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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NCAA hoops: Capsule matchups for Thursday's NCAA Tournament games

By Mike Huguenin


All times EDT.


No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 16 East Tennessee State

SITE: New Orleans
TIME: 7:15 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Dick Enberg play-by-play, Jay Bilas analyst
THE SPREAD: Kentucky by 20
RECORDS: Kentucky 32-2, East Tennessee State 20-14
STAT THAT MATTERS: Kentucky averages 14.5 turnovers per game and ETSU forces 16.7 turnovers per game. UKís sloppiness wonít matter in this one, but the stat bears watching in future rounds.
THE BUZZ: UK hasnít won an NCAA tourney game in three years since March 17, 2007. That streak will end today. ETSU is athletic and defense-minded, but it doesnít have the size to compete for long with Kentucky. ETSUís best player is F Tommy Hubbard, who is 6-4. This game is 21 years to the day that a 16th-seeded ETSU team took top-seeded Oklahoma to the wire before losing by one in an NCAA first-round game. ETSU wonít have the same type of memories from this one.

No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Washington

SITE: San Jose, Calif.
TIME: 7:20 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
THE SPREAD: Marquette by 1.5
RECORDS: Marquette 22-11, Washington 24-9
STAT THAT MATTERS: Washington averages 79.8 points per game, while Marquette allows 64.2 per game.
THE BUZZ: Washington wants a fast-paced affair; the Huskies were held to less than 70 points eight times and lost five of them. Marquette wouldnít mind a game in the high 60s. Marquette takes good care of the ball, but Washington forces 16.1 turnovers per game and thrives in transition. Washington F Quincy Pondexterís battles with Marquette forwards Jimmy Butler and Lazar Hayward will be fun to watch, but the key guy is Washington G Isaiah Thomas. If the score gets upward of 75, Washington will win.

No. 8 Texas vs. No. 9 Wake Forest

SITE: New Orleans
TIME: 9:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Dick Enberg play-by-play, Jay Bilas analyst
THE SPREAD: Texas by 4.5
RECORDS: Texas 24-9, Wake Forest 19-10
STAT THAT MATTERS: Wake comes in having lost five of its past six.
THE BUZZ: Both teams underachieved this season. Texas was 17-0 at one point this season, and ranked No. 1, before crumbling. At the end of the season, Wake looked as if it had packed it in. But each team has some talent, most notably at forward with Texasí Damion James and Wakeís Al-Farouq Aminu. Still, the play of the backcourts will determine the winner. Pay close attention to Wakeís Ishmael Smith and Texasí Avery Bradley.

No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Montana

SITE: San Jose, Calif.
TIME: 9:50 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
THE SPREAD: New Mexico by 9
RECORDS: New Mexico 29-4, Montana 22-9
STAT THAT MATTERS: Montana has one player, senior G Anthony Johnson, who averages in double figures; New Mexico has four.
THE BUZZ: Montana was a surprise winner of the Big Sky tourney, and everyone knows Johnson is the reason the Grizzlies are here. Expect the Lobos to do everything in their power to slow Johnson; no other Grizzlies player is that good offensively, though Montana does shoot 40.4 percent from 3-point range as a team. New Mexico is great on the offensive boards and Montana has proved vulnerable in that category. The Grizzlies need a huge game from Johnson.


No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 11 Old Dominion

SITE: New Orleans
TIME: 12:25 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Dick Enberg play-by-play, Jay Bilas analyst
THE SPREAD: Notre Dame by 2
RECORDS: Notre Dame 23-11, ODU 26-8
STAT THAT MATTERS: ODU outrebounds opponents by almost nine per game.
THE BUZZ: Notre Dame caught fire late in the season after an injury to star F Luke Harangody. The Irish became much more deliberate on offense and stayed that way even after Harangodyís return during the Big East tourney. That pace certainly wonít bother ODU, which is a deliberate team known for its defense. ODU has good size and is extremely physical, and actually prefers the bump-and-grind style of play. ODU is not all that proficient offensively, especially from 3-point range, but Notre Dame isnít exactly a clampdown team on defense. ODU does a good job forcing turnovers, but the Irish lead the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. ODU has a solid shot at the upset if senior big man Gerald Lee plays well offensively.

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Robert Morris

SITE: Providence, R.I.
TIME: 12:30 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
THE SPREAD: Villanova by 18.5
RECORDS: Villanova 24-7, Robert Morris 23-11
STAT THAT MATTERS: Villanova has lost five of its past seven.
THE BUZZ: Villanova stumbled down the stretch. The Wildcats arenít going to lose this game, but their performance against the Colonials could give some clues as to how far íNova can be expected to advance. Robert Morris plays good defense and should be able to hang around for at least a half.

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 Sam Houston State

SITE: New Orleans
TIME: 2:55 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Dick Enberg play-by-play, Jay Bilas analyst
THE SPREAD: Baylor by 11
RECORDS: Baylor 25-7, Sam Houston State 25-7
STAT THAT MATTERS: Baylor averages 77.4 points per game; Sam Houston State averages 79.9.
THE BUZZ: Both teams want a fast pace, so this one should be entertaining. The difference is that Baylor is much better defensively than Sam Houston State because of the presence of 6-10 F Ekpe Udoh. In its seven losses, Sam Houston State gave up 90.1 points per game almost 27 more than it allowed in its victories. Sam Houston State is a good passing team and takes care of the ball, but the Bearkats need to hit their 3-pointers to keep this close. The backcourt matchup should be a good one with SHSU seniors Corey Allmond and Ashton Mitchell going against Baylorís Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn.

No. 7 Richmond vs. No. 10 Saint Maryís

SITE: Providence, R.I.
TIME: 3 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
THE SPREAD: Richmond by 2
RECORDS: Richmond 26-8, Saint Maryís 26-5
STAT THAT MATTERS: Saint Maryís allows foes to shoot just 28.3 percent from 3-point range.
THE BUZZ: This one is all about Richmondís guards. Saint Maryís plays solid defense, but it hasnít seen a guard duo like the Spidersí Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez. They are good offensively and defensively. Richmond has four players who are proficient from 3-point range, so the Gaelsí solid perimeter defense will get a workout. One thing to watch: Richmond generally gets hammered on the boards, so Saint Maryís C Omar Samhan should enjoy a big game. But for the Gaels to win, someone else is going to have to help out Samhan offensively. Saint Maryís shoots 41.2 percent from 3-point range.


No. 8 UNLV vs. No. 9 Northern Iowa

SITE: Oklahoma City
TIME: 7:10 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
RECORDS: UNLV 25-8, Northern Iowa 28-4
STAT THAT MATTERS: Northern Iowaís opponents have shot just 40.3 percent from the field, but UNLVís defense has been even better, with opponents shooting only 39.8 percent.
THE BUZZ: Northern Iowa wants a game in the high 50s or low 60s. The Panthers prefer half-court, grind-it-out affairs. UNI allowed more than 68 points just twice this season and held 11 opponents to 50 or fewer and 25 to 60 or fewer. UNI has good size, which has to worry UNLV coach Lon Kruger, whose team is outrebounded by almost one per game. UNLV would prefer at least a moderate pace, but isnít likely to get that; still, the Runniní Rebels are solid defensively, as well, so this isnít likely to be a thing of beauty.

No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Ohio U.

SITE: Providence, R.I.
TIME: 7:25 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
THE SPREAD: Georgetown by 13.5
RECORDS: Georgetown 23-10, Ohio 21-14
STAT THAT MATTERS: Ohio shoots just 42.7 percent from the field.
THE BUZZ: Ohio won the MAC tourney as a No. 9 seed, so itís safe to say the Bobcats are a surprise NCAA entrant. While the Bobcats play good defense, they have a tough time maintaining offensive consistency. G Armon Bassett, who began his career at Indiana, is the key guy for Ohio; he has to be hot or this could get ugly. Georgetown C Greg Monroe should feast on the Bobcatsí frontcourt.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Lehigh

SITE: Oklahoma City
TIME: 9:40 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
THE SPREAD: Kansas by 26
RECORDS: Kansas 32-2, Lehigh 22-10
STAT THAT MATTERS: Lehigh played zero Big Six conference schools this season and had the 309th-toughest schedule in the nation.
THE BUZZ: The last time Kansas played a Patriot League team in the NCAA tourney, it lost to 14th-seeded Bucknell in 2005. Thereís no danger of the Patriot League team pulling the upset this time. Lehigh freshman G C.J. McCollum had a big season (18.9 ppg), and itíll be interesting to see if he can get his shot consistently against KUís guards.

No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 11 San Diego State

SITE: Providence, R.I.
TIME: 9:55 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
THE SPREAD: Tennessee by 3
RECORDS: Tennessee 25-8, San Diego State 25-8
STAT THAT MATTERS: San Diego State outrebounds foes by almost 7 per game; Tennessee outrebounds foes by 0.7 per game.
THE BUZZ: Neither team is fluid offensively, and both win because of defense. Three-point shooting shouldnít be a factor (SDSU hits just 32.2 percent, Tennessee just 31.3 percent), but rebounding could tip the scales San Diego Stateís way. The Aztecs have good size and pound the boards, with freshman F Kawhi Leonard especially effective on the offensive glass. The Vols need to make sure their aggressive defense forces a bunch of turnovers against a shaky SDSU backcourt. If the Aztecs can limit Tennessee in transition, their chances for an upset increase greatly.


No. 7 BYU vs. No. 10 Florida

SITE: Oklahoma City
TIME: 12:20 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
RECORDS: BYU 29-5, Florida 21-12
STAT THAT MATTERS: BYU shoots 41.9 percent from 3-point range; thatís 10.7 percent better than the Gators.
THE BUZZ: BYU is an offense-minded group thatís deadly from beyond the arc and from the line (a nationís-leading 78.7 percent). BYU lacks athleticism, but the Cougars do have good size. UFís best shot for the upset is to get the ball into the low post and have Vernon Macklin and/or Alex Tyus go to work; while BYU has size, itís big men arenít all that talented. Florida has played solid perimeter defense this season, and that has to be a priority against BYU. The Cougars have more depth, and coach Dave Roseís bench could wear down the Gators.

No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Murray State

SITE: San Jose, Calif.
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
THE SPREAD: Vandy by 3
RECORDS: Vandy 24-8, Murray State 30-4
STAT THAT MATTERS: Murray State shoots 50.3 percent from the field; Vandyís opponents shoot just 41.1 percent from the field.
THE BUZZ: Murray State isnít the biggest team, but the Racers are athletic and physical, and should give Vandyís big guys some problems. Murray is good from long range (38.8 percent from beyond the arc) and thrives in transition. Vandy is athletic and has some big-time shooters, but the Commodoresí big guys donít always come to play. Theyíd better against the Racers, or Vandy is going to lose for the second time in three seasons to a No. 13 seed in the first round. Expect a game in the high 70s or low 80s, as both teams want to run.

No. 2 Kansas State vs. No. 15 North Texas

SITE: Oklahoma City
TIME: 2:50 pm.
ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
THE SPREAD: Kansas State by 16
RECORDS: Kansas State 26-7, North Texas 24-8
STAT THAT MATTERS: North Texas commits 14.7 turnovers per game, and K-State forces 16.9 turnovers per game.
THE BUZZ: K-Stateís offense isnít always pretty, but the Wildcatsí defensive effort always is there, which will be bad news for a North Texas team that is sloppy with the ball. The Mean Green are athletic, can put the ball in the basket and are excellent from the line, which means they could keep this close for a while assuming turnovers donít doom them early.

No. 5 Butler vs. No. 12 UTEP
SITE: San Jose, Calif.
TIME: 5 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
THE SPREAD: Butler by 2.5
RECORDS: Butler 28-4, UTEP 26-6
STAT THAT MATTERS: Both teams have four players averaging in double figures.
THE BUZZ: This is an interesting contrast in styles. UTEP is much better when it is able to force an up-tempo game; Butler doesnít mind if a game is in the low 60s. Butler has to be worried about UTEPís size; in Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie, the Miners have some big guys who could do some damage in the low post against the smallish Bulldogs. Watch Butler F Matt Howard, who has had all sorts of foul problems this season. Butler is going to have trouble beating UTEP unless Howard is on the floor. Conversely, Caracter has had foul problems, too, and given Butlerís penchant for running guys off screens, Caracter needs to avoid silly fouls. Another thing to watch: Butler shoots almost 74 percent from the foul line and UTEP is barely above 67 percent.