NCAA Tournament Primer: Day 2
The NCAA tournament didn't exactly get off to a rockin' start, but by mid-afternoon, things got interesting with St. Mary's near buzzer-beater over Memphis, and Marquette's improbable comeback win over Davidson. We saw a pair of 12 seeds (Oregon and California) advance - along with 14-seeded Harvard. The Crimson's win over New Mexico (3) was the biggest upset of the day.
What does Friday have on store? Below is a tournament primer for the day.
Friday, March 22
GAME OF THE DAY:
Cincinnati (10) vs. Creighton (7): I love games with contrasting styles. Cincinnati is a grind-it-out team that lacks scoring punch, but defends like junk-yard dogs. Creighton brings a smooth and potent offense lead by All-American, Doug McDermott. The team that wins the tempo battle will win the game.
I also like: Iowa State (10) vs. Notre Dame (7), La Salle (13) vs. Kansas State (4).
UPSET PICK OF THE DAY:
Minnesota (11) over UCLA (6): Neither team is exactly "HOT" coming into the tournament, but the Bruins are being viewed as damaged goods due to the loss of G Jordan Adams. Adams, the team's second-leading scorer, broke his foot during the PAC-12 Tournament, and will be watching from the sidelines. UCLA freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad will be forced to carry the load in his first ever NCAA tournament game.
The Gophers, meanwhile, have lost 11 of their last 16 games, and Tubby Smith may be coaching for his life. The Gophers are an excellent rebounding team, and have a better inside-outside game with F Trevor Mbakwe and G Andre Hollins.
Wisconsin, the number 5 seed in the west region, will take on Ole Miss (12) in a battle of teams with contrasting styles. The Rebels lowest scoring output during the regular season was 62 points. The Badgers, meanwhile, have the ninth best scoring defense in the nation, yielding about 56 points per game. Something has to give.
PLAYERS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:
Doug McDermott (Creighton) - The 6'7" junior was a first-team All-American as a sophomore and is a flat-out scorer. McDermott is one of the few players in the tournament who can single-handedly carry his team to multiple wins. He averaged 23.1 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game during the regular season.
Lamont "Momo" Jones (Iona) - The 6'0" (barely) point guard leads a high-octane offense that averages 87 points per game. Jones is lethal off the dribble and averaged 23 points per game largely due to his ability to get to the free throw line and make free throws.
Marshall Henderson (Ole Miss) - The 6'4" shooting guard has, arguably, more swagger and cockiness than any player in the tournament. No player will get under the skin of the opposition (and their fan base) more than Henderson. After beating Florida in the SEC championship game, he called all the other SEC coaches "losers". He's thrown ice at fans, and has a jaw that won't stop. Henderson is a lose cannon. He also averaged 20.1 points per game during the regular season. If he gets hot, he will let the Badgers, and their fans, know about it. Players like Henderson love the bright lights, so look for him to come out chucking.