I’m short on time, so I’ll just get right into the picks for today. Expect more long-form pieces prior to tomorrow’s picks (if anyone’s truly missing it).
(2) Duke over (15) Albany (12:15pm, CBS)
Duke has only lost one game with Ryan Kelly in the lineup. Last year’s early exit aside, I can’t see Albany handing them their second loss.
(5) Wisconsin over (12) Ole Miss (12:40pm, truTV)
Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson has been a pretty hot name since the SEC Tournament, but he can’t handle the balance and tournament experience of Wisconsin by himself.
(8) NC State over (9) Temple (1:40pm, TBS)
Though their high preseason ranking (#8 in most polls) has only warranted a #8 seed, the Wolfpack of NC State have more than enough talent on offense to win a game or two. This should be a fun one.
(2) Miami-FL over (15) Pacific (2:10pm, TNT)
Speaking of experience, Miami has plenty, with a few players over the age of 23. They’re essentially the AARP of college basketball today. They’ll likely run the floor with Pacific.
(7) Creighton over (10) Cincinnati (2:45pm, CBS)
Creighton lives and dies by forward Doug McDermott, but I like his chances to take over the game
(13) La Salle over (4) Kansas State (3:10pm, truTV)
As you can probably tell, I’m not very high on K-State. Not that I have a ton of faith in La Salle, but their wins over conference foes VCU and Butler are a pretty great trait of a potential “Cinderella” team.
(1) Indiana over (16) James Madison (4:10pm, TBS)
The concept of the Colonial winner only warranting a #16 seed in the tournament is new, but don’t let their ranking fool you. They could keep this one respectable. No way I’d take them over Indiana, however.
(7) Illinois over (10) Colorado (4:40pm, TNT)
Their record says otherwise, but the Fighting Illini have talent. They also have balance, which is always a pretty big deciding factor for me.
(2) Georgetown over (15) Florida-Gulf Coast (6:50pm, TBS)
The Eagles have balance and pretty respectable depth on their bench, but a defense like Georgetown’s is tough to pick against.
(2) Ohio State over (15) Iona (7:15pm, CBS)
I’m not saying that Iona’s completely dependent on their offense to put up points in droves, but if they don’t, this one could be ugly.
(8) North Carolina over (9) Villanova (7:20pm, TNT)
UNC hasn’t been the least bit impressive this season, but I like them to win one game and set up a meeting with Roy Williams’s former team next round.
(3) Florida over (14) Northwestern State (7:27pm, truTV)
I picked Florida to win my bracket, so no surprise here. If they can play anything like the Florida of mid-season who destroyed everyone in their path, you’ll come around to my side eventually.
(10) Oklahoma over (7) San Diego State (9:20pm, TBS)
Neither team is great from long-range, so expect an active paint. But I’ll take the senior leadership of the Sooners (including Chesapeake native Steven Pledger).
(10) Iowa State over (7) Notre Dame (9:45pm, CBS)
Don’t expect a lot of great defense out of this one, but I do like Iowa State’s speed and tempo to outlast the Irish. Threes galore.
(1) Kansas over (16) Western Kentucky (9:50pm, TNT)
No explanation needed.
(11) Minnesota over (6) UCLA (9:57, truTV)
I guess I’m expecting one big renaissance this tournament. Minnesota was another team who started hot, but floundered down the stretch (5-11). But surprisingly, they’re favored to beat Shabazz Muhammad and UCLA.