NCAA Basketball: Round 2 Predictions

Steve O Speak

5 WVU vs. 4 Kentucky:

Although Kentucky played a little worse in their opening round game, I like them in this matchup. The Wildcats didn’t get much production from their young talented freshmen against Princeton, and I’m betting the Mountaineers won’t catch them off guard again. I look for Brandon Knight to have a bit of a coming out party today, and don’t really think West Virginia has an answer for him. I like for Kentucky to win this game fairly easily, and ride off into the Sweet 16.

7 UCLA vs 2 Florida:

The Bruins may come in as a 7th seed, but I wouldn’t count them out just yet. They have a lot of big time talent, and while they might be younger they have a lot of talent and potential. They played a pretty good game in round one, and could give the Gators some matchup problems inside. Overall though I like the Gators to win this game in a close contest, that will likely be decided by 5 points or less. I think the Gators are just too deep and slightly more talented than the Bruins. The game will come down to the end, but I think Florida will be advancing to the next round.

13 Morehead State vs 12 Richmond:

As easy as it is to root for the Eagles I have a feeling their Cinderella story ends today, and the Spiders add another chapter to their own. While Richmond doesn’t have anyone to match Morehead State’s center Kenneth Faried in the paint, they will limit his effectiveness by simply not missing. Richmond is an insane three point shooting team and I see that as being the difference in this game. Unless the Eagles find someway to slow down Richmond’s shooting ability I just don’t see how they can win this game. I see it being fairly close game, but with Richmond pulling it out in the end.

7 Temple vs 2 San Diego State:

Although the Temple Owls had a very memorable finish to their opening round win over Penn State, I don’t think their 2nd round game will have nearly as much last-second drama. I think San Diego State is going to run away with this game. I think the Aztecs are simply to strong, fast and athletic for the Owls to handle. I see this being a double digit win for the San Diego State as they punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.

8 Butler vs 1 Pittsburgh:

Although Pitt showed themselves to be a top team in their first round game, Butler isn’t going to be an easy matchup for the Panthers. The Bulldogs are a veteran team that made it all the way to the National Championship game last year. Although they don’t have much in the way of star talent, they play in a system that gets the most out of their abilities. Overall I think Pitt is a much deeper and balanced team, but they can’t take Butler lightly. I think Pittsburgh wins a hard fought game in the end, with their impressive defense and behind their star guard Ashton Gibbs.

11 Gonzaga vs 3 BYU:

Although a lot of people are thinking that Gonzaga will upset BYU here, I wouldn’t count out the Cougars just yet. BYU’s Jimmer Fredette is the best player in the tournament, and I think he has what it takes to lead the Cougars to the Sweet 16.

5 Kansas State vs 4 Wisconsin:

Although the Badgers knocked of Ohio State at one point this season and are obviously the higher seed, I don’t like this matchup for Wisconsin. I think Kansas State is a stronger and quicker team that Wisconsin simply can’t keep up with. K-State has been pretty streaky this year, but they have the talent to play with anyone. I really like star guard Jacob Pullen, and don’t know if Wisconsin can keep up with him. I think it will be a close contest, but one that K-State will ultimately win.

6 Cincinnati vs 3 Connecticut:

Given the vast number of Big East teams this is the first time two conference opponents have met before the Sweet 16, so while Connecticut is the higher seed they do face an opponent who definitely is very familiar with them. While the Bearcats might have an advantage over most opponents in this matchup, I think Connecticut has too much fire power to lose this game. Kemba Walker is a fantastic player and I don’t see an answer for him on the Bearcats bench.

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