Second Round Preview: Saturday

After what started as a rather boring by-the-book tournament, Cinderella peeked her head out of the shadows.<br><br> Late last night, #12 seed Butler defeated #5 seed Mississippi State. Granted Mississippi isn't a traditional powerhouse in the NCAA, but more than a handful of national journalists listed the Bulldogs as a sleeper pick for the final four.

But, for Pitt fans, the focus is not on the unknowns, but on a program with a storied tradition. Indiana sans Billy Knight will face Pitt in the second round, realizing the match-up every fan envisioned after the Hoosiers uspet Duke in Lexington last year.

It was a good day for the Big East and Big 10. Both conferences went undefeated, whereas the Atlantic 10 had an awful day going, as Xavier is the only team of the three remaining.

Here are some of the top second round matchups:

Saturday's Games

  • No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 5 Notre Dame 1:10 ET
    If it weren't for the choke of the year, the Irishmen would be sitting at home waiting for their hair to grow back. As it is, Matt Carroll twisted his ankle and may not be 100% if he plays. Illinois still has a big chip on their shoulder after falling to a #4 seed. Illinois wins.
  • No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Missouri 3:40 ET
    Pitt fans should keep a close eye on Missouri's staying power. They'll be on a roll after dispatching Marquette, who looked rather disinterested in their slim, slim win over Holy Cross.
  • No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 California 5:30 ET
    You got to feel for Cal. Last year they met Pitt at Pittsburgh in the second round. This year they meet #1 seed Oklahoma. I guess the selection committee won't be getting a Christmas card this year.

Sunday's Preview will be coming later.

Notes

  • Does anyone else think that Notre Dame looked ridiculous with the shaved head thing? Let the jokes begin.
  • I don't like how (at least here in NYC) CBS cut away from the Wagner-Pitt matchup after the lead got past 20, especially since Wagner is a borough of NYC.
  • Don't be surprised if the only Cinderella story left on Monday is Tulsa. I don't count #6 seeds as Cinderellas.
  • If I see one more mid-major team chucking up a 3-point ball when only down by 2 with 20+ seconds remaining...
  • Pitt needs to remember: If you drop your shoulder the ref will
  • always
  • call a charge.
  • Brandin Knight is the only guy I've ever seen that consistently hits his first free throw and then misses his second.

--John Biles


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