#3 BYU Cougars (+3) vs. #2 Florida Gators (149)
This is a great rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament, as the Gators were knocked out of the dance in the first round by the Cougs. Florida returns basically its entire team from last season, but the problem is that BYU also has back Jimmer Fredette. Unless Head Coach Billy Donovan has figured out something magical that no one else has, Jimmer Mania should once again run rampant. Advantage: Jimmer.
Prediction: BYU 80 – Florida 72
#8 Butler Bulldogs (+5) vs. #4 Wisconsin Badgers (124)
We just can’t leave this number on the board. Time has to be running out on the Bulldogs. They just can’t be this good to be able to take down monster after monster in the dance. The Badgers look to have the consistent team in place that should be able to finish off the job that Pittsburgh and Old Dominion started.
Prediction: Wisconsin 60 – Butler 50
#3 Connecticut Huskies (pk) vs. #2 San Diego State Aztecs (130)
Home court advantage should be key here for the Aztecs. They don’t have to stop an entire team here either; just Kemba Walker. Yes, that’s easier said than done, but UConn hasn’t seen a balanced team like this with so much mojo on its side.
Prediction: San Diego State 68 – Connecticut 64
#5 Arizona Wildcats (+8.5) vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils (145)
Derrick Williams packed the Memphis Tigers, and he stuffed up the Texas Longhorns as well. Arizona, like SDSU, will have home court advantage on its side playing on the West Coast, and that should finally finish off the overhyped defending champs once and for all.
Prediction: Arizona 72 – Duke 65
#11 Marquette Golden Eagles (+4.5) vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (149.5)
The Tar Heels were lucky just to get here to Newark, but now that they are here, they could do a ton of damage. Carolina’s bigs will be just too good here, and Marquette doesn’t have the horses to keep up like Syracuse would have had it not lost Brandon Triche midway through the game.
Prediction: North Carolina 75 – Marquette 68
#4 Kentucky Wildcats (+5.5) vs. #1 Ohio State Buckeyes (140)
Kentucky has the talent to be able to stick around in this game, but when push really comes to shove, Ohio State’s sharp shooting is just too tough. Don’t be shocked if the Cats stick inside the number, though.
Prediction: Ohio State 77 – Kentucky 74
#12 Richmond Spiders (+10.5) vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks (138)
Kansas is going to have the ultimate home court advantage just a few hours away from Lawrence. Richmond might be a nice upstart team, but the magic run ends in a big time way this week as the region’s top seed smashes Cinderella’s slipper to advance to the Elite 8.
Prediction: Kansas 80 – Richmond 65
#12 VCU Rams (+3.5) vs. #11 Florida State Seminoles (132)
FSU has withstood some of the biggest tests in the land, but this pressure defense is going to be too much to handle, especially if Chris Singleton isn’t around to deal with it. VCU’s magical run for VCU and Head Coach Shaka Smart advances into the Elite 8 with a win over the Noles.
Prediction: VCU 69 – Florida State 66