After a first round of the NCAA Tournament that left brackets in shambles, the fun is set to continue on Saturday and Sunday. The second round is filled with teams that were meant to be home already, but such is the way of life when it comes down to March Madness. The biggest question this weekend is this: How many surprises will make it into the Sweet 16?
No. 12 Yale vs. No. 4 Duke (Saturday)
Going into the tournament, Yale was though to be a team that could surprise whoever was unlucky enough to have to face them. Baylor put up a fight but were out rebounded and outplayed for 40 minutes on Thursday, which led to a funny postgame press conference moment when Baylor’s Taurean Prince was asked how Yale was able to rebound better than the Bears players.
Duke faced an athletic team in UNC-Wilmington but were able to survive multiple runs by their opponent on Thursday, allowing them to advance to face a surprising opponent that could continue to shock the world. This game will come down to who can hit from behind the arc more consistently and which team can rebound better than the other. It doesn’t get anymore cliché than that, so grab your favorite khaki shorts, a polo shirt and a sweater to drape over your shoulders and enjoy the game.
No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 4 Kentucky (Saturday)
This might be the biggest and best game of the weekend, and Kentucky coach John Calipari seems to be the least excited about it. The big reason is Calipari and Indiana coach Tom Crean are friends, and no one wants to have to face a friend so early on. Expect both coaches to be more concerned with details of the game than their friendship as tip-off nears, but the game should give fans plenty to cheer about. Tempo will be high and both teams will hope to have a block party, but it might come down to the lesser known players that make the biggest difference in this one. This game will let fans enjoy college basketball at its finest, and don’t expect to remain on the couch very long.
No. 11 Northern Iowa vs. No. 3 Texas A&M (Sunday)
A&M had it easy on Friday against No. 14 Green Bay, but they will have their hands full with Northern Iowa on Sunday. Both of these teams are physical and not afraid to throw some weight around which will present the possibility of a tight game being called by the referees–maybe. A big reason Northern Iowa is here is because of a half-court heave at the buzzer by Paul Jesperson.
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (Sunday)
The Fighting Irish came back from a double-digit deficit to beat No. 11 Michigan 70-63, but the biggest surprise is how easily Stephen F. Austin was able to beat No. 3 West Virginia. The Mountaineers knew that the game would be tough, but they had no answers for an athletic SFA team. As big of a surprise as this game is, it might be one of the best games of the weekend so put it on your calendar.