BRACKET BLOG: Second Round (Day 1)

First, I want to thank a very good friend of mine for helping to get this post up on time. Due to inclement weather, a lack of foresight and my own forgetfulness, I wasn't in a position to make that happen. My sincere appreciation goes out to him.

All right, time for the second round of the Madness. Today is crazy, if you look at the ledger. Only one game played to seed, and that was K-State's game against BYU. (And if a couple of possessions go the other way in regulation or overtime, we're facing Florida tonight.)

That means a whopping five double-digit seeds will play today for a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, which has to be some kind of first-day record, doesn't it? Even crazier is the fact that some of them have a legitimate chance to move on, because they're just that good.

Previous Entries:

The Teams

 

The Sites

  • New Orleans, La.
  • Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Providence, R.I.
  • San Jose, Calif.

 

East Region

No. 1 Kentucky (33-2) vs. No. 9 Wake Forest (20-10)
March 20 | 7:15 p.m. | New Orleans

How They Got Here:
No. 1 Kentucky 100, No. 16 East Tennessee State 71
No. 9 Wake Forest 81, No. 8 Texas 80 (OT)

Stupid Texas. Guess I should have tagged that game as an upset alert after all. Except that when you really get down to it, is anyone surprised the Longhorns lost like that?

I would be surprised, however, if Kentucky committed the same mistakes Texas did.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Kentucky 75, Wake Forest 68
Sagarin: Kentucky 72, Wake Forest 65

 

UPSET ALERT: No. 3 New Mexico (30-4) vs. No. 11 Washington (25-9)
March 20 | 4:50 p.m. | San Jose

How They Got Here:
No. 3 New Mexico 62, No. 14 Montana 57
No. 11 Washington 80, No. 6 Marquette 78

I told you Washington was under-seeded and on a roll. Marquette made a mistake by letting Washington get its game: Shooting 3s. It worked for the Golden Eagles for a while, but in the end, they just gave up too many points.

The Huskies' roll could continue, too. They still should have the home crowd today and I wasn't all that impressed by New Mexico on Thursday night. The Lobos can be had.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Washington 80, New Mexico 77
Sagarin: New Mexico 86, Washington 84

 

Midwest Region

No. 1 Kansas (33-2) vs. No. 9 Northern Iowa (29-4)
March 20 | 4:40 p.m. | Oklahoma City

How They Got Here:
No. 1 Kansas 90, No. 16 Lehigh 74
No. 9 Northern Iowa 69, No. 8 UNLV 66

Again, I don't know if it really constituted an upset, but I figured going in that UNI was the better team — and that proved to be true.

I also said the winner wasn't getting past Kansas and I see no reason to expect differently now.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Kansas 65, UNI 57
Sagarin: Kansas 66, UNI 55

 

No. 6 Tennessee (26-8) vs. No. 14 Ohio (22-14)
March 20 | 2:35 p.m. | Providence

How They Got Here:
No. 6 Tennessee 62, No. 11 San Diego State 59
No. 14 Ohio 97, No. 3 Georgetown 83

Please do me a favor: Don't go back and read my preview of the Georgetown-Ohio game, because I look like an idiot right now on that one.

Conversely, Tennessee was able to avoid SDSU's upset bid in Providence, but it was a close shave nonetheless.

I don't expect the same result today. With Georgetown falling out of the picture, the Volunteers ought to be able to end Cinderella's dance and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Tennessee 74, Ohio 67
Sagarin: Tennessee 77, Ohio 67

 

South Region

UPSET ALERT: No. 2 Villanova (25-7) vs. No. 10 Saint Mary's (26-5)
March 20 | 12:05 p.m. | Providence

How They Got Here:
No. 2 Villanova 73, No. 15 Robert Morris 70 (OT)
No. 10 Saint Mary's 80, No. 7 Richmond 71

Who didn't really see the Gaels' win coming? The real surprise was Villanova nearly losing to Robert Morris.

After that mess, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Saint Mary's dance into the Sweet Sixteen. Who's gonna guard Omar Samhan? Taylor King? Yeah, right. Scottie Reynolds better be hot today.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Villanova 82, St. Mary's 79
Sagarin: Villanova 78, St. Mary's 76

 

No. 3 Baylor (26-7) vs. No. 11 Old Dominion (27-8)
March 20 | 4:45 p.m. | New Orleans

How They Got Here:
No. 3 Baylor 68, No. 15 Sam Houston State 59
No. 11 Old Dominion 51, No. 6 Notre Dame 50

I knew all the Notre Dame love was going to backfire, but for 37 minutes or so, my upset alert on the Baylor game looked even more prescient. Then the Bears finally woke up and put the Bearkats away.

So given that, will Old Dominion have a chance in this one? I don't think so. How often will LaceDarius Dunn be sitting on the bench, tagged with four fouls and only five points, with 15 minutes left in the game? Not bloody often.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Baylor 65, Old Dominion 61
Sagarin: Baylor 69, Old Dominion 64

 

West Region

UPSET ALERT: No. 2 Kansas State (27-7) vs. No. 7 BYU (30-5)
March 20 | 7:10 p.m. | Oklahoma City

How They Got Here:
No. 2 Kansas State 82, No. 15 North Texas 62
No. 7 BYU 99, No. 10 Florida 92 (2OT)

No surprises yet in Oklahoma City, but as much as some don't want to hear it, that could change.

GoPowercat.com is firmly divided into two warring camps right now: Those who think this game will be a cakewalk because of the Wildcats' superior athleticism, and those who think their propensity to foul will put BYU at the line and keep the game close/tense/interesting.

I suppose I fall into the latter camp, although it's nothing specific to BYU that puts me there. I'm just very aware of how fragile each win will be from this point forward. We're talking about the 32 best teams in the country, after all.

But I think the Cats will prevail.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Kansas State 80, BYU 79
Sagarin: Kansas State 80, BYU 79

 

UPSET ALERT: No. 5 Butler (29-4) vs. No. 13 Murray State (31-4)
March 20 | 2:20 p.m. | San Jose

How They Got Here:
No. 5 Butler 77, No. 12 UTEP 59
No. 13 Murray State 66, No. 4 Vanderbilt 65

When filling out my brackets, I vacillated between UTEP and Vanderbilt for the Sweet Sixteen. Big mistake. I should have stuck with Butler, but I always seem to falter from the Bulldogs because they're just not a sexy pick.

That said, I'm maintaining the upset alert for this game and will continue to do so for as long as the Murray State Racers are in the field. I saw that Vandy upset coming from a mile away. Thirty-one wins is no fluke, people.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Butler 66, Murray State 61
Sagarin: Butler 67, Murray State 63

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