No. 2 Mississippi State (26-3) vs. No. 7 Xavier (24-10): Game time 10:10 am
Xavier came from behind to defeat Louisville in Round One in a close game, while Mississippi State coasted by Monmousth. Romaine Soto and Lionel Chalmers had 24 and 25 points, respectively. The Bulldogs have a balanced attack inside and out. Lawrence Roberts (17 ppg, 10.4 rpg) transferred from Baylor to earned First Team All-America and Player of the Year honors in the SEC. MSU got 19 from Roberts in the first game. In this game the Bulldogs simply matchup better with the Musketeers on the perimeter than Xavier does with MSU in the paint.
Doug's Pick: Mississippi State
at Columbus, Ohio
No. 4 Cincinnati (25-6) vs. No. 5 Illinois (25-6): Game time 12:30
Illinois, has two of the nations best guards in Dee Brown and Deron Williams. Brown had 21 points in the Illini's win over Murray State in Round One. Tony Bobbitt and Field Williams are just as good for the Bearcats and both can really stroke the three. Williams led Cincy with 19 points in its win over East Tennessee State on Round One. Guard play in this game could be played to a draw. If so, it could be the physical play of the Bearcats in the paint that turns the game in favor of Cincinnati.
Doug's Pick: Cincinnati
at Orlando, Fla.
No. 3 North Carolina State (21-9) vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt (22-9): Game time 10:15 am
As Matt Freije (18.5 ppg) goes, so go the Commodores. Freije has hit 170 threes and shoots .421 from behind the arc, but he can also take his game inside and post up smaller players. NC State is Vandy is big and athletic inside and on the perimeter and matches up well with Vandy. Julius Hodge had 14 points and 10 rounds, while Marcus Melvin added 20 and nine, as NC State defeated Louisiana-Lafayette in Round One. Hodge is the go-to-guy, but to beat Vandy NC State will need the same kind of effort from Hodge and Melvin on the glass.
Doug's Pick: North Carolina State
ST. LOUIS REGION
at Milwaukee, Wis.
No. 3 Georgia Tech(24-9) vs. No. 6 Boston College(24-9): Game time 12:15
The Eagles got 19 points and eight rebounds from Craig Smith and beat Utah 58-51, while Georgia Tech squeaked by Northern Iowa 65-60 in Round One. Expect this game to be close as well. Will Bynum came off the bench to score 11 for the Yellow Jackets, Lee Elder added 12 and B.J. Elder 13. Tech has an advantage on the perimeter and should win if they can neutralize BC's inside game and can keep Smith off the boards.
Doug's Pick; Georgia Tech
at Kansas City, Mo.
No. 4 Kansas (20-11) vs. No. 12 Pacific (25-7): Game time 2:50
Miah Davis scored 19 points and Guillaume Yango had 18 in the Tigers 66-58 win over Providence in Round One. KU got 17 points from J.R. Giddens and 13 from Keith Langford in its win over Illinois-Chicago in Round One, but it's the inside play of Wayne Simeon, David Padgett and Jeff Graves that will be the difference in this game.
Doug's Pick; Kansas
at Columbus, Ohio.
No. 1 Kentucky (27-4) vs. No. 9 Alabama-Birmingham (21-9): Game time 3:00
Kentucky survived a more difficult than expected game to beat Florida A&M 96-76 in Round One. Eric Daniels scored 18 points, while Akeena Azubuike and David Hawkins added 14. UAB ran past Washington 102-100 in most exciting game of the tournament thus far. The Blazers have talent. They are quick and athletic, but they don't match up very well with Daniels and the Wildcat front line. The Blazer might try to run and Kentucky might like it at a slower pace, but either way it favors the Wildcats.
Doug's Pick: Kentucky
EAST RUTHERFORD REGION
at Kansas City, Mo.
No. 2 Oklahoma State (28-3) vs. No. 7 Memphis (22-7): Game time 12:20
OSU started out a little slow against Eastern Washington, but once they started pounding the ball inside to Ivan McFarlin, it became a mismatch. McFarlin scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. They also got 15 from Baylor transfer John Lucas. The Tigers got a double-double (26-10) from John Carney in an ugly 59-43 win over South Carolina. Memphis might have to play ugly again if it is have any chance against the Cowboys.
Doug's Pick: Oklahoma State
at Milwaukee, Wis.
No. 3 Pittsburgh (30-4) vs. No. 6 Wisconsin (25-6): Game time 2:45
The Badgers came on late as Richmond folded in the late going and beat the Spiders 76-64. Wisconsin, like Syracuse last season, is playing in its back yard for a chance to advance to the St. Louis Regional, so it won't be easy for Pitt. The Panthers beat Central Florida 53-44 in another ugly Round One game. Chris Taft (11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg) pulled down 16 rebounds to dominate the paint, but Pitt hit only 13 of 44 field goal attempts. Pitt must play physical against the Badgers and keep the crowd out of the game. There will be some controversy about the "homecourt" advantage if Wisconsin wins, but Pitt simply is not that good.
Doug's Pick: Wisconsin