20 March 2013

2013 NCAA Tournament: 2nd Round Thursday Predictions

Here we are, the first Thursday of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. I'm ready, you're ready, let's do this. Here are my predictions for the second round games this Thursday.

TV Schedule

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Valparaiso - Midwest - Auburn Hills
I mean, who wouldn't want to pick Valpo and hope this (or even this) happens again. But the Crusaders are also sloppy with the basketball, which will kill them against a good defensive club like Michigan State.
Pick: Michigan State

#6 Butler vs. #11 Bucknell - East - Lexington
I do know that it is always a risk to pick against Butler early, particularly in an upset. But Mike Muscala is a hell of a player, guaranteed the best player in this tournament that you do not know, and the Bison also play excellent defense. Butler does not have the size to band with Muscala, who carry the Bison to the next round.
Pick: Bucknell

#8 Pittsburgh vs. #9 Wichita State - West - Salt Lake City
This should be a good one considering both clubs are big and both are great on defense. Both are similar statistically and have veteran leadership in their backcourts. I will go with Pittsburgh because I think their defense is a tick better.
Pick: Pittsburgh

#4 Saint Louis vs. #13 New Mexico State - Midwest - San Jose
Saint Louis is excellent at forcing turnovers and they hold onto the rock. The Aggies are very turnover prone. Sometimes, these picks are easy.
Pick: Saint Louis

#6 Memphis vs. #11 Saint Mary's - Midwest - Auburn Hills
This should be a fun one and I like both teams. Memphis is very talented and athletic and the Saint Mary's play strong on defense and Matthew Dellavedova is a great point guard. However, they do not force turnovers, and that is how you beat this Tigers club.
Pick: Memphis

#3 Marquette vs. #14 Davidson - East - Lexington
Listen, I am as big of a Buzz Williams fan as any. But let's be honest, that team is limited by their abilities, they are not that great on the road and didn't look great in New York. Davidson has done it before, they have a great coach and can crank it from deep and most importantly, they are the best free throw shooting team in the land. Give me the upset.
Pick: Davidson

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Southern - West - Salt Lake City
I have a feeling some haters could be taking the Tigers. Or do I?
Pick: Gonzaga

#5 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Oregon - Midwest - San Jose
Oregon being a 12 seed is absolute nonsense. How in the world can a team that just won the Pac-12 tournament and is lower than Colorado and six spots lower than UCLA, who they just beat. Does that mean they would not have gotten had had they not won the tourney? Anyways, Dana Altman knows how to win in March, the team is coming together even with Dominic Artis not looking fully healthy and this team will come out and prove they are better than their ridiculous seeding.

#1 Louisville vs. #16 North Carolina A&T - Midwest - Lexington
Do you have to even think about it?
Pick: Louisville

#4 Michigan vs. #13 South Dakota State - South - Auburn Hills
I do realize that the Maize and Blue are playing an essential home game but they have also been pretty inconsistent since starting hot. The Jackrabbits are an excellent team from deep, have starpower with Nate Wolters and importantly, they do not turn the ball over, which would kill teams against Michigan.
Pick: South Dakota State

#6 Arizona vs. #11 Belmont - West - Salt Lake City
The Wildcats are very talented and Sean Miller is a heck of a coach. They did only finish 5-5, however, and their biggest weakness is against the three. Guess what Ian Clark and co. excel at. Plus Belmont is a veteran team that will not be wetting their pants in this one.
Pick: Belmont

#5 UNLV vs. #12 California - East - San Jose
This is a game that I have gone a little back and forth on, mostly due to the fact that Cal is playing a glorified home game. That said, the Runnin' Rebels have too much talent for the Golden Bears to handle and when they are hot, look out.
Pick: UNLV

#8 Colorado State vs. #9 Missouri - Midwest - Lexington
If only the Tigers were playing this at home, where they were undefeated. Even as on any night they can light up the scoreboard, they are still pretty inconsistent and that is where a sound club like Colorado State can take them out.
Pick: Colorado State

#5 VCU vs. #12 Akron - South - Auburn Hills
This is a bad matchup for the Zips. Would you want to take on Havoc when you do not have your starting point guard? It would have been interesting had Alex Abreu not gotten suspended but alas.
Pick: VCU

#3 New Mexico vs. #14 Harvard - West - Salt Lake City
The Crimson are grinders, but that is not how you beat a club like New Mexico. This is not a good draw at all for them.
Pick: New Mexico

#4 Syracuse vs. #13 Montana - East - San Jose
I feel like the Grizzlies should be getting more pub than they are. After all, they are an excellent team from three, and that is how you have to break the 2-3. Also, we all know how inconsistent 'Cuse is. That said, they do not have the horses to keep up with the Orange, who I see pulling away late.
Pick: Syracuse

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