After a busy day of last second shots, the tournament’s night session begins with several high seeds, and will close later with several close matchups. Florida, BYU, Connecticut and Wisconsin could all make runs in the tournament . . . if they survive day one. We all know the name Bucknell from a few years ago, and the name Belmont may soon become a household name.
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL- #2 Florida vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbera (TBS, 6:50)
UCSB will rely on Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally. They are a good shooting team, and also shoot free throws real well, but don’t rebound and create second chances. Guard Justin Joyner can be turned over, so I look for Florida to try to take advantage. UCSB has a 7’3″ player, Greg Somogyi, who will need to play more to try to neutralize Florida on the glass.
Florida has the advantage inside with the front line of Macklin, Parsons, and Tyus, so I look for them to press that advantage and get to the line, trying to get UCSB’s bigs in foul trouble.
The Pick: Florida
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL- #3 Brigham Young vs. #14 Wofford (CBS, 7:15)
Let me introduce you to a team called BYU. You’ve probably never heard them mentioned on our site. (Stephen must be torn in this game involving his favorite things, with Jimmer going against Terriers). Wofford is a veteran club, led by senior Noah Dahlman, who is a good interior scorer. Wofford will try to get the ball to him alot to take advantage of the void left by Brandon Davies.
The Pick: BYU, though I think Wofford keeps this one close.
WEST REGIONAL- #3 Connecticut vs. #14 Bucknell (TBS, 7:20)
Bucknell is led by sophomore Mike Muscala, a Minnesotan, who gets to the line frequently and makes a high percentage there. They are a young team that began to emerge late in the year after a slow start in the non-conference, and could be peaking at the right time. People will talk about UCONN’s Big East run if they start poorly, but I don’t think it should matter. What I would be more concerned about is a let down after so many close games. Obviously, the star for Connecticut is Kemba Walker, and the Bucknell guards will have their hands full.
The Pick: Connecticut survives a young Bucknell team, but it will be harder than people think. This would be the #3/14 upset that would surprise me the least if it did happen.
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL – #4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Belmont (TruTV, 7:27)
The committee did the Badgers no favors with this draw. This should be a fascinating game, and will start as my default game when it begins, while I move around to the others during commercials. These team play entirely contrasting styles, as Belmont presses, spreads the floor and plays quick, while Wisconsin will look to get quality possessions in the half court sets and limit the breaks for Belmont.
The Pick: Wisconsin, I guess. I love games like this with contrasting styles, and not confident. Rooting for Belmont.
[photo via Getty]