What to Watch for Sunday in the NCAA Tournament


Mercer might have upset Duke on the scoreboard, but if you watched the game, they were the better team. And it was not like the Blue Devils did not come to play, when the game was in the balance with seven minutes to play it was clear Duke was dialed in, but Mercer executed better, took advantage of the weakness of Coach K’s team inside. Tennessee will present a different problem because they have the size and strength to control the lane. This is an interesting contest and this will be the Vols third pressure-packed game in five days in the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee VolsI have not been a fan of Memphis coach Josh Pastner’s half court offense for years and his team will get an unbelievable test against top-seeded Virginia. The only chance the Tigers have is making sharp cuts, setting sturdy screens and having the proper footwork to launch shots. Memphis will also have to force turnovers which they immediately convert to points.

Kansas has more talent than Stanford, but the Cardinal has the right mix of players capable of rising to the occasion. This could be fascinating.

Steep test No.1 for Wichita State facing Kentucky. The Wildcats have better overall players and are playing with more conviction, but Wichita State understands what it takes this season and realistically, feels no pressure of the winning streak because they know at least half the public expects them to lose against the ‘mighty’ Wildcats. Keys to the game are the Shockers ability to score within five feet of the basket and slowing down the Harrison twins.

Baylor vs. Creighton has the makings a very good game. Creighton will try and shoot the Bears out of their zone, something they are very capable of doing. Baylor will try to use their length and better athletes to make the Bluejays suffer. If you wonder why Doug MeDermott is such a great shooter, focus on his feet BEFORE he catches the ball, he sets everything into motion in advance which allows him to just use his exceptional hand and eye coordination to convert from various distances. If he was a golfer, they would refer to him as having “quiet footwork”.

I have to believe the loss of Iowa State’s Georges Niang shifts the balance to the North Carolina side.

Gonzaga is very capable of staying within the number of Arizona, since as a team they have fewer scoring droughts.

Great job S.F. Austin in knocking off VCU, but UCLA has too many ways to score and can overcome Steve Alford’s coaching.

Tourney numbers

Favorites – 33-11 SU and 21-21-2 ATS

Higher Seeds – 30-10 SU and 18-20-2 ATS

Favorites of 7.5 points or more – 16-2 SU and 8-9-1 ATS

Favorites of 3.5 to 7 points – 13-6 SU and 12-7 ATS

Favorites of 3 points or less – 3-3 SU and 1-4-1 ATS

Totals – 22-21-2 UNDER

Totals of 125 or less – 5-3 UNDER

Totals of 140 or higher – 7-6 UNDER


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