16 Southern vs. 1 Gonzaga
Bulldogs should cruise into the round of 32.
9 Pittsburgh vs. 8 Wichita State
Good match-up between point guard’s Malcolm Armstead (10.4 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Tray Woodall (11.8 ppg, 5.2 apg). The Shockers have more offensive play makers and will win in a low scoring battle.
13 La Salle vs. Kansas State
The Explorers get solid guard play from Ramon Galloway (17 ppg) and Tyreek Duren (13.2 ppg). The Wildcats struggle to score and need Rodney McGruder (15.7 ppg) to lead offensively. The Wildcats should advance to the round of 32.
12 Ole Miss vs 5 Wisconsin
Ole Miss is riding the momentum of a SEC Tournament Championship. The Rebels Marshall Henderson (20.1 ppg) and the Badger’s Ben Brust (11.2 ppg) are polar opposites. Wisconsin doesn’t beat themselves and shoot the three ball very well. This combination makes them a tough out. Badgers win.
11 Belmont vs. 6 Arizona
The Bruins play at a face pace and are led by senior guards Ian Clark (18.1 ppg) and Kerron Johnson (13.7 ppg). Mark Lyons (14.8 ppg, 3.0 apg) and Nick Johnson (11.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) need to handle the pressure for the Wildcats. I like the Bruins ability to shoot the ball from 3 (38.6%) to pull off the upset.
14 Harvard vs. New Mexico
Junior guard 6’8 Tony Snell (12.6 ppg) is playing at a high level and the Lobos should advance to the round of 32.
10 Iowa State vs. 7 Notre Dame
The Cyclones have an up tempo attack led by forward Will Clyburn (15.0 ppg) and guard Tyrus McGee (13.2 ppg). Notre Dame relies on guards Jerian Grant (13.4 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Eric Atkins (11.4 ppg, 5.6 apg) for big minutes and production. I give the edge to the Irish with the presence of Jack Cooley (13.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg) on the interior.
15 Iona vs. 2 Ohio State
The Buckeyes are coming off a Big 10 Tournament Championship and are playing as well as anyone in the country. They will advance to the next round.
ROUND OF 32
8 Wichita State vs. Gonzaga
The Zags are led by All-American Kelly Olynyk (17.5 ppg, 7.2rpg) and point guard Kevin Pangos (11.5 ppg, 3.2 apg). The Zags can pound you inside with Olynyk and Elias Harris (14.9 ppg), or get out and transition and hurt you with the three. The Shockers don’t have enough fire power to stay with the Zags for forty minutes. Gonzaga advances to the Sweet 16.
5 Wisconsin vs. 4 Kansas State
The game will be a low scoring, defensive struggle. Kansas State needs another scoring option to help out Rodney McGruder. The Badgers have more scoring and advance to the Sweet 16.
11 Belmont vs. 3 New Mexico
The Lobos inside presence of 7-footer Alex Kirk (11.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Cameron Bairstow (9.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) will be a tough matchup for the Bruins. POY Kendall Williams is capable of handling the pressure, and Tony Snell will find opportunities to score in the open floor. Lobos advance.
7 Notre Dame vs. Ohio St.
Aaron Craft is the best on ball defender in the nation and will give Irish guards trouble. Ohio State’s athleticism will be the difference. Buckeyes advance.
5 Wisconsin vs. 1 Gonzaga
Really good sweet 16 match up. Jared Berggren (11.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) matches up well against Kelly Olynyk. Two well coached teams and great programs. I pick Gonzaga to advance to the elite eight.
3 New Mexico vs. 2 Ohio St
Big Ten leading scorer Deshaun Thomas (19.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg) ability to score could be the difference maker. Tony Snell will try to keep Thomas in check on the defensive end. New Mexico will need to execute in the half court against the Buckeyes stingy defense to win. The Buckeyes will advance to the elite eight.
2 Ohio State vs. 1 Gonzaga
The Zags will more than likely be the underdog in this matchup. Olynyk’s versatility to score from the outside will create problems for Ohio State’s bigs. Elias Harris and Mike Hart will take turns guarding Deshaun Thomas. Kevin Pangos will need to handle Aaron Craft’s pressure. The Zags get to the final four in a mild upset.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga – The redshirt junior has played at an All-American level and potentially in the first round of the NBA draft. He can score on the block, face up and put the ball on the floor, and step’s out to shoot the three.
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State- The Big Ten’s leading scorer has a smooth stroke and scores in a variety of ways.
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss- Cocky shooting guard has unlimited range, shot selection can be questionable at times.
Tony Snell, New Mexico- Slashing wing played really well in the Mountain West Tournament. Developing into a go to scorer and could make a name for himself in the Tournament.
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State- Good shooter who uses screens well in Bruce Weber’s motion offense.
Ryan Klaas is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball.