Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Picks

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I'm 1-3 in NCAA Tournament picks so far. The UTSA Roadrunners came through for me. No one else did. Fortunately, no points were on the line for the First Four. Anyway, here are Kevin's picks for the first second round games. I'll have to run through my Thursday picks quickly because I have to leave for work in an hour. (I'll only be working a half day because I took vacation time to watch this afternoon's games.)

5 West Virginia over 12 Clemson
Clemson looked impressive in its First Four game, winning its first NCAA Tournament game in ages. Now the Tigers have to play West Virginia, a team one year removed from the Final Four, on 36 hours' rest. I expect the Mountaineers to move on.

4 Kentucky over 13 Princeton
It's nice to see Princeton return to the Dance, but their stay will be short. After struggling on the road for much of the season, Kentucky closed strong and will be a tough out in this tournament.

7 Temple over 10 Penn State
I have very little confidence in this pick, but only in the NCAA Tournament will two teams from Pennsylvania face off in Tucson, Arizona.

2 San Diego State over 15 Northern Colorado

3 Connecticut over 14 Bucknell
Don't be surprised if Bucknell pulls the upset.

6 Cincinnati over 11 Missouri
I have no faith in Missouri to win a big game away from Columbia.

13 Morehead State over 4 Louisville
I'm putting a lot of faith in Morehead's Kenneth Faried, who will be the best player on the floor.

5 Vanderbilt over 12 Richmond
I feel obliged to pick the Commodores to survive at least one round, since Vanderbilt granted me a degree. But I'm not optimistic. The Spiders are much better than their seed suggests (and they have one of the great nicknames in college sports).

8 Butler over 9 Old Dominion
This was a tough call. I went with tournament experience (though this is the same ODU team that upset Notre Dame in the first round last year). Also, my mom earned her master's degree from Butler, so I like to pick them to win at least one game.

1 Pittsburgh over 16 UNC-Ashevi but lle

2 Florida over 15 UC Santa Barbara

4 Wisconsin over 13 Belmont
My first instinct was to pick Belmont. Then every single analyst for CBS, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated picked Belmont. I hate trendy picks, so I'm going with Wisconsin. The Badgers have a very good team, albeit one that scored 33 points against Penn State last weekend.

10 Michigan State over 7 UCLA
Frankly, I don't think Michigan State deserves to be in this tournament, but I'm not picking against Tom Izzo in March.

11 Gonzaga over 6 St. John's
The Zags have been playing well down the stretch and the Johnnies are without leading rebounder D.J. Kennedy.

12 Utah State over 5 Kansas State
Tough call, but I have faith in Stew Morrill and think this is the year when the Aggies finally get over the hump.


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