(1) Ohio State v. (16) Central Connecticut State: OSU is such a strong team, although Durant has gotten much deserved love, Oden can be just as dominating. Think about this next time you watch him play, he weighs 280 pounds. That's big. Aside from Oden, freshman guard Mike Conley, Jr., Daequan Cook, and Ron Lewis all score in double figures. Something else that came to mind wasn't Ivan Harris a McDonald's All-American? This is a deep talented that can be expected to do very well. I'm not going to give the CCS Blue Devils much of a chance here. CCS does have some decent scorers (see Tristan Blackwood, Javier Mojicac and Obie Nwadike) but they've got nothing inside. Expect a low scoring affair. Check out Around the Oval, a Ohio State Buckeyes blog. DTN Pick: Ohio State.
(8) BYU v. (9) Xavier: BYU played well in a very top heavy conference. Either you won 10 games or more (the top 4 teams) or you had a losing conference record. BYU has decent size (Plaisted) and some guards with some size (Cummard and Balderson) and they have an Ainge (just think how good Tennessee is). I've always like the Musketeers, probably because I like the mascot "musketeer", it sounds so cool. Xavier has 4 players averaging in double figures and I remember watching Justin Cage a couple of years ago and was amazed by his athletic ability. Well, he's now their 4th leading scorer, which tells me that those folks up in Ohio gots some talent. Justin Doellman scores 13.4 per game and former OU Sooner, Drew Lavender scores 11.2. DTN Pick: Xavier.
(5) Tennessee v. (12) Long Beach State: I'm just going to say this once, don't sleep on the 49er's. The Vols Chris Lofton is a talented shooting guard (20.6/gm) and Bruce Pear is doing something right (no, not body painting). This is not a particularly big Tennessee team, but we see it every year, guard play wins games in the NCAA Tournament. The 49er's can score a lot of points. Long Beach State is a senior laden team led by Aaron Nixon (18.6/gm) Kejuan Johnson (15.3/gm) Serling Byrd (13.9/gm) and Kevin Houston (11.7/gm). LBS isn't particularly big either, only 1 player over 6-9 of significance. I'm very tempted to pick an upset here, very very tempted, but I won't, Tennessee has too many quality wins. Check out Rocky Top Talk, a Tennessee Volunteers blog. DTN Pick: Tennessee.
(4) Virginia v. (13) Albany: Haven't watched a minute of Cavalier basketball, but I've watched Singletary and Reynolds in past years and always thought they should be better than their record. Well this year, Virginia tied NC for the best record in the tough ACC (11-5) and Singletary scores 18.9/gm and Reynolds chips in 17.8/gm. I think Virginia is one of those sleeper teams that no one is talking about now, but they will be after the weekend. Quick, what's Albany's mascot? Didn't think so, it's the Great Danes for those of you who aren't sports experts. Guard Jamar Wilson averages 18.6/gm for the Great Danes. DTN Pick: Virginia.
(6) Louisville v. (11) Stanford: This Cardinal team is an underachieving bunch. David Padgett should average double figures but he doesn't. Instead Louisville is led by freshman forward Terrence Williams (12.7/gm) and sophomore guard Edgar Sosa (10.7/gm). Louisville is probably playing for next year as their team is littered with freshman and sophomores. Stanford is very long and they don't have sons of NBA coaches or gm's anymore. Tech was demolished by The Cardinal earlier in the year. The Lopez brothers are legitimate 7 footers and Brook averages 12.4/gm. Sophomore Lawrence Hill scores 15.9/gm. Stanford had a winning record, but remember, the Pac-10 had 3 teams with 12 or more losses. Check out Card Chronicle, a Louisville Cardinals blog. DTN Pick: Louisville.
(3) Texas A&M v. (14) Penn: I've got to admit something. I love the Aggies as a team. Once again, a great combination of good guards and quality big men. I think A&M would be unstoppable if they had another legitimate big man I'd pick them to win it all. Acie Law, IV is clutch and when Josh Carter is hot he can't miss. Jones and Kavaliauskas round out the inside players. Penn is one of those teams that has got to be a little scary for the Ags. Traditionally, Penn is a motion offense type of team and this year senior forward Mark Zoller is scoring 18.2/gm for the Quakers while Ibrahim Jaaber averages 15.9/gm. If I didn't absolutely love A&M's defense I might pick an upset here. DTN Pick: Texas A&M.
(7) Nevada v. (10) Creighton: I think both of these teams are a little overrated. Nevada's Nick Fazekas is a talented player, averaging a double-double (20.5/pts. and 11.2/reb.). Marcelus Kemp is also averaging 18.3/gm. Nevada's best wins were at home against UNLV and on the road against Cal. That's just not very inspiring. Guard Nate Funk leads Creighton and despite beating, well, no one of significance the Bluejays nab a #10 seed. I'm picking the winner of this game to lose in the next round out of indifference. DTN Pick: Nevada.
(2) Memphis v. (15) North Texas: Talk about overrated, how did Memphis nab a #2 seed when there are probably more deserving teams? The Tigers did go undefeated in conference play which is nice, the problem of course is that this team clearly out-classes every other team in terms of athletes. Chris Douglas-Roberts is an uber-athlete and averages 15.4/gm. Jeremy Hunt also averages 15.6/gm as Memphis is a deep squad. Do you believe in the Mean Green? North Texas finished 3rd in their conference and despite the outstanding play of seniors Calvin Watson and Kendrick Davis I think they are a little thin against the Tigers. DTN Pick: Memphis.