NCAA Tournament 2013: Predicting Sunday's Biggest Matchups

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 22:  Leslie McDonald #2, J.P. Tokoto #25, Brice Johnson #11 and Luke Davis #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate a 3-point shot from the bench in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. North Carolina won 78-71.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The fat of the NCAA tournament is starting to get trimmed.

With Saturday's results, you're beginning to see the very good teams separate themselves from the pack. It's great and exciting to see schools like Harvard and La Salle get huge wins; however, sooner or later, the clock strikes midnight for the Cinderellas and their time in the Big Dance reaches its conclusion.

Sunday has some great matchups. You've got a great combination of powerhouses going against one another to go along with the lower seeds looking for that next big upset.

No team has asserted itself as the team to beat. You look across the board and see No. 1 and 2 seeds with flaws that could be their eventual downfall. Sunday gives those top teams the chance to have that one dominating performance that makes everyone stand up and take notice.

Here are three of the biggest games and how they could finish.


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Creighton

Can Duke stop Doug McDermott? That will be the biggest question as the Blue Devils take on the Creighton Bluejays. Should that happen, Creighton will have a difficult time finding the points to get past Duke. Part of the problem with building so much around one player is that if he's neutralized, you've got to rely on players who aren't used to shouldering as much of a burden.

The Blue Devils players will not have forgotten that loss to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the round of 64 last season. They're clearly on a mission to atone for that embarrassing upset.

Duke's going to hold McDermott to 15-18 points, so this one will be up to the Bluejays' supporting cast. With Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Rasheed Sulaimon, there are too many weapons for what will be a very game Creighton team.

Duke Blue Devils 78, Creighton Blue Jays 72


No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 9 Temple

This will probably devolve into a matchup between Victor Oladipo and Khalif Wyatt. It's one team's best perimeter defender against the other team's top scorer. Just watching these two go at it should be fun enough.

Cody Zeller could have a huge game. The Owls got bullied underneath by the NC State Wolfpack. Temple doesn't have the kind of size to match up with Zeller if he's playing well.

In addition, Indiana really struggled from long range in its first game. The Hoosiers were one of the best three-point teams in the country. Having guys like Oladipo, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford struggle again is unlikely.

There's just too much to this Indiana team to see it getting overtaken by Temple. The Owls weren't a shooting team, so they won't be able to counter if the Hoosier's trio gets going.

Indiana Hoosiers 81, Temple Owls 69


No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 North Carolina

In what may be the most exciting third-round game, Roy Williams coaches against the Kansas Jayhawks for the third time since moving to North Carolina. The Tar Heels have met the Jayhawks twice under Williams, losing both times.

As they say, the third time's a charm.

The Tar Heels have been a different team since putting P.J. Hairston at power forward. UNC has the guards to be able to handle Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson and Ben McLemore.

Kansas, however, is at a major advantage in having Jeff Withey. James Michael McAdoo has done well this season, but he's going to have trouble with somebody as big as Withey.

In the end, it will come down to the Heels' guards out-playing the Jayhawks' guards. Hairston and Bullock will be fantastic, making people forget about how much trouble North Carolina had against good teams during the season.

North Carolina Tar Heels 84, Kansas Jayhawks 80


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