Welcome back, everyone. I hope you enjoyed last night’s first installment of the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and our Dummy’s Guide to sounding somewhat intelligent in the company of people who watch more college basketball than you. I went 2-for-4 with my picks from last night, as Syracuse and Florida won their games and Cincinnati and Michigan State really took massive horse dumps in their respective matchups. But I also technically rode the fence on each game enough that I can say I was 4-for-4.
What can I say, I’m an expert.
We’re back at it tonight, and I know it’s a Friday and all, but I’ll still be live chatting the action up from the handy dandy portable intelligent telephone. I’ll be at the Orlando Magic game, per the usual, which will make it all more fun. Make your predictions, quips and witticisms in the comments and there will be free t-shirts and possibly other surprises to be given out.
Admit it, you’re excited.
(Images via Getty.)
Time: 7:15 p.m.
What you need to know about Xavier: That Xavier University is located in Cincinnati. Seriously, one of my favorite bar games in the world is “Guess Where This School Is” because people never know where schools like Xavier, St. Joe’s and St. Mary’s are located. Give it a try when you’re among friends later and see how many people you can stump for free drinks. But, as always, gamble for drinks responsibly.
Oh, and the Musketeers were 23-12 (10-6) this season, good enough for third in the Atlantic 10. They’re pretty inconsistent, having lost several games they had no business losing earlier in the season.
What you need to know about Baylor: That their uniforms are made from the blood of tiny, endangered neon fish at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Brutal color scheme, guys.
At 29-7 (12-6) Baylor finished third in the Big 12 behind Tourney 2-seeds Kansas and Missouri. Here’s a fun fact: I picked Mizzou to win it all. Just feel like pointing out my complete lack of expertise yet again. Baylor won 17 consecutive games to begin the season, before eventually losing back-to-back games against Kansas and Missouri. In fact, the Bears were 1-5 this season against Kansas and Mizzou. That means nothing tonight.
Players to watch: For Baylor, the go-to guys are Pierre Jackson and Perry Jones, but I think 3-pt. specialist Brady Heslip is going to play a big role tonight. For Xavier, everything depends on Tu Holloway, which means the pressure is on Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells to hit their shots and open up the perimeter for Holloway.
Who should win: Baylor. Xavier’s three aforementioned shooters are going to need to be lights out tonight.
Who will win: Baylor. They’re just better.
Time: 7:47 p.m.
What you need to know about Ohio: The Bobcats had the best overall record in the MAC this season at 29-7, but they were 11-5 in conference play, which was good enough for third place. That means nothing, though, because they beat Akron in one hell of a MAC Championship game, and they’ve dispatched a good enough Michigan team and the incredibly feisty USF Bulls to get to this point.
Still, do they have the gas to get through this one? Gonna take a miracle.
What you need to know about UNC: That they’re pretty ridiculously good. Seriously, that’s all you need to know. If someone asks you what you think about UNC, just say, “They’re athletic” or “They’re complete”. Either way, you’re right.
But will Kendall Marshall miss this game and mess all of that up? DRAMA!
Players to watch: For Ohio, it’s D.J. Cooper who shoots threes like his heart will stop if he steps into the paint. But Ohio’s forwards – Walter Offutt and Reggie Keely – are going to need to get involved. For UNC, a lot will depend on Marshall, but Roy Williams said the guard can’t even brush his teeth. That means the pressure will be on Stillman White and Justin Watts to replace him. Oh, and Harrison Barnes, who is pretty damn good.
Who should win: UNC. Marshall or not, the Tar Heels are just that much better.
Who will win: UNC. Sorry Ohio, it’s been fun and all, but you know… miracles.
Time: 9:45 p.m.
What you need to know about Indiana: The pressure is on the Hoosiers to rep the Big Ten, with Wisconsin and Michigan State getting dropped last night. Otherwise, it’s just Ohio State left and nobody wants that.
What you need to know about Kentucky: That they’re really good. Like super good. And that’s why we hate John Calipari, because he’s always putting together these fantastic teams through his ability to recognize quality talent and convince these players that their education is the most important thing and selling them on his abilities as a coach.
Hey, who keeps making those fart noises?
Players to watch: For Indiana, the stars tonight will need to be shooters Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls, who will need to open up room down low for Cody Zeller. For Kentucky, it’s all Anthony Davis. He’s a talented young man.
Who should win: Kentucky. They’re too good.
Who will win: Indiana. It has to happen. For the good of humanity. And also, because Bob Knight’s reaction will be priceless.
Time: 10:17 p.m.
What you need to know about NC State: That the Wolfpack is a bloodthirsty team hellbent on colliding with UNC once more to avenge the 69-67 loss that booted NC State from the ACC Tournament. And probably the two other losses that UNC handed them earlier in the season. Basically, NC State players are playing with a lot of hate in their hearts right now and that’s what makes them so awesome.
What you need to know about Kansas: The Jayhawks were better than Mizzou, clearly, despite that whole not winning the Big 12 Tournament. They’re also very well-balanced and have a lot of talent, which is why they were 16-2 in conference play this season. Kansas is a very smart team, and the Jayhawks probably won’t let NC State get by them.
Players to watch: For Kansas, it’s Thomas Robinson. He’s about as dominant as they come. For NC State, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell are the guys who are going to have to try to contain Robinson.
Who should win: Kansas.
Who will win: Ehhhhhhhh, not sold on this one, but I’m picking Kansas. NC State is giving me that Florida Gators vibe, like they’re just getting hot when it matters.