NCAA March Madness: Second Round Games, Day One

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NCAA March Madness: Second Round Games, Day One
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Midwest

No. 1 Kansas over No. 9 Northern Iowa

Coming out of a surprisingly close game with a feisty Lehigh team, look for the Jayhawks to play like they're capable of and take care of Northern Iowa like they should have done with Lehigh.  UNI beat UNLV with great guard play, but talent-wise, they are just too over-matched.  And Lehigh putting up a fight did not help things.  Look for Marcus Morris and Cole Aldrich to dominate the boards and Xavier Henry light it up from behind the arc. 

No. 6 Tennessee over No. 14 Ohio

The Bobcats must have watched Robert Morris play earlier because they stunned the country in beating a good Hoya team.  With great three-point shooting, they can possibly upset the Volunteers.  With bad play from Pearl's squad in escaping with a win against the Aztecs, he will have Chism and company worked. 

The game looked downright sloppy, and with a team capable of big wins, losing to the Bobcats is not on their schedule.  The Volunteers' tight defense will upset the rhythm of Ohio's shooters as Tennessee advances to the round of 16.

 

West

No. 13 Murray State over No. 5 Butler

Butler shot amazingly well in the second half against UTEP, and this won't happen against Murray State.  Murray State doesn't have the height of UTEP and will pressure Butler's guards a lot more closely. 

After downing Vandy on day one, Murray State will look to continue brilliant play and end Butler's 21-game winning streak.  Guards Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward will not be so lucky with their shooting.  Mack's three point shooting spree is no regular occurrence and will not be shooting as well come the second round.

No. 2 Kansas State over No. 7 BYU

BYU finally won in the promised land for the first time since 1993.  Led by clutch 3-pt shooting by Jimmer Fredette, the Cougars look to play a home game in the Sweet 16. However, Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente have other plans.  This game should be a good one filled with guys raining down from three, and with the better guards, I pick K-State. 

Also, BYU will be too caught up in their opening round two-OT thriller victory to fully prepare for a K-State squad that will be looking to continue their dominance into the Sweet 16.

 

East

No. 1 Kentucky over No. 9 Wake Forest

Wake Forest controlled the boards over a bigger Longhorns squad led by Damion James. The Demon Deacons can do the same against the Wildcats if UK didn't have outstanding freshmen John Wall and Eric Bledsoe.  Kentucky may be the deepest team in the tournament, and UK has arguably the best guards, too.  Look for John Wall to head the scoring line this time in a win over Wake Forest.

No. 11 Washington over No. 3 New Mexico

The Huskies won in thrilling fashion in an upset over Marquette.  Coming back with a run of their own to beat the Golden Eagles is what experts look at when determining a winner. Being able to come back by so large a deficit will aide the Huskies, especially against a New Mexico team that struggled with surprising Montana. 

When watching the game and seeing Qvale dominate the boards, it looks good for Huskie fans.  Quincy Pondexter and crew controlled the boards over smaller Marquette, and they will do the same against the Lobos.  With inspired play from Overton and Thomas, the Lobos are in for a tough challenge. 

Don't count them out too fast, though, because they will keep it close to the end with excellent players in Martinez, Hopson, and Gary.  Plus, they will have a lot of Lobos fans cheering them on in San Jose.  

 

South

No. 3 Baylor over No. 11 Old Dominion

The Bears will continue their run in the big dance after a first round win against Sam Houston State.  Ekpe Udoh led the Bears and ODU will have to focus their defense on him. The Monarchs' zone will be nothing new for Baylor as they faced SHSU's zone on Thursday. 

The Irish were able to put up a lot of shots, and Baylor's Dunn and Jones can do the same.  Baylor is a deep team, and someone other than Udoh will come up big this time around to move on.

No. 10 St. Mary's over No. 2 Villanova

We all saw Villanova nearly lose to No. 15 Robert Morris, and not just almost get beat.  Robert Morris controlled the whole game, and if not for a late comeback, would have made the biggest upset in the tournament.  It's unlikely Scottie Reynolds will sit out to start the game again, but the Gaels are coming off of a blowout first round victory over Richmond. 

Omar Samhan was a menace in the post, and he will dominate the Wildcats post men as long as he stays out of foul trouble.  The Gaels are a great passing team to free up open shots, and if their Aussies can keep hitting from deep, they'll be a threat to go as far as the Final Four.   

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