This year’s edition of March Madness has already lived up to its name, delivering several big upsets in the early rounds, and there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue in the round of 32.
Underdogs like Mercer and Stephen F. Austin were the heroes of the round of 64, but there are some other lightly regarded teams that are poised to make some waves in this round.
Read on to find a complete updated bracket and schedule for the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament and some bold predictions for the round’s biggest games.
|Round 3 Schedule, Day 3 of 2014 NCAA Tournament|
|Game||Time (ET)||TV Info||Prediction|
|(9) Pittsburgh vs. (1) Florida||12:15||CBS||Florida|
|(5) St. Louis vs. (4) Louisville||2:45||CBS||Louisville|
|(7) Texas vs. (2) Michigan||5:15||CBS||Michigan|
|(12) North Dakota State vs. (4) San Diego State||6:10||TNT||North Dakota State|
|(11) Dayton vs. (3) Syracuse||7:10||TBS||Syracuse|
|(7) Oregon vs. (2) Wisconsin||7:45||CBS||Oregon|
|(12) Harvard vs. (4) Michigan State||8:40||TNT||Michigan State|
|(7) Connecticut vs. (2) Villanova||9:40||TBS||Connecticut|
All Your Bracket Essentials:
(7) Oregon vs. (2) Wisconsin
The Badgers might be a little less plodding than they traditionally play under Bo Ryan, but their style still leaves them vulnerable to a quick team like the Ducks.
Ryan’s bunch is averaging 73.6 points per game, the highest-scoring squad the program’s fielded in Ryan’s 13 years at the helm, but that might not matter against the Ducks.
Oregon ranks seventh in the country with its 82 points per game, and the Ducks to love to play at a fast pace on both end of the court.
The Ducks force 13.6 turnovers per game, including 7.8 steals per contest.
The Badgers are certainly careful with the ball, coming in tops in the nation in fewest turnovers per game, but that still might not be enough to overcome the Ducks’ pressure.
"We're definitely going to try to speed them up a little bit," Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd told Jesse Temple of Fox Sports Wisconsin. "I'm going to get in the point guard full-court, make him show his handles off and then try to speed them up as much as we can.
Loyd is the leader of the Ducks’ excellent backcourt, a group that also includes Joseph Young, Damyean Dotson and top reserve Jason Calliste. Loyd, Young and Calliste all shoot over 35 percent from the three-point line, and their combination of shooting and driving ability will be a real problem for the Badgers.
Perimeter defense has been a real problem for Wisconsin this season, as Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal details.
The deep, athletic Ducks play a fast-paced tempo, shoot the 3-ball extremely well and, more pertinent to this particular matchup, have a trio guards who make a living by driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line. UW’s chances of advancing to the Sweet 16 quite possibly will rest with their ability to control Joseph Young, Johnathan Loyd and Jason Calliste off the dribble.
That’s a concern because, unlike any of Ryan’s first 12 teams at UW, these Badgers have consistently allowed opposing perimeter players to drive down the lane and get to the rim. Since protecting the rim is job one for UW’s traditionally stingy, team-oriented defense, the entire team has been compromised at times by what is normally a strength. The opponent shot better than 50 percent in five of the Badgers’ seven losses.
The Ducks have plenty in the frontcourt as well. Wisconsin likely has the size advantage thanks to Frank Kaminsky’s seven-foot frame. Oregon’s Mike Moser has been coming on recently, averaging 13.3 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Reserve Elgin Cook has also started to heat up recently, as he chipped in 23 points, eight rebounds and this big putback against BYU.
If Cook and Moser can at least battle the Badgers to a draw on the inside, the Ducks will definitely be able to take this one.
They’ve got the speed and accuracy on the perimeter to give Wisconsin trouble, but if they can match their physicality as well, this should be an easy upset for them.
While Ryan’s experience is certainly formidable, the Ducks look like a very good bet in this one.