Wait, you want more college basketball? If two days loaded with March Madness action did not satiate your ravenous appetite for NCAA tournament action, perhaps two more will.
Saturday features just eight games, but fans shouldn't complain about a schedule that offers a solid 12 hours of craziness.
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Louisville, Michigan State, Florida, Villanova and Wisconsin are among the 16 squads that will suit up on Saturday. The day features four lower seeds that emerged victorious during the second round, but No. 9 Pittsburgh could hardly have been considered an underdog against wounded No. 8 Colorado.
|Time (ET)||Team A||Team B||TV||Predicted Winner|
|12:15 p.m.||No. 1 Florida||No. 9 Pittsburgh||CBS||Florida|
|2:45 p.m.||No. 4 Louisville||No. 5 St. Louis||CBS||Louisville|
|5:15 p.m.||No. 2 Michigan||No. 7 Texas||CBS||Michigan|
|6:10 p.m.||No. 4 San Diego State||No. 12 North Dakota State||TNT||San Diego State|
|7:10 p.m.||No. 3 Syracuse||No. 11 Dayton||TBS||Syracuse|
|7:45 p.m.||No. 2 Wisconsin||No. 7 Oregon||CBS||Wisconsin|
|8:40 p.m.||No. 4 Michigan State||No. 12 Harvard||TNT||Michigan State|
|9:40 p.m.||No. 2 Villanova||No. 7 Connecticut||TBS||UConn|
Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Wisconsin and Oregon are both feeling good after their first taste of the 2014 tournament.
The Badgers decimated American University, limiting the Eagles to 11 field goals and 17 turnovers. The No. 2 seed made half of their shots and more than doubled their opponent's point tally in a 75-35 rout.
2-seed Wisconsin outscores 15-seed American 43-13 in the 2nd half to cruise to a 75-35 victory. #MarchMadness— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 20, 2014
By comparison, Oregon's victory doesn't quite pack the same punch, but the Ducks scored 87 points despite going cold from behind the arc. Led by 23 points from Elgin Cook, they also made exactly half of their shot attempts against BYU.
Before unraveling against UCLA, Oregon was poised to enter the tournament with a full head of steam. The Ducks had notched eight straight victories, including a win over Arizona, to solidify a favorable seed.
The name of this game is offense: Oregon ranks 20th with a 114.9 offensive rating; Wisconsin rates 13th at 115.6. Wisconsin runs a slower pace, the Badgers only score 73.5 points per game to Oregon's 81.8, but they work at a more efficient clip.
Wisconsin knows that a much faster offense awaits. Guard Josh Gasser discussed the squads' diverging philosophies with FOX Sports' Jesse Temple.
It's crazy. They are just completely opposite in their philosophies, in what they're trying to do, even their personnel. But you know what? We've played a lot of different teams throughout the year. We've played teams that like to slow it down. We play teams that like to push it in transition. We're pretty much used to anything by now.
The two schools will push and shove to control the game's tempo, but Wisconsin owns the better defense to juxtapose an effective offense with its steady pace. Oregon will fight tough, but expect the Badgers to escape to the Sweet 16.
Prediction: Wisconsin 79, Oregon 75
San Diego State vs. North Dakota State
Aside from being state schools, these two teams don't share much in common.
While San Diego State relies on a stout defense ranked seventh by KenPom.com's efficiency rating, North Dakota State is looking to make a surprising run on the strength of its terrific offense—rated 20th.
The Bison have now strung together 10 consecutive victories after fending off the Oklahoma Sooners in overtime. Lawrence Alexander's 28 points, eight rebounds and four assists guided his squad to an 80-75 victory that extended the rich tradition of No. 12 seeds delivering March Madness upsets.
While the Aztecs finished the season 30-4, its Mountain West Conference title bout with New Mexico displayed the perils of limited offensive firepower.
Both teams are a bounce here and there from watching this game from home, but one lived up to expectations while the other is the underdog with nothing to lose. All this points the Bison's direction, but the larger sample size still supports San Diego State as the stronger team throughout the year.
Prediction: San Diego State 66, North Dakota State 60
Florida vs. Pittsburgh
Don't read too much into Pittsburgh's demonstrative victory over Colorado.
The Panthers clobbered the Buffaloes during a 77-48 victory, outscoring them 46-18 in the first half. They started the game on an unbelievable tear, as highlighted by ESPN Stats & Info.
Right now, Pittsburgh has more assists (10) than Colorado has points (9). Pitt leads it, 33-9. http://t.co/dC1FtIwRzY— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 20, 2014
While the lower seed, Pittsburgh received a favorable draw against a wounded opponent. Colorado played without guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the team in points and assists per game. This was already a unit that ranked 164th on KenPom.com's offensive efficiency scale.
Pittsburgh deserves credit for cruising past Colorado, but those filling out round-by-round brackets should not get fooled into reaching for an upset. The Florida Gators are still the nation's No. 1 team. They still hold a 27-game winning streak dating back to early December.
They didn't deliver their best performance against Albany, which head coach Billy Donovan readily admitted in an Associated Press report, via ESPN.com, after their 12-point victory.
It was good enough to win, but is it good enough to play against a team like Pittsburgh? Probably not. But I'm proud of our guys because they found a way to win when they didn't play their best. And you know what? They've always been really good at being able to learn valuable lessons in a lot of ways. So hopefully they'll be able to come back and correct that and do a little bit better.
Florida may have entered that bout tucked in cruise control, but a close game by No. 1 vs. No. 16 standards should have woken up the team enough to avoid an early exit. Pittsburgh is a great club that could have trekked further down the bracket under better circumstances, but the Gators are too good to drop their second game.
Prediction: Florida 76, Pittsburgh 67