20 March 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament: 2nd Round Friday Predictions

(AP)
The 2nd Round, or if you prefer the real 1st Round or possibly the Round of 64, continues on Friday with more March Madness action. Will it be even better than the Thursday action? Only time will tell for an answer to that question.

Here are my Friday 2nd Round predictions.

Bracket

#3 Duke vs. #14 Mercer - Midwest - CBS, 12:00
We have got a couple of potential 14-3 upsets to look out for. It did take a lot of self-control to not pick Mercer, but I did think about it. Mercer can score with anybody, similarly to conference rival FGCU last year, and they have the size that Duke lacks. I do think the Dukies will avoid the upset, but it is one to watch out for tomorrow afternoon.
Pick: Duke

#6 Baylor vs. #11 Nebraska - West - truTV, 12:30
Nothing like an old school Big XII matchup, after all we do love conference realignment. I'm feeling a bit of an upset here with Nebrasketball surviving and advancing. They will turn this game into a grinder, which favors them thanks to their tough defense and mediocre offense, and senior forward Terran Petteway will lead them to the Round of 32.
Pick: Nebraska

#7 New Mexico vs. #10 Stanford - South - TBS, 1:30
To me, I think New Mexico, who has been on a roll the last few months en route to winning the Mountain West Tournament, was under-seeded by the selection committee as I think they should be higher than a seven seed. I think they are consistently stronger than a rejuvenated Stanford Cardinal on both ends of the floor and I think they will sail to the 3rd round.
Pick: New Mexico

#1 Arizona vs. #16 Weber State - West - TNT, 2:00
Thanks to how strong the Wildcats play defense, this game is not going to be the first time a 16 seed takes out a one seed. And also, Weber State is not the team that will be the first 16 seed to defeat a one. But hey, one can dream, eh?
Pick: Arizona

#6 UMass vs. #11 Tennessee - Midwest - CBS, 2:30
Tennessee trailed for much of their First Four matchup with Iowa but they forced overtime and impressively pulled away to win by 13. Tennessee is a pretty darn good club to be in the play-in game and I think they will upset an over-seeded Minutemen thanks to a troika of strong players in junior forward Jarnell Stokes, senior guard Jordan McRae and senior foward Jeronne Maymon.
Pick: Tennessee

#3 Creighton vs. #14 Louisiana-Lafayette - West - truTV, 3:00
If there is a team that can keep up on the offensive scoreboard with the Blue Jays, the Ragin' Cajuns may be one of those clubs in question as they average more points per game than their opponents do (84.4 to 83.2). However, their defense really has no answer for the threeballers that Creighton has, and especially no answer for Mr. Doug McDermott.
Pick: Creighton

#2 Kansas vs. #15 Eastern Kentucky - South - TBS, 4:00
While Kansas should still win with relative comfort, I think this could be an interesting game to watch. Eastern Kentucky may struggle greatly on the glass thanks to their lack of size, but with Joel Embiid out for the Jayhawks that may be a moot point. They are a fine offensive club that can really put the ball in the hoop and will keep Rock Chalk on their toes for a little while.
Pick: Kansas

#8 Gonzaga vs. #9 Oklahoma State - West - TNT, 4:30
I have been loving how the Cowboys have been playing since the Marcus Smart/Texas Tech fiasco, they have started to look like the team we thought they would be at the start of the year. The only times they have lost came in overtime. And Smart has rediscovered confidence in his game. Their high powered offense will power them past the Zags.
Pick: Oklahoma State

#8 Memphis vs. #9 George Washington - East - TBS, 6:45
Of these two clubs, the Tigers may be the more talented club, but their inconsistency worries me. The Colonials are a more balanced club and much better than Memphis on the defensive end, not to mentioned they have a balanced offensive output with five scorers in double digits. Give me GW.
Pick: George Washington

#1 Wichita State vs. #16 Cal Poly - Midwest - CBS, 7:00
The Mustangs went on a great run to upset the Big West and win the conference auto-bid, and they played very well on Wednesday night in Dayton to take out Texas Southern and to advance to St. Louis. That said, it is still a team that is 14-19 on the year. Let's move on.
Pick: Wichita State

#6 North Carolina vs. #11 Providence - East - TNT, 7:15
This is a game I have gone back and forth on, but I'm going to go with the upset and the Friars, who enter the NCAA's on a roll after winning the Big East Tournament. UNC is a team that is hard to get a read on, and I think a starter-heavy Providence club, led by the great Bryce Cotton at the point, will win a thriller at the Alamo.
Pick: Providence

#5 VCU vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin - South - truTV, 7:15
I know it's never that common to pick an upset against VCU considering how well known the Rams are known for their Havoc defense that causes real problems for their opponents come March. But I'm feeling an upset here and here's why. Stephen F. Austin plays similarly defensive to VCU as they love to pressure the ball aggressively and force a signicant amount of turnovers. But on offensively, they are well equipped to fight the Havoc style considering how deliberately methodical their offense is, and they do not force turnovers. The Rams do not have the size to take advantage of the Lumberjacks' lack of size, and the Jacks have not lost since Thanksgiving.
Pick: Stephen F. Austin

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Coastal Carolina - East - TBS, 9:15
We can argue until the cows come home if Virginia deserved a one seed, but they will at least win one game in this NCAA Tournament because they will win here. Coastal Carolina won the Big South tournament, but that is about as much as one could say about this Chanticleers squad, except that Chanticleers is an awesome nickname.
Pick: Virginia

#8 Kentucky vs. #9 Kansas State - Midwest - CBS, 9:30
Some have thought that Kentucky should have been seeded higher than an eighth seed, and I think they are the stronger team in this matchup. Yes, they have been all over the place this year, but it looked like in the SEC tournament that this very talented club may have started to find their groove. I think they'll play like this in the nightcap at the Scottrade Center.
Pick: Kentucky

#3 Iowa State vs. #14 NC Central - East - TNT, 9:45
Another potential 14-3 upset could come in this showdown in San Antonio. I've been joking with friends about how NC Central is the best MEAC team ever, but this is an excellent team that plays solid offense and tremendous defense. I do think that the Cyclones will prevail thanks to their powerful offensive game, but they better not overlook the Eagles.
Pick: Iowa State

#4 UCLA vs. #13 Tulsa - South - truTV, 9:55
The key for the Golden Hurricane, who have been played quite well for Danny Manning during their 11 game winning streak, is their tremendous defense because their offense has struggled to put the ball in the hoop with only two double-digit scorers. Against a high-powered Bruins offense, that is not going to be enough for the upset.
Pick: UCLA

No comments:

Post a Comment