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Sweet 16 Matchups: Baylor vs. Xavier, North Carolina vs. Ohio, Kentucky vs. Indiana and Kansas vs. NC State

The march through the tournament continues with underdog night in the Sweet 16, as a 10 seed, 11 seed, and 13 seed take the floor.

#3 Baylor vs. #10 Xavier, South Regional, 7:15 in Atlanta (CBS). This one is pretty interesting, with Baylor’s length along the front line going against Kenny Frease, and Tu Holloway versus Pierre Jackson. The question for me is which Baylor team decides to show up, and particularly whether Perry Jones brings the focus he had in the Big XII tournament.

The Line: Baylor by 6. The pick: A line that is right on the spot. I’ll take the superior athletes and hope that the coaching doesn’t do them in. Baylor -6.

 

#1 North Carolina vs. #13 Ohio, Midwest Regional, 7:47 in St. Louis (TBS). Do we assume that North Carolina just rolls the ball out and is okay without Marshall being available? I don’t. UNC has the front line advantage, but with Marshall out, Ohio does play the kind of game that give them problems. Ball pressure, steals, and turnovers created by Ohio’s backcourt of D.J. Cooper, Walter Offutt and Nick Kellogg is their game. The Tar Heels should be able to beat the Bobcats on both ends on the boards, but will they handle the pressure?

The Line: North Carolina by 10.5. The Pick: Ohio +10.5. I think North Carolina wins, but I can see this one being a test as long as the Bobcats didn’t spend all week just looking at newspaper headlines.

 

#1 Kentucky vs. #4 Indiana, South Regional, 9:45 in Atlanta (CBS). The line on this game suggests that the revenge angle is getting some support. I go with the matchups. I think Indiana can match up with the Wildcats — if Kentucky is mediocre on the outside. Indiana has bigs that can shoot, and draw Anthony Davis out. It will be the other end that will decide whether Indiana gets an upset. The Hoosiers have the size to limit Kentucky from what they usually get on the offensive glass, if they are off from outside.

The Line: Kentucky by 9.5. The Pick: You’re going to give me almost 10? When Indiana beat them in the regular season in Bloomington? I’ll take my chances. Indiana +9.5.

 

#2 Kansas vs. #11 North Carolina State, Midwest Regional, 10:17 in St. Louis (TBS). The Kansas late night tour continues, as again they are the final game. Purdue packed it in and frustrated Thomas Robinson, and he had a rough night on Sunday. NC State will have to overplay and double team him quickly as well, and hope the Jayhawks struggle from outside. On the other end, it is the interior defense that drives Kansas. Can NC State create easy opportunities? Neither team plays many bench players, so foul trouble for the bigs could have a role.

The Line: Kansas by 8.5. The Pick: NC State +8.5

 

Tournament Record, against the spread: 3-1 last night, 34-18 against the spread overall

[photo via US Presswire]

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