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Sweet 16 Preview: Thursday Night Games

No. 4 Southern Illinois v. No. 1 Kansas

Game Time: 6:10 p.m. CST

Southern Illinois Players to Watch:

  • Jamaal Tatum, G, 6-2, Sr., 15.1 Pts., 3.0 Reb., 2.5 Ast.
  • Randal Falker, F, 6-7, Jr., 12.4 Pts., 7.7 Reb., 1.2 Ast.
  • Matt Shaw, F, 6-7, Jr., 11.4 Pts., 5.7 Reb., 1.2 Ast.

Kansas Players to Watch:

  • Brandon Rush, G, 6-6, So., 13.8 Pts., 5.6 Reb., 1.9 Ast.
  • Mario Chalmers, G, 6-1, So, 12.6 Pts., 3.1 Reb., 3.2 Ast.
  • Julian Wright, F, 6-8, 12.3 Pts., 8.0 Reb., 2.1 Ast.

Kansas is such a dominant team, I like the Jayhawks here, fairly easily. It's not about how the Jayhawks spread the wealth offensive, but it is how absolutely incredible they are defensively. SIU is a talented team, but I don't think that the talent level is even close. There are few games that I think there is a severe mismatch and this is one of them. Check out Rock Chalk Talk. DTN Pick: Kansas.

No. 3 Pittsburgh v. No. 2 UCLA

Game Time: 8:40 p.m. CST

Pittsburgh Players to Watch:

  • Aaron Gray, C, 7-0, Sr., 14.0 Pts., 9.6 Reb., 1.7 Ast.
  • Mike Cook, G, 6-4, Jr., 10.6 Pts., 3.4 Reb., 2.6 Ast.
  • Antonio Graves, G, 6-3, Sr., 9.4 Pts., 2.1 Reb., 2.4 Ast.

UCLA Players to Watch:

  • Arron Afflalo, G, 6-5, Jr., 16.7 Pts., 2.6 Reb., 2.0 Ast.
  • Josh Shipp, F, 6-5, So., 13.2 Pts., 3.8 Reb., 2.5 Ast.
  • Darren Collison, G, 6-1, So., 12.8 Pts., 2.4 Reb., 5.9 Ast.

The thing about UCLA is that I think they are one of those unusually deep and talented teams. Offensively, much like Kansas, they are balanced, and, also like the Jayhawks, they are great defensively. How many points did UCLA hold IU to in the 1st half? 13. That's right, 13 points. Despite having a true 7-foot center, I like UCLA's ability to match up with just about any team. Check out Bruins Nation. DTN Pick: UCLA.

No. 3 Texas A&M v. No. 2 Memphis

Game Time: 6:27 p.m. CST

Texas A&M Players to Watch:

  • Acie Law IV, G, 6-3, Sr., 18.2 Pts., 3.3 Reb., 5.1 Ast.
  • Joseph Jones, F-C, 6-9, Jr., 13.4 Pts., 6.8 Reb., 1.3 Ast.
  • Josh Carter, G, 6-7, So., 12.1 Pts, 3.9 Reb., 2.4 Ast.

Memphis Players to Watch:

  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, G, 6-6, So., 15.4 Pts., 3.4 Reb., 1.8 Ast.
  • Jeremy Hunt, G, 6-5, Sr., 13.6 Pts., 2.9 Reb., 1.4 Ast.
  • Robert Dozier, F, 6-9, So., 9.8 Pts., 6.1 Reb., 1.1 Ast.

There's something special about the Aggies, much of the credit goes to Law and Coach Gillespie, I think that their charisma and leadership are big reasons why this team is so successful. Memphis is incredibly talented, but I think they've coasted on that athletic ability with their first two wins. I like the Ags, and although most of you think that it pains me to say that, it doesn't, not in this case. Check out The 12th Manchild. DTN Pick: Texas A&M..

No. 5 Tennessee v. No. 1 Ohio State

Game Time: 8:57 p.m. CST

Tennessee Players to Watch:

  • Chris Lofton, G, 6-2, Jr., 20.7 Pts., 3.0 Reb., 1,8 Ast.
  • JaJuan Smith, G, 6-2, Jr., 15.3 Pts., 4.4 Reb., 1.3 Ast.
  • Ramar Smith, G, 6-2, Fr., 10.6 Pts., 3.4 Reb., 3.1 Ast.

Ohio State Players to Watch:

  • Greg Oden, C, 7-0, Fr., 15.6 Pts., 9.8 Reb., 0.7 Ast.
  • Ron Lewis, G, 6-4, Sr., 12.2 Pts., 3.5 Reb., 1.3 Ast.
  • Mike Conley, Jr., G, 6-1, Fr., 10.6 Pts., 3.3 Reb., 6.2 Ast.

Lots of folks are talking about the near-loss to Xavier and there's no doubt that Xavier out-played Ohio State. I really like the match-up here, can a guard-laden team, like Tennessee, beat a team with a Bill Russell-like presence, like Ohio State? A lot of that depends on where UT scores. If it's behind the arc, then give me the Vols, but if UT is cold from the outside, I like OSU. Unfortunately, for the Vols I don't think that Tennessee can have another spectacular game from their guards. Check out Rocky Top Talk and Around the Oval.DTN Pick: Ohio State.