(10) Indiana vs. (7) Wichita State
The Hoosiers and the Shockers will take the court today in what will certainly be an exciting matchup. This will be a high energy, fast paced game that will probably come down to the very last seconds of the game. Wichita State has become a mid-major powerhouse over the years but they have been cursed with having to go against powerhouses in years past. Last year they survived the first round but were later eliminated by Kentucky. Indiana had a mediocre season but they seem to be clicking on all strides when it matters the most. Their best inside player Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be back on the floor for Coach Crean. This is a toss-up matchup but in the end it will come down to the Hoosiers being shocked.
Pick: Wichita State
(15) Belmont vs. (2) Virginia
This game will be ugly for Belmont. Virginia is one of the best teams in the nation and if it weren’t for an early slip up in the ACC Tournament the Cavaliers would probably be a #1 seed. Throughout the year Virginia compiled a 29-3 record in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The problem for them is two of those three losses have come in the last three games. However, this is going to be a game where the Belmont Bruins are going to be completely outmatched in every aspect of the game.
(13) UC-Irvine vs. (4) Louisville
Rick Pitino has seen his fair share of tournament games and he will lead his Louisville Cardinals against the UC-Irvine Anteaters on Friday. It will be an extremely difficult challenge for the Anteaters to hang with the powerhouse from the ACC. Louisville has shown their signs of weakness in their last couple games but with time to correct those flaws, Pitino will have his team ready to go when the ball is tipped. The advantage that UC-Irvine will hold over Louisville is their size inside. The Anteaters have three players that are at least 6’10” tall, and they hope to give the Louisville big men all that they can handle.
(13) Valparaiso vs. (4) Maryland
Valpo has always been a mid-major team that must be watched in the NCAA tournament. Ever since they broke the hopes that Ole Miss had in 1998 when Bryce Drew nailed a buzzer beater to get the victory. The Crusaders refer to the school’s defining moment as “The Shot”. Valpo has a team that has overcome obstacles and got themselves back to the tournament. They will face off against the Maryland Terrapins who have been having a very strong season. They are led by senior Dez Wells who is the only player on their roster that has tournament experience. Maryland has one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten and the nation that will lead them to a victory against the Crusaders.