victory over No. 2 Georgetown, and the Eagles showed off an incredible amount of talent in the upset.
Now, Andy Enfield’s team will have to take on another stout defensive team in San Diego State. The Aztecs, like the Hoyas, rely on one player to spark their offense.
Stopping Jamaal Franklin and breaking down San Diego State’s defense will be the keys to victory for Florida Gulf Coast in this game.
But the Eagles already accomplished a more difficult task by stopping Otto Porter and tearing apart Georgetown’s defense. This Cinderella story still has another chapter.
Prediction: Florida Gulf Coast 67, San Diego State 62
No. 12 Ole Miss vs. No. 13 La Salle
When: 7:40 p.m. ET
Which upset winner has the best chance to reach the Sweet 16?
This is the only matchup of the day featuring two upset winners, and it should be an extremely entertaining game to watch.
The guards on both of these teams can light it up from long range, and this contest will likely feature a shootout between La Salle’s Ramon Galloway and Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson.
Galloway has 40 total points in his two tournament games, while Henderson put up 19 points against Wisconsin.
There will be plenty of points scored in this game, but Galloway is too hot right now to get taken out by the Bulldogs. La Salle’s improbable run will continue.
Prediction: La Salle 81, Ole Miss 77
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