Virginia (-5) over Iowa State – 2 Units
The difference in styles with Virginia is interesting, but the Cavs will win the tempo battle. The average number of possessions in a college basketball games is 69. Virginia’s highest in a game has been 68 and that was back in mid-November. I’m sure the Cyclones will find a way to score, but Virginia’s offense is the best Tony Bennett has ever had and Iowa State will have to figure out how to slow them down.
Virginia thrives in a half court game and they rate the highest when they’re playing top-25 teams. Their offense can keep up with Iowa State and they’re a lot better defensively. I think they’ll win the rebounding and turnover battles. Overall, I just think they’re a tougher team. If it comes down to the final minute and the Cavs have to hit free throws to get to the number, they’re top-20 in the nation in that, too.
Wisconsin (+1) over Notre Dame
I think it’s going to be a close game all the way and I just trust the Badgers a little bit more. It’s somewhat similar to the Virginia-Iowa State game, except Wisconsin’s offense isn’t nearly as good as the Cavs and the Irish are even worse defensively. I like the Badgers to win the rebounding battle and they can be much more effective against Auguste than Michigan or SFA. I also refuse to believe that Nigel Hayes can continue to be this bad.
Gonzaga (-4) over Syracuse
Cuse beat up on two mediocre teams. Gonzaga did the same to a 6 and a 3 seed. The Zags have played against quite a few zones this year and they got better as the season went along. Tyler Lydon’s been beating up on undersized bigs, but Sabonis is a different animal. Syracuse launches threes on offense and the Zags are one of the best teams in the country at defending the three.
Kansas (-2) over Villanova
Wanted to get on these Saturday games early before the lines change. I’ve thought Kansas was the best team for a while and I see no reason to change now. If Nova shoots over 60% again, props to them. Nova was a little more impressive on Thursday night, but Kansas took one of Maryland’s best games they’ve played in months and still won by 16.
Oregon (pick) over Oklahoma – 2 Units
I think the Ducks can match Oklahoma’s backcourt, I like their frontcourt more, and their bench is better. I was in on Oregon early and I was kind of waiting to see how they’d do in a big tournament game before diving in more, but they were impressive against Duke.
First Four: 0-1
Round 1, Day 1: 10-1
Round 1, Day 2: 9-0
Round 2, Day 1: 1-0-1
Round 2, Day 2: 2-2
Sweet 16, Day 1: 0-1