Burlison: Saturday's Games

Montana, UW-Milwaukee and Texas A&M collected major upsets during first-round NCAA Tournament games Thursday. Can they make it two in a row Saturday? Not if Boston College, Florida and LSU can help it. Favored UCLA also has its hands full...

A look at Saturday's second-round games:

 

All times Eastern

ATLANTA REGION

At Greensboro

No. 1 Duke (31-3) vs. No. 8 George Washington (27-2), 1:10 p.m.

Things to consider: The Colonials staged the most impressive comeback Thursday, coming from 18 points down in the second half to beat UNC-Wilmington in overtime. The Blue Devils got top-flight performances out of J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams Thursday – and still struggled over the first three quarters of the game against 16 seed Southern. That can't be a good sign. George Washington will be anything but passive in this one and will try to support the theory that Duke has trouble guarding dribble penetration.

Frank's Spin: If Indiana-Gonzaga isn't the most entertaining game Saturday, than this one will take that honor. Ultimately, though, the Blue Devils will have too much open court to play with and will pull away in a very high-scoring affair.

 

At Jacksonville

No. 4 LSU (24-8) vs. No. 12 Texas A&M (22-8), 5:40 p.m.

Things to consider: The Tigers turned in 20 borderline sensational second-half minutes Thursday night to beat a 13 seed (Iona) that was no where close to being as dangerous as the 12 seed Aggies are. Coach John Brady's team will have to turn in a lot closer to 40 solid minutes to beat a Texas A&M team that executed as well as any squad did Thursday, on both ends of the floor.

Frank's Spin: I'm much more confident in the Aggies' ability to win this game now than I was when the pairings were unveiled Sunday. Ultimately, though, it's too tough to pick against the front-line power of the Tigers' Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas and Tasmin Mitchell.

 

OAKLAND REGION

At Salt Lake City

No. 3 Gonzaga (28-3) vs. No. 6 Indiana (19-11), 8:10 p.m.

Things to consider: Both teams were wobbly, didn't do a whole lot defensively and found themselves in precarious situations Thursday evening. But, ultimately, the Bulldogs picked up the win because they have the guy in uniform No. 3 and know how to get the ball into his hands. And the Hoosiers advanced because they had a crafty point guard (Earl Calloway) who made all kinds of plays down the stretch and have a player (Robert Vaden) who made the most of a clear  look at the rim in the closing seconds.

Frank's Spin: How much longer can Gonzaga keep overcoming such hair-raising situations? At least once more, as long as Adam Morrison is still wearing that Bulldogs' uniform No. 3 Saturday.

 

At San Diego

No. 2 UCLA (28-6) vs. No. 10 Alabama (18-12), 7:50 p.m.

Things to consider: The Bruins have played marvelous (from their perspective) and stifling (from the opposition's point of view) defense for the better part of a month. But the Crimson Tide will present problems, in the form of point guard Ronald Steele, post players Jermareo Davidson and Richard Hendrix, and shooters Jean Felix and Alonzo Gee,  that Coach Ben Howland's team didn't run up against every night in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Frank's Spin: The combination of UCLA's defense, depth and ability to hit jump shots over the Alabama zone should be enough to enable the Bruins to earn a short flight to Oakland next week.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. REGION

At Greensboro

No. 2 Tennessee (22-7) vs. No. 7 Wichita State (25-8), 3:30 p.m.

Things to consider: The Volunteers will, no doubt, play a lot better than they did Thursday when they needed a jump shot from Chris Lofton with .4 seconds to play to hold off 15 seed Winthrop. But will even that be enough to defeat a Shockers' club that dominated a Seton Hall team that won at Pittsburgh less than two weeks ago?

Frank's Spin: No, it will not be enough. Wichita State moves into the Sweet 16, the Missouri Valley Conference supporters win another debate with the detractors and Mark Turgeon becomes an even "hotter name" in the coaching biz.

 

At San Diego

No. 4 Illinois (26-6) vs. No. 5 Washington (25-6), 5:30 p.m.

Things to consider: Once and for all, do the vast majority of those who follow college basketball finally realize just how good the Huskies' Brandon Roy is? Maybe not, considering how late Washington's game with Utah State wrapped up Thursday night. But Illinois is too good to lose to the Huskies unless several of Roy's teammates play a lot better than they did in Round 1. Here's an interesting point guard matchup: senior Dee Brown against Washington freshman Justin Dentmon. Both are veterans' of Larry Butler's Illinois Warriors traveling team program that also produced Dwyane Wade and Darius Miles, among many others.

Frank's Spin: The Illini get to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row under Coach Bruce Weber.

 

MINNEAPOLIS REGION

At Jacksonville

No. 3 Florida (28-6) vs. No. 11 UW-Milwaukee (22-8), 3:20 p.m.

Things to consider: The Gators, along with UCLA, were the most impressive of the upper seeds Thursday. And sophomore Joakim Noah may be playing as well as any big man in the tournament. The Panthers collected an "upset" over 6 seed Oklahoma that wasn't as much as an upset it might have seemed, based on seeding, because the Sooners weren't exactly playing very well coming into the tournament. This will be played at a fast tempo, with the Gators much more equipped to flourish than were the Sooners.

Frank's Spin: Florida gets to the Sweet 16 for the first time since its national championship runner-up season of 2000.

 

At Salt City

No. 4 Boston College (25-7) vs. No. 12 Montana (24-6), 5:40 p.m.

Things to consider: The Grizzlies, with their first NCAA Tournament win since 1975, collected Thursday's biggest upset with a decisive victory over 5 seed Nevada. It doesn't seem likely they could play much better than then did against the Wolf Pack but they will probably have to in order to pull off a second consecutive stunner Saturday. The Eagles, led by Craig Smith, figure to do a better job of pounding the ball inside than Nevada did Thursday.

Frank's Spin: Boston College joins fellow ACC member Duke in the Sweet 16.

 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.frankhoops.com


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