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A Look At Saturday’s NCAA Action And Our Sunday Predictions

Sunday could get very interesting

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North Dakota State v Duke
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22: The Duke Blue Devils bench celebrates their teams lead against the North Dakota State Bison in the second half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Saturday’s games were not as compelling as some have been although Wofford tried hard to take Kentucky. However, Ashton Hagans completely snuffed Fletcher Magee’s outside shot and the Terriers fell 62-56.

The most compelling game was LSU’s two point win over Maryland when Tremont Waters hit a last second layup to devastate the Terps.

Maryland has been to just two Sweet Sixteens since winning the national championship in 2002 and Mark Turgeon, who seems like a decent man, hasn’t done any better. With some big NBA defections likely, next year isn't likely to be much better.

After that, the most interesting game was Florida State’s complete takedown of Murray State. The ‘Noles were just too deep and athletic to overcome though Ja Morant was again solid but limited by the aggressive ACC reps.

Morant was 8-21 and nowhere near a triple double. Even so, his brilliance was clear and he received a standing ovation from everyone, including the FSU fans. It was a bit of a comedown from the stunner he turned in against Marquette but still a fine game.

The rest were largely mismatches. Gonzaga punked Baylor until the Bears rallied but they never threatened the Zags.

Michigan State had minimal trouble with Minnesota, as expected, so nothing exciting there, just a solid outing by Sparty.

Michigan handled Florida, Purdue had fun with Villanova, winning 87-61 and ending any illusions that the Wildcats could make a late run to the Final Four. It also marks the end of the Big East in this year’s field.

Remember what Clemson did to Auburn last year? Auburn did pretty much the same to Kansas, shredding the proud Jayhawks 89-75.

It was a brilliant performance, one that left Bill Self stewing on the sidelines.

With the NCAA investigating, the whole Adidas mess and the Self to the Chicago Bulls rumors, KU hoops could be in for massive change.

The matchups on Sunday could be more competitive.

Iowa and Tennessee could be good if not entertaining and Jordan Bohannon may be in position for more late-game heroics.

Mike Hopkins knows UNC well and runs the Syracuse zone as well as Jim Boeheim does. If Washington can slow UNC down, Matisse Thybulle will hurt them at the top of the zone. UDub has a chance on defense.

It sucks that they scheduled Buffalo and Texas Tech against Duke because that game is going to be intense. We will go with the Red Raiders here because while Nate Oates is a superb coach, we think Chris Beard is showing signs of being the next superstar in the profession.

We’ll be surprised if Liberty beats Virginia Tech but not shocked. Richie McKay learned the Pack Line from Tony Bennett and there’s also the factor of Liberty constantly looking up at neighbor Virginia Tech. They’d love nothing better than to have bragging rights.

Still we’ll take the Hokies here.

Lon Kruger is a heck of a coach and Oklahoma has had a nice post Trae Young season. However, for the uninitiated, the Pack Line is like a big blob. It’s kind of like fighting Butter Bean back in the day. . You could hit wherever you wanted but the man weighs 425 pounds and you couldn’t really hurt him. When you got tired, he just beat the crap out of you.

UVA is like that. It’s a nightmare for most teams. You can beat them if you can overwhelm them, as Duke and FSU did this year, or if you rattle them like UMBC did last year, but for the most part, you’re going home like that kid Harvard did a couple of years ago, in tears of frustration.

Ohio State and Houston is really intriguing. Normally we’d go with the power school team and Chris Holtmann is a really good coach, but Houston just has one of those teams. We’ll take them to at least the Sweet Sixteen.

Finally, the Anteaters will finish off Oregon and, quite possibly, the PAC-12 to cap what has truly been a wretched season for the normally dominant West Coast league.

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