Ughhhh…. these last two days… I can’t even… my bracket is in ruins. Two of my Final Four teams were eliminated (on the plus side I didn’t have Cincinnati or Dayton going to the Championship). Many of my picks were downright wrong, with the exception of me being within a single point(!) of being 100% accurate in the UConn-Colorado game. Well, without further adieu, here’s my predictions for Round 2. I’ll probably get most of them wrong again.
Well, let the hate continue:
Yale vs Duke
I have a feeling, just a feeling, that Yale’s got this. Even though I picked Duke to lose to UNCW and they survived, they barely survived. Yale too barely survived, but they barely survived against a higher seed than Duke did. This one will go to the wire, but again, just a feeling, Yale’s got this.
Yale 78, Duke 77
Indiana vs Kentucky
I underestimated the capabilities of both these teams. I’m still gonna stand with the team I picked to get to the Sweet Sixteen: Indiana. I feel that Indiana’s the better team all around, and that Kentucky, despite it’s strengths, has some very exploitable weaknesses. Again, this one will also be a tight game.
Indiana 81, Kentucky 77
Little Rock vs Iowa State
I didn’t think Little Rock, despite having the pieces to pull off the upset, had enough time to do so. Boy was I wrong, although I didn’t look wrong until the last five minutes of that game. I don’t think Iowa State is the kind of team Little Rock matches up well with though. I suppose we’ll see Saturday though.
Iowa State 83, Little Rock 71
Butler vs Virginia
This is a matchup prediction that I got correct! And nothing either team did Thursday convinced me to change my mind that Butler will win this game. Butler is, by just a bit, the better team. Virginia benefited by playing a team that shot just 30% in it’s field goals, and Butler has a far superior defense than Hampton.
Butler 73, Virginia 66
UConn vs Kansas
I have no idea why, but every bone in my body is screaming that UConn will upset Kansas in this game. I’m going to suppress those feelings because Kansas is obviously the better team here. If UConn can win this, UConn will be my favorite here on out, but I don’t think they will.
Kansas 88, UConn 73
Gonzaga vs Utah
Did I underestimate Gonzaga? Absolutely I did. Did I overestimate Utah? Absolutely not… well maybe. They are only one of two PAC-12 teams that left the first round and aren’t currently on the bus back home. I’m still feeling bullish on the Utes though. Maybe because Utah did better against BYU than Gonzaga has done against BYU.
Utah 76, Gonzaga 72
Providence vs UNC
Providence… I absolutely despise that you beat my upset pick at practically the last second. And I think that your inconsistency doesn’t match up well against North Carolina. If you play well, you can win. If you play like you did against USC, let’s just say you won’t be able to get a last second bucket this time.
UNC 81, Providence 73
Iowa vs Villanova
Iowa had been a giant killer all season, but they waned late in the season and barely escaped Temple. Villanova rocked a #15 seed, but remains inconsistent from game to game. I look for the better team to win and go to the Sweet Sixteen, which means I have to go with Villanova here.
Villanova 78, Iowa 75
Stephen F. Austin vs Notre Dame
I’m fairly embarrassed by what I wrote about SF Austin last time. They’re far better than I expected to be able to beat West Virginia. Still, they have to play Notre Dame. And ya know what? If you can beat West Virginia at it’s own game, you’ll probably be able to beat Notre Dame too.
Stephen F Austin 76, Notre Dame 67
VCU vs Oklahoma
Oklahoma, with a few minutes remaining against Bakersfield, looked like they could join Michigan State in the category “Teams that lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and the College Football Playoff”. Luckily for them they returned to their senses and pulled away. But that convinced me that VCU has a real shot at grinding this game out and grinding Oklahoma down. You made it farther than your football team Oklahoma, but you won’t get much farther like this.
VCU 68, Oklahoma 64
Middle Tennessee vs Syracuse
If you’d asked me what the least likely matchup would be in the second round, this probably would be in my top five least likely. But Middle Tennessee came to play and Syracuse was better than I expected. The way Middle Tennessee outplayed Michigan State though suggests to me that this team could do some serious damage and probably make it to the Sweet Sixteen and perhaps even farther.
MTSU 73, Syracuse 65
Hawaii vs Maryland
This is a hard game to judge for me really. Was Hawaii as good as they suggested against California, or was that because 2/5 Cal starters didn’t start? Is Maryland lucky to escape South Dakota State? Excluding luck though, I think Hawaii is somewhat favorable against Maryland. If they can rebound enough balls, Hawaii just might make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
Hawaii 67, Maryland 66
Northern Iowa vs Texas A&M
Northern Iowa is here by the grace of a half court three point shot. Twice to end their last two games. Texas A&M has done strong against teams similar to Northern Iowa. Lightning doesn’t strike the same place three times in a row, right? Right?
TAMU 76, Northern Iowa 74
Wisconsin vs Xavier
Wisconsin scored only 16 points in the first half against Pittsburgh. While they have a stout defense, Xavier hasn’t run into a defense they can’t score on. This could be over by halftime at worst, at best it’ll be over by the 10 minute mark in the second half.
Xavier 71, Wisconsin 53
St. Joe’s vs Oregon
After Oregon buzzed through Holy Cross like any self respecting #1 seed would have done, it’s hard to imagine St. Joe’s being able to go toe to toe with this team. Except St. Joe’s has a good defense and a scary mascot. I think I’ll give Oregon the advantage here.
Oregon 76, St. Joe’s 70
To end, here’s a picture of the St. Joe’s Hawk. Sweet dreams.