NCAA Tournament 2010: Eight Guarantees for Sunday's Second-Round Showdowns
Saturday proved to be no different than the previous two days as the upsets continued. In what is turning out to be one of the most unpredictable tournaments since the field expanded to 64 teams, Sunday should be much of the same.
As more double digit seeds make their attempt at reaching the Sweet 16, here is a look ahead to Sunday's matchups.
Syracuse vs. Gonzaga
The Syracuse Orange looked rather impressive in their win over Vermont on Friday. The competition will get a little tougher Sunday when they take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Despite the absence of big man Arinze Onuaku, the Orange had no trouble advancing. Syracuse posses a balanced attack led by All-American candidate Wesley Johnson who averages 16 points per game. Sharpshooter Andy Rautins is one of the best three-point shooters in the country.
Gonzaga once again has talent up and down its roster, led by senior forward Matt Bouldin. Bouldin is a threat to score from anywhere on the court and is one of four double-figure scorers for the Zags.
This one should be tight early, but the Syracuse zone will wear down a Gonzaga team that only shoots 36 percent from downtown.
Final Score: Syracuse 79, Gonzaga 71
Ohio St. vs. Georgia Tech
The Ohio St. Buckeyes looked sharp in their victory over UC Santa Barbara despite superstar Evan Turner being held to nine points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field. If Turner does the same against Georgia Tech, this might be a competitive game. Odds are that won't happen.
Georgia Tech is loaded with NBA talent, but have not been able to put it all together. They have a balanced attack and have shown they can hang with the big boys having beaten Duke and Maryland. Sophomore Iman Shumpert is a talented guard and forwards Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal could pose matchup problems down low against the Buckeyes with their size.
Expect another big shooting day from John Diebler, who dropped in seven three-balls Friday night, and a much better performance from Turner. Ohio St. will be too much for an inconsistent Georgia Tech team to handle.
Final Score: Ohio St. 70, Georgia Tech 65
Maryland vs. Michigan St.
After surviving difficult first round matchups, Maryland and Michigan St. appear headed for a close encounter in this one.
Greivis Vasquez is Maryland's All-American do-it-all guard. Vasquez leads the Terrapins in scoring at over 19 points per game and assists with over six a game. One of the top players in the country, Vasquez is a matchup problem for anyone.
Tom Izzo's Spartans are led by junior guard Kalin Lucas. Lucas is one of the top players in the Big Ten at 15 points per game. Forward Raymar Morgan and guard Durrell Summers are also go to guys for Michigan St.
The Spartans have been there before, losing to North Carolina in last season's NCAA Championship game. Tom Izzo will have his squad ready to play.
Michigan St. may be ready to play, but they will have no answer for Vasquez and the high flying Terrapins. Maryland will prevail in a barn burner.
Final Score: Maryland 75, Michigan St. 71
West Virginia vs. Missouri
After falling behind 10-0 against Morgan St. in the early going on Friday, West Virginia rallied to post an impressive first-round victory.
Bob Huggins' squad is one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, especially on the offensive end, where they are second in the country. The Mountaineers are long, athletic, and interchangeable at nearly every position.
Missouri likes to get up and down the court, and their so-called 40 minutes of hell might backfire with the talent across the board for West Virginia.
West Virginia senior Da'Sean Butler is one of the best players in the country and he will not let this team lose in the second round.
Final Score: West Virginia 74, Missouri 62
Wisconsin vs. Cornell
Cornell pulled off an impressive victory over Temple and appears poised to do the same against Wisconsin.
The pride of the Ivy League, Cornell got the conferences' first win since 1998. The Big Red are 28-4 and played a solid non-conference schedule, taking Kansas down to the wire.
Wisconsin struggled to beat Wofford in the first round and seems primed to be upset. At 24-8, the Badgers are battle tested and have some quality wins. Bo Ryan's squad is always a tough out.
Cornell has Cinderella written all over it and could be the darling of the dance come next weekend.
Final Score: Cornell 62, Wisconsin 58
Pittsburgh vs. Xavier
This matchup has the potential to be one of the better second round games. Both teams are experienced and well-coached.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Pittsburgh has had one of the most surprising seasons of any team in the country. Led by guards Jermaine Dixon, Ashton Gibbs, and Brad Wanamaker, Pitt is as solid defensively as anybody in the tournament.
Xavier, much like Pitt, has balance to go along with experience. Sophomore Jordan Crawford averages 20 points per game and senior Jason Love is a force down low.
Expect a hard-fought, close contest throughout with the slight edge going to Pittsburgh.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 72, Xavier 69
Purdue vs. Texas A&M
Purdue looked rather impressive in its win over a solid Siena team, while Texas A&M had a nice showing in its victory over Utah St.
With the absence of Robbie Hummel, these teams are relatively evenly matched. Purdue still has talent and experience all over the court, led by junior guard E'Twan Moore and center JaJuan Johnson. Seniors Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer form a solid backcourt.
Texas A&M has been solid all season long and is as battle tested as anybody in the country having played the likes of Kansas (twice), Baylor (twice), Kansas St., West Virginia, Clemson, and Minnesota.
Led by senior guard Donald Sloan, who averages over 18 points per game, Texas A&M will have a little too much for Hummel-less Purdue to handle.
Final Score: Texas A&M 71, Purdue 64
Duke vs. California
The Duke Blue Devils have been NCAA Tournament mainstays for decades and this season is no different. Duke breezed by Arkansas Pine Bluff Friday and should have little trouble getting by California on Sunday.
Duke's three-headed attack of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, and John Scheyer is as good as any group in the country. The Blue Devils also have size down low with seven-footer Brian Zoubek.
California has a talented backcourt, led by John Randle and Patrick Christopher, who combine to average 35 points per game. Forwards Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin are also capable of putting up big scoring nights.
California was impressive in its victory over Louisville and played some stiff non-conference competition. Cal will be ready for the Blue Devils. The problem is, the talent is not there.
Final Score: Duke 77, California 69