Saturday, March 21, 2009

NCAA Tournament...Big East Games Second Round Preview

It was a solid opening round for the Big East, losing just one team (West Virginia) out of the seven. However, there was plenty of drama, including Pitt nearly losing to a 16-seed. And more drama should be on the way with some great second round tilts. Picks, picks, and more picks…

First Round: 6-1

Overall: 6-1


(6) UCLA vs. (3) Villanova: Each team was in a dogfight in the first round…now which still has the legs to get the upper hand? It will be a battle of guards, and outside shooting early, as both squads look to set the tempo. Look for Dante Cunningham to take control of this game in the second half, as Nova pulls away with better ball movement, and more assertiveness. Don’t forget…it’s also a “home game” or Nova.

Prediction: 70-64 Villanova

(9) Texas A+M vs. (1) UConn: The Huskies seemed to be okay even with Jim Calhoun watching the game from the hospital. UConn treated a 16th seed like it should. Meanwhile, the Aggies controlled BYU for 40 straight minutes, making the win look easy. Now for the tough task….trying to slow the Huskies down. A+M doesn’t have the size and strength to cut UConn down low…and just aren’t a strong enough team for the outside. Expect UConn to pull breeze in the second half.

Prediction: 78-65 UConn


(6) Arizona State vs. (3) Syracuse: The Sundevils are in for a rude awakening. Syracuse is one of the hottest teams in America and didn’t break a sweat in the first round. ASU has to find a way to slow the Orange down or the Devils will be run out of the gym. Motion vs. a 2-3 zone is always fun to watch, and it could help ASU control the tempo. However, too many missed shots will turn the Orange loose.

Prediction: 81-75 Syracuse

(8) Oklahoma State vs. (1) Pittsburgh: Will nearly losing to a 16-seed be the best or worst thing to happen to Pitt? Will they come out with fire and raw emotion…and absolutely blast the Cowboys away? Or will they be flat and complacent…and have to dig deep to get out of the second round? Take the former on this one. Pitt will had its scare, and now it’s back to playing top-notch.

Prediction: 74-66 Pitt

(6) Marquette vs. (3) Missouri: The Eagles should be happy just to be in the second round, after nearly giving it away to Utah Sate. And now a battle with Mizzou sands in the way of a Sweet-16 birth. The Tigers handled Cornell well and should do the same with a Dominic James-less Marquette squad. The point guard will be missed, a the Eagles won’t be able to answer a Missouri run.

Prediction: 75-65 Missouri

(9) Sienna vs. (1) Louisville: Sienna will have some tired legs after a double-overtime thriller against Ohio State. That doesn’t bode well when the next opponent is solid and extremely deep. The Cardinals full-court press, inside-outside game, and adequate bench will be too much for the young Saints.

Prediction: 78-59 Louisville



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