NCAA Round Two: Saturday
The first round was notable for it's lack of upsets. As a fearless (and in this case hapless) prognosticator, I look for the teams that can pull off the inevitable surprises. This year they hardly happened. This the first time that none of the top five seeds lost their first game. I got to watch St. Bonaventure and Butler, two of my upset picks, lose games they should have won in regulation in OT. I went a poor 23-9 in the first round, leaving me without teams to root for in a couple of games. Let's get to the second round.
1 Arizona vs. 8 Wisconsin: When will the Sun Devils lose? No one really believes this team, without Loren Woods, is going to the Final Four, do they? So one of the uninspiring teams out here must do it. I don't think it will be Wisconsin, although their easy win over Fresno raises the possibility. I'll go with Arizona
4 LSU vs. 5 Texas: In my pre-tournament brackets, I had LSU winning this. The amazing performance of the SEC, one loss and four teams surviving upsets against far weaker teams, make me wonder about these guys. I think this is a young team and they may have needed a game to get the jitters out of their system. Texas needs to dominate inside and I think Smith and Swift's athleticism will prevent that. LSU
3 Oklahoma vs. 6 Purdue: Boilermakers survived Dayton game. They're tough and will play hard, but the Sooners are just better. Oklahoma
2 St. John's vs. 10 Gonzaga: Gonzaga was no surprise in the first round, the Johnnies struggle with Northern Arizona was. I liked the Red Storm a lot more Wednesday than I do now. Maybe they make up for that here. St. John's
4 Kentucky vs. 5 Syracuse: I would have preferred to see St. Bonaventure play Syracuse in the battle for upstate New York -- they should have made Hillary Clinton show up for it. She won't show up for this either, which is too bad because I think the Orangemen will do her proud. Hard to pick against Kentucky this early, but they shouldn't be here. Syracuse
1 Michigan State vs. 8 Utah: The march to the final four continues and these guys ain't gonna stop it. Michigan State
3 Maryland vs. 6 UCLA: Terps had no trouble in the first round. UCLA struggled for a half before putting away Ball St. This is a matchup between two teams with athletic skill and little discipline. UCLA looked awful in their first game, clueless for the most part. But they are on a roll and very confident at this point. The matchup favors them. UCLA
2 Iowa St. vs. 7 Auburn: Iowa St. opened up a big lead early, then were challenged by Central Connecticut, before pulling away. Another of the SEC Survivors, Auburn squeaked by Creighton, almost blowing a substantial lead. This is where they could use Chris Porter. Since they still don't have him, they should be in trouble. Iowa St.
See you tomorrow.