March Madness third round previews

Saturday Mayhem: Game capsules and previews

3/17/12 in NCAABB   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

With the Second (first) Round of the NCAA Tournament in the books, it's time to turn our attention to the Round of 32. Eight Sweet Sixteen berths are on the line on Saturday, and since these are the same teams that played on Thursday, college basketball fans hope Saturday's games are more exciting than Thursday's. Since it is St. Patrick's Day, maybe we'll get a little Irish luck and enjoy a great day of basketball.

Here are the games:

No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 8 Kansas State, East Regional at Pittsburgh. 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

No. 1 Syracuse defeated No. 16 UNC-Asheville 72-65, No. 8 Kansas State defeated No. 9 Southern Miss 70-64.

The Orange, perhaps aided a bit by some questionable officiating down the stretch, survived a scare form Asheville in the first round. Syrcause trailed for much of the game, but eventually the cream rose to the top. They are without star sophomore center Fab Melo, who is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State handled Southern Miss in a relatively close game to move on. The Wildcats have the ability to play with anyone in the country--they beat Missouri twice this season, and Baylor once.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Gonzaga, East Regional at Pittsburgh. 2:45 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

No 2 Ohio State defeated No. 15 Loyola (MD) 78-59, No. 7 Gonzaga defeated No. 10 West Virginia 77-54.

These were two of the most impressive teams in the first round. Ohio State got a massive game (31 points) out of Deshaun Thomas and coasted to victory. Gonzaga was arguably the most impressive team that played Thursday, beating West Virginia in a game that was never close.

No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Murray State, West Regional at Louisville, Ky. 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

No. 3 Marquette defeated No. 14 BYU 88-68, No. 6 Murray State defeated No. 11 Colorado State 58-41

Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder led Marquette in an opening round rout of BYU, who had won a play-in game to earn the right to play the Golden Eagles. Crowder had 25 points and 16 rebounds. Murray State, who remains college basketball's only one-loss team, easily handled an overmatched Colorado State squad in their first game. 

No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt, East Regional at Albuquerque, N.M. 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT

How they got here:

No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Montana 73-49, No. 5 Vanderbilt defeated No. 12 Harvard 79-70.

The Badgers tough defense was on display in their opening round destruction of Montana. The Grizzlies never got going and Wisconsin used its predictably steady offense to control the game. In a battle of the two best academic schools in the tournament, Vanderbilt survived a solid performance from Ivy League champion Harvard. Commodores' star John Jenkins led the way with 27 points.

No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 12 VCU, South Regional at Portland, Ore. 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS

How they got here:

No. 4 Indiana defeated No. 13 New Mexico State 79-66, No. 12 VCU defeated No. 5 Wichita State 62-59.

In one of Thursday's only exciting games, the Rams won a dogfight with Wichita State, surviving a last-second game-tying three-point attempt. Shaka Smart's squad has been here before--they went to the Final Four last season as a No. 11 seed. Indiana was never really challenged in its first round win over New Mexico State. Jordan Hulls led the way hitting four three pointers and scoring 22 points.

No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Iowa State, South Regional at Louisville, Ky. 7:45 p.m. ET, CBS

How they got here:

No. 1 Kentucky defeated No. 16 Western Kentucky 81-66, No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 9 Connecticut 77-64.

The Wildcats were predictably dominant against an obviously inferior opponent in their first game. They jumped out to a big lead behing the play of sophomore Terrence Jones and freshman Anthony Davis and never looked back. The Cyclones, somewhat surprisingly, had a fairly easy time with the defending National Champion Huskies. Royce White, Iowa State's do-everything player, led the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 11 Colorado, South Regional at Albuquerque, N.M. 8:40 p.m. ET, TNT

How they got here:

No. 3 Baylor defeated No. 14 South Dakota State 68-60, No. 11 Colorado defeated No. 6 UNLV 68-64.

This game will be a bit of a reunion matchup, with two old Big 12 foes going up against one another (Colorado is now in the Pac-12). The Buffaloes controlled their game with UNLV and survived a late rally to pull the upset. They are one of the hottest teams in the tournament, coming off of a Pac-12 Tournament title. Baylor overcame a lackluster performance to down overmatched South Dakota State. The biggest question for the Bears is whether all of their athletic parts will play together as a team.

No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 New Mexico, West Regional at Portland, Ore. 9:40 p.m. ET, TBS

How they got here:

No. 4 Louisville defeated No. 13 Davidson 69-82, No. 5 New Mexico defeated No. 12 Long Beach State 75-68.

Both Louisville and New Mexico faced solid challenges from lesser teams, but staved them off to advance to the Round of 32. More people may have even picked Long Beach State than New Mexico. This Louisville-New Mexico game shapes up as a classic big-conference little-conference showdown.
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