Doug's picks: East Region second round games

Maryland appears on the fast track to Atlanta, but it must get past Wisconsin here and win two games in Carrier Dome at Syracuse first. UConn, Kentucky and NC State believe they have a legitimate shot at making some more noise after first round wins. So, which teams will advance from the East?

I really thought Kentucky would have more difficulties with Valpo, but those other Wildcats proved me wrong. I kept my East Bracket failures a perfect two-for-two when I picked Marquette to beat Tulsa. Now the Golden Hurricanes and Wildcats meet in round two.

I only hope I can do better in second round games.

At St. Louis:

No. 4 Kentucky vs No. 12 Tulsa – Tubby Smith coached at Tulsa before becoming Kentucky's coach, so does that give him an edge against his former school? No. Although they don't always play like it, the Wildcats have much more talent the Golden Hurricanes. Kentucky wins in a closer than expected contest. Let's say the Wildcats by six.


At Washington DC:

No. 1 Maryland vs No. 8 Wisconsin – The Badgers are not nearly as boring to watch as they once were, but a slowed down game would be in its favor. The Terps are simply too athletic and Juan Dixon is the one go-to guy who can single-handedly beat you. This is a mismatch. Maryland by 20.

No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 7 NC State – UConn played its best game of the season when it beat Arizona in Tucson. The Huskies will have to match that effort to beat the Wolfpack. NC State is playing its beat basketball and Anthony Grundy has been a big factor in the Wolfpack's recent success. Caron Butler, who scored 21 in the Huskies first round victory over Hampton, has been a force for UConn. Call it hunch, but NC State will win this game and it should be the Game of the Day.

At Chicago:

No. 3 Georgia vs No. 11 Southern Illinois – The Salukis have only won two NCAA Tournament games in school history, but that second win sent Bobby Knight and Texas Tech packing. Jermaine Dearman (17 points, 11 rebounds against TT) is a fierce competitor in the paint and Kent Williams balances the Salukis attack from the perimeter. Georgia is not worthy of a two seed. Salukis by two.

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