No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 3 Oregon, Thursday, 7 p.m., CBS
It’s going to be tough to contest with a UCLA-Kentucky diversion for an interesting points-a-palooza, yet this one will be extremely close. we feel flattering assured in observant that Michigan core Moritz Wagner (aka Mo Buckets) will not measure 26 points like he did in a second spin opposite Louisville given a Ducks have a defender in 6’9” youth brazen Jordan Bell, my All-Glue captain, who can ensure him inside and out. That should spin a diversion over to a guards, where Oregon has dual of a best remaining in this contest in 6’7” youth Dillon Brooks and 6’4” sophomore Tyler Dorsey, who scored 51 points and shot 18 for 23 in a Ducks’ initial dual wins.
Still, no group in a contest can compare Michigan for a perfect series of learned players it can put on a floor. Derrick Walton Jr., who struggled with craziness for three-and-a-half seasons, has grown into an chosen indicate ensure before a unequivocally eyes. And a Wolverines usually feel like a group of destiny, don’t they? They were personification good basketball good before their craft collision and Big Ten contest title, yet now they have that demeanour of a group that has prisoner some Mar Magic—and knows it.
Michigan 88, Oregon 84
No. 4 West Virginia vs. No.1 Gonzaga, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TBS
Gonzaga didn’t demeanour like a widespread No. 1 seed final week in Salt Lake City, yet theory what? The Zags are still alive. Now they are set to face a toughest competition they have played all year.
Everyone will be articulate about either a Bulldogs can hoop a Mountaineers’ full-court pressure, yet we am some-more endangered with either they can ensure West Virginia in a half-court. The Mountaineers done 47.5% of their margin goals in their wins over Bucknell and Notre Dame, yet they have also had some calamity sharpened games, such as their 16 for 60 tour in a one-point win over Kansas State in a Big 12 tournament.
I’m anticipating that Mark Few will find a approach to keep 7’1”, 300-pound core Przemek Karnowski in a diversion notwithstanding a discerning dash given he unequivocally creates Gonzaga’s half-court offense work and he is an consultant during removing hostile large group into tainted trouble. Also, we doubt that many of we know that Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 nationally in defensive potency on KenPom. I’m certain West Virginia is going to be a prohibited pick, yet we have prolonged believed this is a unequivocally good Gonzaga team, and now that a early jitters are out of their way, a Zags are prepared to infer it.
Gonzaga 78, West Virginia 72
No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 1 Kansas, Thursday, 9:30 p.m., CBS
This is another one of those big-versus-small matchups. Or we should we say, Biggie contra small. The Boilermakers’ Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan has been a many widespread and finish actor in a nation this season, and between him and a even bigger Isaac Haas (7’2”, 290 pounds), Purdue will have a motionless advantage in a frontcourt.
However, a Boilermakers will be in an unknown position of going into a diversion in that Swanigan might not be a best player. Kansas beginner Josh Jackson is that guy, and his value to this group was clear when it mislaid to TCU in a Big 12 contest while Jackson was portion a one-game cessation for unwell to compensate parking tickets.
In Thursday’s game, tiny tends to kick big, and when a tiny man using a uncover is Frank Mason III, whose will to win is as large as it gets, afterwards that’s a group you’ve got to pick.
Kansas 79, Purdue 70
No. 11 Xavier vs. No. 2 Arizona, Thursday, 10 p.m., TBS
Here is one of a oddest stats from a tourney’s initial week: In Arizona’s second-round win over Saint Mary’s, a Wildcats had a sum of 4 assists. Four! We knew this was an unconventional, immature group personification yet a normal indicate guard, yet that series tells me that Arizona could be exposed if it has to govern in a half-court opposite a trained defensive team. That’s given Xavier is such a dangerous opponent. Even yet a Musketeers are personification yet their possess indicate guard, youth Edmond Sumner, who was mislaid for a deteriorate to an ACL tear, his replacement, 6’4” beginner Quentin Goodin, has turn an increasingly solid distributor (though he is not scarcely a scorer that Sumner was). Chris Mack mixes in a lot of section defenses with his man-to-man, and his register is a eighth-biggest in a country, per KenPom.
In a end, we consider Arizona will lift it out given a Wildcats are so large and jaunty and we don’t trust Xavier has adequate descent firepower to lift off a upset. But it won’t be easy.
Arizona 68, Xavier 66
No. 4 Butler vs. No. 1 North Carolina, Friday, 7 p.m., CBS
Here’s another dangerous stylistic matchup for a favorite. North Carolina is ranked 52nd in a nation in tempo; Butler is 289th. Butler is also 10th in turnover commission and a important 68th in defensive miscarry percentage; a Tar Heels, of course, are a best descent resilient group in a country. But North Carolina still needs to be means to hit down shots on a initial attempt, and that tends to be in brief supply given a usually ensure who can emanate his possess shot is comparison indicate ensure Joel Berry.
You know that Chris Holtmann will have his guys geared to close Berry adult a approach they did with Middle Tennessee ensure Giddy Potts, that will put even some-more vigour on Justin Jackson to measure and place a aloft shortcoming on UNC’s post scoring. we feel unequivocally many a same in this one as we do a Arizona-Xavier game. North Carolina will win given it has a small some-more scoring pop, yet with Butler certain to delayed down a tempo, a Heels are going to have to grub it out.
North Carolina 69, Butler 65
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 3 Baylor, Friday, 7:30 p.m., TBS
There were 10 games this deteriorate when South Carolina unsuccessful to measure 65 points. So it was utterly surprising, to contend a least, to see a Gamecocks hang 65 points on Duke in a second half. I’m blissful infrequent fans got a gander during South Carolina comparison ensure Sindarius Thornwell, who was a best two-way actor in college hoops this season, yet a Gamecocks will not suffer a same earthy advantage in this diversion as they did opposite a Blue Devils. Sure, South Carolina’s fringe invulnerability is sublime, yet Baylor doesn’t count all that heavily on a guards. The Bears butter their bread in a post, offensively with Jonathan Motley and defensively with Jo Lual-Acuil, who led a Big 12 in blocks (2.53 per game). That inside dominance, sum with Scott Drew’s dictatorial toggling between man-to-man and section defenses, will be a difference.
Baylor 72, South Carolina 65
No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 2 Kentucky, Friday, 9:30 p.m., CBS
We’ve been watchful for this rematch given Dec. 3, when a Bruins got their matter win during Rupp Arena, 97–92. UCLA won that diversion notwithstanding committing 18 turnovers and a 24-point opening by Wildcats beginner ensure Malik Monk.
Monk has looked rather mortal a final 3 weeks (he shot 6 for 21 and 2 for 7 from 3 in Kentucky’s dual tourney wins), and a Bruins have severely softened their ability to take caring of a ball. They arrange ninth in a nation in turnover commission notwithstanding being 15th in tempo, and they coughed it adult usually 9 times (to 46 assists) in their wins over Kent State and Cincinnati.
We consider about “pressure” entrance from a invulnerability like West Virginia’s, yet UCLA puts an unusual volume of vigour on opponents with a ability to measure lots of points unequivocally fast. Needless to say, Kentucky will not try to delayed down a tempo, so in that honour this will be a gentle matchup for both teams. In a end, though, UCLA has too many ability during each position. During a deteriorate in that a pendulum has swung dramatically towards a offense, a nation’s best descent group will win a many constrained matchup of a Sweet 16. First one to 90 wins!
UCLA 98, Kentucky 90
No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Florida, Friday, 10 p.m., TBS
The Gators have unequivocally sensitively been one of a toughest defensive teams in a nation this deteriorate (No. 3 nationally in defensive efficiency), and they continue to be notwithstanding carrying to play yet their best interior defender, John Egbunu, who was mislaid a few weeks ago to a knee injury. Florida also advantages from a offset offense. The many considerable aspect of a Gators’ wins over East Tennessee State and Virginia is that their heading scorer, KeVaughn Allen, scored a sum of 11 points on 3 for 21 shooting.
This is a formidable diversion to collect given a teams are so stylistically similar, yet I’m going to go with a Badgers, who seem to have rediscovered their walk after dropping 5 out of 6 games in February. Part of that was a fact that Wisconsin was personification a upper-tier teams in a Big Ten after violence adult on a obtuse squads, and partial of it was given comparison ensure Bronson Koenig was nursing a bad calf injury. Since that low point, Koenig got healthy and a Badgers got behind to basics, rejiggered their blue-collar temperament and weathered a charge like a maestro organisation that they are. This group has dual superb flitting forwards in Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ (those guys can measure a small bit, too), and it enjoys a smoothness that comes with carrying a same starting lineup for dual full seasons. That’s a good item to take into a final week of March.
Wisconsin 67, Florida 65