Well we got the matchup that we wanted. Through Thursday’s play, we got Indiana and Kentucky to move on. Also, Providence had a layup in the final seconds to knock off USC, who did absolutely everything they could to lose that game. Still, with Dunn and Bentil you can’t count them out against North Carolina. SFA was able to pull off the upset against West Virginia in the only true upset of the region. To me, the biggest second round match-ups here will be Wisconsin-Xavier and Indiana-Kentucky. Watch out for Wisconsin to sneakily take the Musketeers out of the tournament.
Players to watch in the second round: Marcus Paige (North Carolina), Brice Johnson (North Carolina), Kris Dunn (Providence), Ben Bentil (Providence), Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky), Jamaal Murray (Kentucky), Thomas Walkup (SFA), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin)
Click Read More to see my analysis for each game. All times are eastern.
1 NORTH CAROLINA vs. 9 Providence, Saturday 9:40pm on TBS – Providence really struggled with USC. Sure, it was a good game, but Kris Dunn did not play his typical game. He needs to get back on track to beat UNC, and I’m not sure I see the update coming.
5 Indiana vs. 4 KENTUCKY, Saturday 5:15pm on CBS – Guard play. Ulis vs. Yogi. This game will come down to which guards outplay the others. For once, Yogi will have the size advantage, but Ulis could easily have more skill. The difference for me will be Jamaal Murray and if he’s knocking down the jumper. I’m going with the Wildcats.
6 NOTRE DAME vs. 14 Stephen F. Austin, Sunday 2:40pm on CBS – What SFA did to West Virginia was amazing, but Notre Dame showed great resilience in their defeat of Michigan last night. I expect their grit to show up once again and knock the Lumberjacks out of here.
7 WISCONSIN vs. 2 Xavier, Sunday 8:40pm on TNT – I like Wisconsin’s physicality down low and Nigel Hayes’s ability to get to the free throw line. They have shot dreadfully in their last 2 games, but I think they get that back in this one. Also, you have to watch for Vitto Brown getting open jump shots. He is a versatile forward who might be the best 15-foot jump shooter in America (with a three point game too).
And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.