Thursday’s NCAA tournament action was was an insanely fun day of basketball. So what to expect Friday?
Well the right side of the bracket has held up better with Syracuse being the only team seeded lower than 5th to advance. Compare that to the left side (South and West) where the survivors are seeded 9th (Kansas State), 11 (Loyola), 9 (Florida State) and 3 (Michigan).
Duke vs. Syracuse Syracuse faces ACC rival Duke Friday (9:37). We’re obviously biased here but objectively, we’d expect Duke to win. Syracuse’s hopes are pinned on Duke’s struggling with the Orange’s zone which has been brilliant in the closing minutes in its previous NCAA games.
Kansas vs. Clemson On the other side of the Midwest, #1 Kansas takes on Clemson. KU will have a home court advantage in Omaha but that could lessen if Clemson plays well: the Tiger partisans will likely find the Duke and Syracuse fans pulling for them. Our mind says Kansas - which by the way will have Udoka Azubuike with no restrictions, which will be a load for the Tigers - but our gut says Clemson.
Purdue vs. Texas Tech We still don’t have a feel for Texas Tech and Purdue is without massive big man Isaac Haas, who fractured his elbow in the previous round.
Well they’ve got a spare so we’ll stick with Purdue here.
Villanova vs. West Virginia That Press Virginia business is fine but it’s hard to press a great point guard who knows how to run a competent team and Stan Brunson’s kid Jalen is a superb point guard and the Wildcats are more than competent. Villanova is a very well coached team and we fully expect they’ll beat the press. And when they do, West Virginia will also have to deal with Mikal Bridges, who has been superb.