Three No. 1 Seeds Return To Action Sunday

Connecticut, Memphis and Villanova will attempt to join the fourth No. 1 seed, Duke, in the Sweet 16 field when the last of the second-round NCAA Tournament games are played Sunday.


This story originally published on CollegeHoops.scout.com


 

Here's a look at Sunday's second-round NCAA Tournament games, with three top seeds attempting to move to the Sweet 16:

 

All times Eastern

ATLANTA REGION

At Dallas

No. 2 Texas (28-6) vs. No. 10 North Carolina State (22-9), 2:15 p.m.

Things to consider: The Wolfpack did a fine job Friday night in holding down Cal's post trio of Leon Powe, DeVon Hardin and Rod Benson. Coach Herb Sendek's team will need that same kind of effort to keep LaMarcus Aldridge from dominating the game inside the lane. The Longhorns allowed the game to be played at the kind of pace that Pennsylvania wanted Friday night. And NCSU will certainly once again challenge Texas' ability to play half-court defense for large portions of the shot clock.

Frank's Spin: The Longhorns have more ways to hurt the Wolfpack from the perimeter than did Cal and that will be the difference in this one as Texas moves on to Atlanta.

 

At Auburn Hills

No. 6 West Virginia (21-10) vs. No. 14 Northwestern State (26-7), 2:30 p.m.

Things to consider: The Mountaineers struggled for most of the past month in Big East Conference play but did an exceptional job over 40 minutes, at both ends of the floor, Friday in beating Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion Southern Illinois. The Demons hit just 38 percent of their shots in their last-second victory over Iowa Friday and will have to be more efficient, offensively, in order to get to the Sweet 16.

Frank's Spin: The Mountaineers take the second step into a possible second consecutive deep tournament run.

 

OAKLAND REGION

At Auburn Hills

No. 5 Pittsburgh (25-7) vs. No. 13 Bradley (21-10), 12:10 p.m.

Things to consider: The Panthers were the most impressive of the Friday night winners, coasting in a game many felt would be a lot closer while shooting 67 percent from the field. The Braves dominated Kansas for most of 40 minutes Friday. The game's outcome will be influenced by a nice battle of 7-footers, Pitt's Aaron Gray against Patrick O'Bryant.

Frank's Spin: The Panthers are a much more inside-oriented, physical and veteran team than the one the Braves beat Friday night. Pitt makes its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in five seasons.

 

At Dallas

No. 1 Memphis (31-3) vs. No. 9 Bucknell (27-4), 4:35 p.m.

Things to consider: Bucknell's hopes of knocking off the region's top seed rests in its ability to limit the Tigers' transition game and second-chance scoring opportunities, handle the Memphis defensive pressure and make it a 47-foot game. If any of those things don't happen, the chance of an upset shrinks in a hurry.

Frank's Spin: The Bison's style of play might frustrate the Tigers for a while but their ability to score from a multitude of positions will be too much for Bucknell to cope with.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. REGION

At Dayton

No. 3 North Carolina (23-7) vs. No. 11 George Mason (24-7), 4:40 p.m.

Things to consider: The Tar Heels needed every one of freshman Tyler Hansbrough's 24 points (including the go-ahead bucket) to hold off the upset bid of Murray State Friday night. Another freshman, Danny Green (with 15 points off the bench), was also a critical contributor for UNC. The Patriots will get some extra firepower in the form of guard Tony Skinn (13.0 points per game), who was suspended for the team's Friday night game.

Frank's Spin: The Tar Heels move one win closer to a possible second consecutive national title – but only if they can get enough quality shots against a very good defense.

 

At Philadelphia

No. 1 Connecticut (28-3) vs. No. 8 Kentucky (22-12), 4:50 p.m.

Things to consider: The Huskies, who played most of the first 30 minutes Friday night as if they were trying to stifle yawns, figure to play with something approaching motivation in this one. At least Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun has to hope so. The defense that the Wildcats can play (especially that of sophomore Rajon Rondo) against point guard Marcus Williams will be a big part of Kentucky being in position late to knock off the region's top team.

Frank's Spin: The nation's most talented – and, at times, most perplexing – team wins its 29th game.

 

MINNEAPOLIS REGION

At Philadelphia

No. 1 Villanova (26-4) vs. No. 8 Arizona (20-12), 2:30 p.m.

Things to consider: It's a battle of teams called the Wildcats and, surprisingly, the one from the Pacific 10 Conference was easily the more impressive of the two during their first-round games Friday. Arizona wants to play (and shoot) every bit as quickly as does Villanova and its marvelous group of guards. But Coach Lute Olson will try to take advantage of what he believes to be a superior post offense, via the play of Ivan Radenovic, Kirk Walters and Hassan Adams.

Frank's Spin: Arizona will have to play a better quality of defense than it has turned in all season in this one. If not, the other Wildcats – the top seeded ones – move on to Minneapolis.

 

At Dayton

No. 2 Ohio State (26-5) vs. No. 7 Georgetown (22-9), 2:20 p.m.

Things to consider: The Buckeyes struggled for more than a half Friday while their jump shots weren't falling against Davidson. And they'll have to cope with a frontcourt (made up of Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bowman) that is every bit as good as any they saw in the Big Ten Conference. But Hibbert's shot-blocking ability – while avoiding fouls – will be tested to the utmost against the Big Ten's Player of the Year, Terence Dials.

Frank's Spin: Unless Ohio State is as chilly from the perimeter as was Northern Iowa Friday, the Buckeyes will edge the Hoyas in one of the best games of the weekend.

 

 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is also a column 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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