In case you have been living under a rock, the NCAA Tournament starts today. I will start doing some individual game previews for the second round. Just too many games for the first round and honestly I have not watched Cal or Oklahoma State play more than five minutes this year.
But here are some things to watch out for in the first round that I picked up from the game lines and game locations.
ACC Games on Thursday
North Carolina will not be playing Ty Lawson. Doesn’t matter. Easy win over Radford.
Duke will win easily too and PTI’s Tony Kornheiser will cry about Duke getting all the calls on Friday’s show.
Clemson and Michigan is the best first round match up, even better than the 8 vs 9 games. Michigan plays a 1-3-1 zone so Clemson’s Terrance Ogelsby needs to get hot from outside. John Beilein did pretty good in the NCAA Tournament at West Virginia. Oliver Purnell is looking for his first Tournament win. Vegas likes the Tigers.
Cal and Maryland should be another really good one. Vegas has Cal as a slight favorite. They are coached by former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery whose teams never seemed to live up their lofty seedings come Tournament time. But then again Stanford has never really lived up to their hype in March.
SEC Games Thursday
I thought Mississippi State got a raw deal at 13 seed. Georgia was a 14 seed last year with a much worse record. Miss State could be very dangerous for a Pac 10 regular season champ Washington, but the game is in Portland so the Huskies will have a big home crowd advantage.
LSU and Butler will be a game of contrasting styles. The Tigers can physically hang with any team in the Tournament, but Butler will force them to slow the tempo down. Vegas likes LSU.
Other Games of Note
Illinois vs Western Kentucky could be one of those 12 over 5 upsets. Illinois is without their starting point guard and the Hilltoppers made it to the Sweet 16 last year and almost defeated UCLA in that round.
Many are picking VCU over UCLA first round. The travel for the Bruins does scare me having to go cross country, but I think VCU is a little over hyped. They beat a floundering Duke team a few years ago in the first round and people are still talking about it today. UCLA is one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. I like the Bruins.
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