It’s Friday night. It’s been a long, glorious, exhausting, exhilarating week. You don’t want to read much. I don’t want to write much. You definitely don’t want to read more writing from me on a Friday night after 7 pm, so I’m putting all the games together for the final segment of this round, and then sitting back and enjoying the action. Does it seem like there are more upsets on Friday nights in the tournament? It’s probably not true, but several big ones come to mind. Eight more games are up tonight, so let’s get right to some picks and very cursory analysis.
SOUTHWEST REGIONAL- #1 Kansas vs. #16 Boston U. (TBS, 6:50)
Boston University is the “best” of the 16 seeds, and would have been a 15 last year. Doesn’t matter though.
The Pick: Kansas
SOUTHWEST REGIONAL- #8 UNLV vs. #9 Illinois (TBS, 9:20)
UNLV is led by Tre’von Willis, and is a good defensive team. They don’t shoot well from outside but will take it to the Illini inside where Illinois has the height but plays smaller than that height.
The Pick: UNLV
EAST REGIONAL- #2 North Carolina vs. #15 Long Island (CBS, 7:15)
UNC is a team that literally could do anything in this tournament and it would not surprise me. I expect them to roll in this one, but if the opposite happened, well, it would be exciting. Young team with tons of talent, but they also scraped by and came out flat in multiple ACC tourney games. Can’t rely on that formula too long in this tournament.
The Pick: North Carolina
EAST REGIONAL- #7 Washington vs. #10 Georgia (CBS, 9:45)
Pomeroy has had Washington ranked fairly high all year, because they have dominated some games. They also lost some games they shouldn’t. We are back to a blank slate, so we will see whether they will be a team that goes on a run and is better than the seed, or whether the team that lost at Oregon and Oregon State shows up. They do have to travel cross country, though the late start time will seem just right to the West Coast Huskies against the Southeastern Conference’s Bulldogs.
The Pick: Washington
SOUTHWEST REGIONAL – #3 Purdue vs. #14 St. Peter’s (TNT, 7:20)
Purdue was in the running for a #1 seed just a few weeks ago, but then lost at Iowa and in the Big Ten tournament to Michigan State. Sixth man Kelsey Barlow was suspended for the rest of the tournament, but they still have JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore.
The Pick: Purdue
SOUTHWEST REGIONAL – #6 Georgetown vs. #11 VCU (TNT, 9:50)
Will Chris Wright be close to effective? If he’s not, this is a fantastic matchup for VCU, who struggles sometimes on the board but gets after teams with a press and has good guard and swing play. Georgetown does not have dominant big men, so they need Wright to give them minutes against the pressure they will face.
The Pick: I’m going with VCU with the upset since Wright’s effectiveness is in doubt. Georgetown looked terrible without him.
EAST REGIONAL – #6 Xavier vs. #11 Marquette (TruTV, 7:27)
This should be a fantastic matchup of the two premiere Catholic Universities in the Midwest. (It’s late. I’m cantankerous and need a nap. or that statement is true).
The Pick: Marquette
EAST REGIONAL – #3 Syracuse vs. #14 Indiana State (TruTV, 9:57)
The last game of the night should be haute as Indiana State tries to salvage Missouri Valley conference pride. Syracuse had a lull mid-season, but got back on track. Will Scoop Jardine regress to shooting the ball too much?
The Pick: Syracuse too athletic, pulls away late.
[photo via Getty]