(16) Coastal Carolina vs. (1) Wisconsin
Looking to march their way all the way to the championship game are the Badgers of Wisconsin. Arguably the best player in the nation plays for Wisconsin in Frank Kaminsky. The 7’0’’ tall senior forward is a nominee for almost every award imaginable. The kid does it all and there are few players that are able to slow versatile big man. Coastal Carolina is not going to be scared of the powerhouse. The Chanticleers are ready to go toe-to-toe with the one team that some people feel can knock off Kentucky. Last year in the first round Coastal Carolina gave Virginia everything that they could handle in the first round of the tournament. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is prepared that his opponent will come out and give them everything that they have. In the end, Kaminsky and the Badgers will be too much to handle.
(9) St. Johns vs. (8) San Diego State
St. Johns will be attempting to knock off the Aztecs of San Diego State without one of their best players. Chris Obekpa started 24 of 30 games for St. Johns’s but the team suspended him for a failed drug test. Head coach for San Diego State Steve Fisher is more than aware that even without their big man they are still good enough to win. San Diego State has a roster that is loaded with tournament experience. Having players that know what it takes to win on that stage should prove to be very valuable in the matchup against St. Johns. The x-factor in this matchup will be the ability for San Diego State to shoot the rock. If they go cold it could be a long day for the Aztecs, and if they get hot they should see themselves moving on to the next round.
Pick: San Diego State
(15) North Dakota State vs. (2) Gonzaga
When there’s March basketball you know that Gonzaga is not far away. This will mark the 17th straight year that the Gonzaga Bulldogs have made it to the NCAA Tournament. The coach of Gonzaga is Mark Few and he is attempting to take his team further than they have ever gone in the tournament. Last year got ugly for the Bulldogs when they suffered a beat down from Arizona. In that same game Kevin Pangos was injured and that played a major role in the teams performance. This year Pangos is back healthy and with his teammates Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer the Bulldogs should handle a North Dakota State that will be outmatched in almost every aspect of the game. This one is a no brainer.
(11) Dayton vs. (6) Providence
There hasn’t been a team in college basketball that has had more on their schedule than the Dayton Flyers. Most people will look for Providence to get an easy win in this matchup because of the fatigue that Dayton players may be suffering from. When the Flyers take on Providence it will mark their fifth game in eight days. Most NBA teams don’t even get dealt that type of schedule. The Flyers have missed some practice time but the roll the Flyers have been on could propel them into the next round of the tournament. Providence is looking to get past the first round in their second consecutive trip to the tourney. That almost happened for the Friars last year but they let a lead slip against North Carolina when they were the 11th seed. Due to the region that these two teams are playing in, this game will feel like a home game for Dayton, as they will be playing in Columbus, Ohio. This one smells like an upset. Dayton hits a buzzer beater from three-point range and they move on.