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The Jeff Falconio Blog

NCAA Tournament: Let the games begin

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Let's get this out of the way.  My Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Miami.  Yeah I know I'm not really going out on a limb here but all indications suggest we're in for a wild tournament so I'm going with the safe picks.

 

Here's what I'll be looking at throughout the day.  First up, Memphis-St. Mary's.  The Gaels are fresh off their First Four win thanks to some precise outside shooting.  Memphis, as they seem to always do, put together another fine regular season but what's missing is a Tournament win under Josh Pastner.  This could be finally be the year the Tigers break through.

 

There's Marquette-Davidson and as I blogged earlier, the Golden Eagles must protect the basketball.  A good start to the game doesn't hurt either.  You know the old saying, the longer an underdog hangs around the more they start believing they can win.  The question is can Marquette put together a complete first half?

 

Mid-afternoon brings a 5-12 matchup ripe with upset potential: Oklahoma State-Oregon.  Oregon won the Pac-12 Tournament yet somehow ended up as a 12 seed.  We can say this about the Cowboys, they love drama.  OSU played in four overtime games and there's no reason to think this won't be close as well.

 

The most competitive game of the day might be Colorado State-Missouri.  Both teams rebound well and love to score.  In a year in which offense was down this could be one of the higher scoring early round games.

 

Finally, VCU-Akron.  The Rams were in "Shaka The World" mode in 2011 and in 2012, but that was as a double-digit seed.  This year the expectations are higher so can they handle the pressure of expectation?  The Zips put together a solid regular season and are looking to follow in the footsteps of conference mate Ohio who went to the Sweet 16 last year.

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