(1) North Carolina v. (16) Eastern Kentucky: The Tar Heels are probably the most talented team in the nation. They have a nice combination of size (Hansbrough, Wright and Terry) and dependable guards who have shown an ability to play well despite their age (Ellington and Lawson). Eastern Kentucky is also a young team, but they're simply not as talented as NC. Sophomore guard Mike Rose leads the team 15.2 per game and freshman guard Adam Leonard averages 12.4 per game. Check out Carolina March, a North Carolina Tarheels blog. DTN Pick: North Carolina.
(8) Marquette v. (9) Michigan State: What a delicious matchup. Tech played Marquette early in the year and was impressed by their guards. Dominic James is a legitimate NBA prospect and Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews are long and talented. Michigan State's Drew Neitzel has been really good for the Spartans and MSU is capable of beating the big boys, or at least 1 big boy (Wisconsin). This is a very young team and they are probably at least a year away from competing for something better than just a spot in the tournament. DTN Pick: Marquette.
(5) Southern Cal v. (12) Arkansas: Southern Cal is long and can score, but that's all they've got. Nick Young, Lodrick Steward, Gabe Pruitt and Taj Gibson all average in double figures. Yes, this is a talented team, but if the Trojans aren't hitting on all cylinders then there is the real potential to get blown out. Arkansas just got lucky. When the Razorbacks played Tech, it was obvious that they were a reckless basketball team. They've matured, somewhat, and I think they are a more reliable team, but they had a losing record in the SEC. The Razorbacks are also probably a year away. Check out Conquest Chronicles, a USC Trojans blog. DTN Pick: USC.
(4) Texas v. (13) New Mexico State: Don't get me started, Kevin Durant is absolutely incredible, he's the type of player that can carry a team. The question is, how far? Durant and the Longhorns will go as far as Augustine and Abrams carry them. If UT doesn't get production from those two then they don't advance, unless of course KD scores 50. NMS isn't a bad club, they are just having to play the best player in the nation. NMS does have some long lean athletes that could potentially matchup with Durant, but honestly there little possibility that the Aggies can win. Besides, we can't pick Aggies. Check out Burnt Orange Nation, a Texas Longhorns blog. DTN Pick: Texas.
(6) Vanderbilt v. (11) George Washington: I've always like Vandy, maybe it was their basketball court, but the reality is that this team went 10-6 in the SEC, that quite an accomplishment. Derrick Byars and Shan Foster lead the Commodores in scoring. I watched a little big of the GW and Rhode Island finale and this is a talented and relentless GW squad. Maureece Rice scores 16.2 per game and Carl Elliott scores 13.1. DTN Pick: Vanderbilt.
(3) Washington State v. (14) Oral Roberts: I smell upset. Much is made that this WSU club is a Bennett coached team which means that the Cougars play with pace. This is not a high scoring club and will depend on their defense to make it through to the next round. The Prayer Tower will be in full effect as the Golden Eagles will face the Cougs. ORU is led by senior forward Caleb Green 20.8 per game (and he's a load at 255) and guard Ken Tutt at 16.1 per game. DTN Pick: Oral Roberts.
(7) Boston College v. (10) Texas Tech: Double T Nation Preview. DTN Pick: Texas Tech.
(2) Georgetown v. (15) Belmont: How many teams actually have a 7-3 center who can actually play? Not many, but the Hoyas are blessed with center Roy Hibbert who scores 12.3 points a game. Forward Jeff Green is multi-talented and causes so many matchup problems for their opponents. Belmont is led by guard Justin Hare at 14.4 points a game and 6-10 center Boomer Herndon at 10.9 per game. I won't waste much effort on Belmont as I expect the Hoyas to play their JV squad by halftime. DTN Pick: Georgetown.