- UCLA vs. 15. Weber State: According to Bruin Basketball Report, Weber State wants to slow the ball down and play a half court game. The only problem is that they also turn the ball over sixteen times a game. Needless to say, this plays right into the Bruin transition game, and I can already see Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp shooting layups at the other end. While forward David Patten was the Big Sky player of the year, he has run into nothing the caliber of Lorenzo Mata (not to mention nothing quite as hideous), this season. Darren Collison may not play for UCLA with a sprained ankle, but it really shouldn't matter. UCLA runs them out of the gym and wins big. For more info, check out the SBN Bruins blog, Bruins Nation.
- Arizona vs. 9. Purdue: Which Arizona team will show up? If Arizona plays to their talent, Purdue is not even close. But Arizona has had a lot of trouble doing that lately. We know that Arizona wants to play a game similar to Oregon. Run the ball, put up a high score, and spread out the defense. The problem is that Arizona often doesn't play a whole lot of defense, either. Purdue is largely the opposite. They want to slow the game down, and count on their bruising, punishing defense to carry them to the W. Forwards Carl Landry and David Teague are Purdue's offensive weapons, averaging almost 35 points and twelve boards a game between them, and stopping them should be Arizona's point of emphasis. Bottom line, if the Wildcats show up, they should win. But if they come out how they have been in most of their games lately, the Boilers will put the hurt on them.
- Southern California vs. 12. Arkansas: You all already know that I am flabergasted that Arkansas is even in this tournament, so I'll save you that spiel. Arkansas seems to be very balanced, as they have four players who average double digit scoring. All of those players hover right around ten points a game. They are one of the few teams that have the height to compete with USC, but what is more questionable is whether they have the quickness to stop Pruitt and Young. The Hogs have been playing well lately. I expect this to be a close game that could go either way, but SC has the experience edge and should be able to pull it out at the end. Check out SBN's Trojan blog, Conquest Chronicles, for more info.
- Washington State vs. 14. Oral Roberts: A lot of people are picking this as a first round upset, citing Wazzu's inexperience and ORU's win over the Jayhawks in Lawrence. Both teams will run a very methodical offense and try to slow the game down. WSU has the better defense, while ODU has two very proflific offensive players who are both capable of dominating games. Caleb Green is a 6'8" beast who averages 20 a game in the post and could give WSU fits. Ken Tutt is their point guard, and he is an outside threat who averages anther fifteen. If WSU's pack line defense can do a good job of denying the post entry to Green, then the Cougs should win the game. But if Green gets his 20, Wazzu could fall victim to Cinderella.
- Louisville vs. 11. Stanford: We know what Stanford will do here. Play great defense, and count on the uber-tall Lopez twins to patrol the paint. They will then run a methodical offense and shoot mostly good shots (those damn Stanford kids are so bright that way). We know that Louisville will run that classic Pitino press. They will run full court press, as well as trap the corners to try to create turnovers and run. In the half court, they will have to successfully hit enough outside shots to pull the Lopez twins out of the key. As pointed out by the SBN Louisville blog, Card Chronicle, points out, 70 points seems to be the magic number for the Trees. If Stanford's defense is at full strength and hold Louisville under 70, Stanford will win. But if Louisville are successful in creating turnovers and running and get over 70, Louisville will move on.