Breaking Down the Second Round: Eight Guaranteed Winners for Saturday
After one of the most exciting opening days in NCAA Tournament history, Thursday's winners return to action on Saturday.
While Thursday was full of upsets, Saturday will provide a return to normalcy as most of the favorites will prevail and move on to the Sweet 16.
Here is a game-by-game look at how it will play out.
Villanova vs. St. Mary's
After narrowly avoiding one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history with an overtime victory over Robert Morris, Villanova will need to bring its A game to get past St. Mary's.
The Gaels looked impressive in their victory over Richmond. A team that may not get the attention it deserves due to the proverbial West Coast bias, St. Mary's is very impressive on both ends of the court.
Villanova will need a solid performance from senior leader Scottie Reynolds, who was 2-of-15 from the field on Thursday. Fellow backcourt mate Corey Fisher will need to play better as well.
St. Mary's big man Omar Samhan is a force down low and posted one of the best performances of the first round with 29 points and 12 rebounds on Thursday. He will be a difficult matchup for Villanova down low.
The experience and senior leadership of Villanova will be the difference in this hard-fought second-round matchup.
Final Score: Villanova 78, St. Mary's 75
Butler vs. Murray St.
Two days after pulling off the upset over fourth-seed Vanderbilt, Murray State will try to continue its Cinderella run though the Big Dance.
The Butler Bulldogs looked impressive in their first-round win over UTEP and answered any questions experts had about their size down low.
Big man Matt Howard wil be key once again for Butler. Shelvin Mack and Gordan Hayward round out Butler's big three.
Murray State is one of the more balanced teams in the tournament with all five starters averaging between 10 and 11 points per game.
At 31-4, the Racers have one of the best records in the nation but have not been challenged to the extent Butler has.
The Bulldogs have not lost a game since Dec. 22, having won 21 in a row. Saturday will be no different as Butler is battle tested and too talented for Murray State to handle.
Final Score: Butler 66, Murray State 61
Tennessee vs. Ohio
Two days after pulling off the biggest upset of the tournament, the Ohio Bobcats return to the court for a date with Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers.
Ohio was on fire against the Georgetown Hoyas and look to continue their hot shooting against the streaky Volunteers.
Tennessee has had an up-and-down season with wins over Kansas and Kentucky to go along with some disappointing losses.
Tennessee is still very talented despite the suspensions earlier in the year of some key players.
The backcourt of Ohio University is very talented with Indiana transfer Armon Bassett and freshman D.J. Cooper and will pose a threat to the Volunteers with their ability to get to the basket and hit open shots.
In the end, Tennessee is just too talented for a mediocre team from the MAC. The Bobcats have outgrown their slipper, and their run will come to an end on Saturday in Providence.
Final Score: Tennessee 74, Ohio 65
Kansas vs. Northern Iowa
The Kansas Jayhawks showed why they are college basketball's elite team, pulling away from Lehigh en route to a 90-74 victory Thursday. The Jayhawks have more balance and experience than anybody in the country.
The competition will get a little stiffer in the second round in the form of Northern Iowa. The Panthers were solid in their win over UNLV, hitting clutch shots down the stretch.
At 29-4, Northern Iowa is no stranger to winning and has a win over Siena under its belt. Their balance and discipline will allow Northern Iowa to hang around for a while.
In the end, the sheer talent and experience of Kansas, led by Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, will be too much for Northern Iowa to handle.
Final Score: Kansas 65, Northern Iowa 57
Baylor vs. Old Dominion
After surviving a close hard-fought contest against Sam Houston State, Baylor will come out in the second round ready to play.
Old Dominion hails from the Colonial Athletic Association, a conference known for some big wins in March. After pulling off what some would call an upset over Notre Dame in Round One, they will look to do the same against Baylor
A solid defensive-minded team, Old Dominion has beaten Big East powers Georgetown and now Notre Dame.
Baylor is one of the more intriguing teams in the Tournament. Blessed with talent at every position, Baylor has all the ingredients to make a Final Four run.
Point guard Tweedy Carter and two man LaceDarius Dunn combine for nearly 35 points a game and will be too athletic for Old Dominion to handle.
Final Score: Baylor 69, Old Dominion 59
New Mexico vs. Washington
After struggling against Montana, the New Mexico Lobos need to have a much better showing to beat the upset-minded Washington Huskies.
Washington was impressive in a victory over Marquette and is poised to do the same against New Mexico.
Led by head coach Steve Alford, the Lobos have only lost one game over the last two and a half months. Washington, on the other hand, hails from the much-maligned Pac-10.
Forward Quincy Pondexter averages nearly 20 points per game, and guard Isaiah Thomas, who averages over 17 points a game, form one of the best duos in the tournament.
Look for Washington to pull the upset here and earn the Pac-10 some much-needed respect.
Final Score: Washington 70, New Mexico 67
Kansas State vs. BYU
Arguably the premier game on Saturday's slate, Kansas State and BYU has classic written all over it.
Pitting two teams who are known for playing in close games, Kansas State and BYU has all the makings of being one to remember.
Led by do it all guard Jimmer Fredette, BYU is one of the top squads in the country. One of the best three point shooting teams in the nation, BYU will give Kansas St. all it can handle.
Kansas St. has an experienced backcourt with Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente combining to average 35 points a game.
If Kansas St. can get a little help from their big men they have the talent to make a run all the way to Indianapolis.
Expect this to be close throughout and maybe even a buzzer beater.
Final Score: Kansas St. 80, BYU 79
Kentucky vs. Wake Forest
Kentucky looked rather impressive in their first round dismantling of East Tennessee St. and that run will continue Saturday in New Orleans.
Freshman guard Eric Bledsoe exploded for 29 points on 8 of 9 three-point shooting. If Kentucky can get that kind of production from their fourth-leading scorer, they will be a lock for Indianapolis.
Wake Forest won a tight overtime game over Texas in Round One and is overmatched against the Big Blue from Kentucky.
Al-Farouq Aminu gives the Demon Deacons some athleticism to play with Kentucky, but the Wildcats are just too tough in all phases of the game.
Final Score: Kentucky 75, Wake Forest 62