FOCUS: #3 Marquette vs #2 Miami
PREDICTION: For the same reason I picked Butler to beat Marquette in the round of 32, I’m picking Miami to win this game and advance. Butler has a system and its’ players all play tremendously well in the system, but Marquette simply out-muscled them at times. Miami has more strength and length all over the court than did Butler, starting at the guard position with Scott Durand and Trey McKinney Jones. Those two guys and a rotation of upper-class mammoths will send Marquette packing.
FOCUS: #6 Arizona vs #2 Ohio State
PREDICTION: My personal favorite for game of the day, Arizona has the guard-play to out-gun OSU, but more importantly they have the size to cancel out and possibly even over-match Ohio State’s big men. Freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski is the X-factor here, if he can stay out of foul trouble the Cats should dominate the glass. Arizona’s forward Solomon Hill should match-up well with the Buckeyes’ mr. everything, Deshaun Thomas and I expect both of them to have fairly decent but cancelling performances. For Ohio State, I expect Aaron Craft to have a huge game, just don’t think it will be enough to overcome a balanced attack from Zona.
FOCUS: #4 Syracuse vs #1 Indiana
PREDICTION: The Cuse have been wildly inconsistent at times this season and have trouble against quickness on the perimeter. It’s been that way since Boeheim took over due to the zone and even though it’s one of the toughest zones to score on in country, it’s still a zone and the Orange aren’t playing at a level that makes it particularly scary to upper tier teams. Penetration is something the Indiana guards can bring to this game and should exploit on a regular basis. Cal only did it in spurts towards the end of the game and still came within 6. Also, Indiana big forward Cody Zeller gives the Hoosiers a chance to just go over the zone. Expect Indiana to pull away in the last seven or eight minutes.
FOCUS: #13 La Salle vs #9 Wichita State
PICK: Wichita State
PREDICTION: The Shockers have more talent and defended both the quickness and the versatility of Gonzaga with ease and I expect a somewhat similar approach tonight from their defense. La Salle doesn’t have a big man that can really match the intensity and ability of Wichita big men Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall. A fun match-up should be WSU’s Malcolm Armstead against Ramon Galloway.