The NCAA Tournament kicks up a gear on Saturday with teams battling it out for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Al Dannity makes his picks on four of the games we can look forward to.
Are the Ducks still fuming? You can’t blame them. The anger of only being given a 12 seed was on full display as they took Oklahoma State apart on Thursday. Tomorrow they face a big step up in competition against the St Louis Billikens. St Louis played really smart Basketball in order to shut down New Mexico State from the start. The Ducks hardly lacked nuance in their win over Oklahoma State. This is a pairing of smart teams and whichever one plays the more disciplined game should come out on top. The way the Billikens have played against top-tier opposition has really impressed me. They should have enough to win this one.
Butler and Marquette meet in a clash of teams that nearly made a giant mess of things. The Golden Eagles needed a dramatic late comeback to overcome Davidson while the Bulldogs allowed Bucknell back into a game at a time when they should have been out of sight. The Bulldogs have a solid recent history of bouncing back from so-so performances in the Big Dance. That’s enough for me on this one. I like Butler to keep on dancing.
Gonzaga made excruciatingly hard work of Southern, narrowly avoiding being the first ever 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed. Now they face a Wichita State team that is as scrappy as they get. The Shock have the talent to back up their tenacity but hold the phone. The Zags had an off-day but Mark Few’s team has a remarkable habit of following up suspect performances with powerful displays. This time it’s Wichita State that will be in for a Shock. Gonzaga to progress.
Finally we move to the South region where the lone game of the day sees VCU take on Michigan. This is a horrible draw for both teams. The Rams havoc defence is a nightmare in tournament play but Trey Burke and Wolverines are far better than their 4 seed suggests. This one is going to be a slobber knocker to the finish. If Michigan can hold a double digit lead at pretty much any point in the game, they could survive havoc. For me, they won’t. Shaka’s got the Smarts. VCU to Ram their way into the Sweet Sixteen.
Bet on every game in the NCAA Tournament here.