Friday, March 20, 2009

Florida State-Wisconsin Highlights Friday NCAA Tournament Action

Three more games tip off today for ACC teams who will be trying to follow up on a 3-1 start on Thursday. The SEC’s lone first round game pits Tennessee and Oklahoma State.

ACC Games

Florida State and Wisconsin could be a very interesting game between power conferences. A lot of people have FSU has a Sweet 16 or even Elite 8 team largely because of Toney Douglas. I am not buying into FSU as much because I don’t really like their point guard play and their big men disappear at times. Wisconsin had a really bad stretch during the middle of the year losing six or seven in a row, but was pretty solid otherwise. The Badgers style of defense is going to make Douglas give the ball up more than he wants. This could be one of those yearly 5 vs 12 upsets.

I saw some books with a money line on the Wake Forest-Cleveland State game. The Deacons have a coach in his first NCAA Tournament but I am guessing Cleveland State does too. 13 seeds rarely beat 4 seeds. Last year was the exception, but is interesting where the money line is on this one.

Even as the 7 seed, Boston College is a small underdog to Pac 10 Tournament Champion USC. The Trojans coach Tim Floyd has a losing record all time in the NCAA Tournament at just 6-7. The Trojans are a very talented team that suffered chemistry issues some during the season. If you like guard play, this one will be a great one to watch with BC’s Tyrese Rice going up against Daniel Hackett of USC.

SEC Games

The Volunteers will try to make it two SEC teams into the second round with a win over Oklahoma State. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has been out spoken this week about his seed and the seeds of his conference brethren, but that is just the type of coach he is; I don’t think it will have any lingering effect on his team. Pearl is one of my favorite coaches in college basketball, but that story is for another time. Vegas has the Vols as a slight favorite.

Other Games of Note

Arizona vs Utah – Many thought Arizona should not even be in the Tournament, but many of those same people are picking the Wildcats over the Utes oddly enough. This game has gone back and forth with Utah opening as the underdog, but then becoming a one point favorite yesterday. Arizona has not won any game of significance away from home. I say flip a coin on this game.

Kansas vs North Dakota State – If there is going to be a major first round upset, this is where I would pick it. The Bison will have thousands of fans in nearby Minneapolis for their first Tournament game ever. Kansas is a young team that seemed to turn the intensity on and off this year. I don’t like that in tournament play.

Marquette vs Utah State – Marquette has struggled since losing Dominic James to a season ending injury albeit against stiff Big East competition. This Utah State team beat Utah earlier this year and ran through their conference with relative ease. Also, Utah State will be playing in a game they are familiar with in Boise while Marquette has to travel out west.

Ohio State vs Siena – I thought the committee only protected the top four seeds with home court? The Buckeyes get to play Siena in Dayton, Ohio just about an hour away from Columbus. Siena beat Vanderbilt in the first round last year as a 13 seed and the fact they are 9 seed this year speaks to their season. Still, it will tough to win what amounts to a road game.

NCAA Tournament Records
ACC: 3-1
SEC: 1-1


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