The Thursday Evening Games feature a couple of potential tight 7/10 games, some more 12 seeds that are in very winnable games, and Michigan, Louisville, and Villanova taking the court. Here are some things to look for tonight.
1. Northeast teams battle, will we get Brotherly Love showdown or old Big East matchup next? Connecticut and St. Joseph’s start the evening action. The winner, likely, gets #2 seed Villanova in the next round, if the Wildcats can beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Shabazz Napier is the star in this one, and we see if he can begin a Kemba-like run in the tourney, as Connecticut makes its first appearance under Kevin Ollie.
2. Can North ________ State Pull the Next 12/5 Upset? North Carolina State or North Dakota State? Both of these teams have very real chances to post the next upset, as both are underdogs by 3 points. NC State has T.J. Warren and is going against a Saint Louis team that has come back to earth in recent weeks. ND State has Taylor Braun and a front line that can score against Oklahoma.
3. Big Man Battle in Texas-Arizona State. Two very different body types in the 7/10 matchup between Texas-Arizona State. The Sun Devils have 7’2″ Jordan Bachynski. Texas will counter with 6’9″, 285 pound Cameron Ridley, who may be giving up 5 inches but has several pounds on Bachynski. It’s a good girth vs. height showdown.
4. Will San Diego State’s shooting come back to haunt them? San Diego State has been inconsistent in making shots. New Mexico State has size. This one could be a battle. We know the Aztecs will defend like crazy and make life difficult in this final game of the day. I’m torn, as these are two of my favorite states to visit.
5. My picks, for entertainment and mocking purposes, on all games during this session (6-2 against the spread so far in tournament):
Connecticut (-5.5) vs. Saint Joseph’s (6:55 tip)
Wofford (+15) vs. Michigan (7:10)
NC State (+3) vs. Saint Louis (7:20)
North Dakota State (+3.5) vs. Oklahoma (7:27)
Villanova (-16.5) vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9:25)
Texas (-2) vs. Arizona State (9:40)
Manhattan (+16.5) vs. Louisville (9:50)
New Mexico State (+6.5) vs. San Diego State (9:57)