I am really looking forward to the Wisconsin-Kansas State match-up on Saturday.
Bo Ryan is one of the most underrated coaches in America. His players know how to play the game and understand the value of a good shot. They play with patience on both ends of the court and wear down an opponent. Just look at what happened to Cal State-Fullerton, a solid offensive team, in the first round of the tournament.
Kansas State presents a challenge because Michael Beasley is the most talented player in America. Yes, I am voting for Tyler Hansbrough for Player of the Year because to the victor goes the spoils. Despite early foul trouble, Beasley led the Wildcats past USC by scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in just 29 minutes. While
Bill Walker had a solid outing against the Trojans scoring 22 big points.
This should be a real battle, my friends.
Also on Saturday, I see Duke being a rejuvenated team after escaping with a one-point win over Belmont. Mike Krzyzewski knows his squad had to scrap and claw to get to the winner's circle and Bob Huggins' West Virginia team has momentum after knocking out Arizona. Can the Dukies slow down DeSean Butler, Joe Alexander and company. This will be a showdown on the perimeter as both of these teams can hit the trifecta.
Look for Michigan State and Pittsburgh to compete in a physical battle. Drew Neitzel only scored five points against Temple. He must come out firing against the Panthers. Jamie Dixon's team has been playing solid defense, holding five straight opponents under 70 points. Tom Izzo does an incredible job in the one-game pressure scenario of the NCAA tournament; his record of 25-9 says it all. This should be a great contest.
Marquette and Stanford will be a match-up of different styles. Tom Crean's club is guard-oriented, though Lazar Hayward was a positive factor against Kentucky, scoring 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds. The Golden Eagles need Dominic James and Wesley Matthews to have better shooting performances. Marquette will have a tough time inside against the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin.
Texas A&M has the physical presence inside to give UCLA a battle. Darren Collison should be more of a factor here; he didn't have to score much in a blowout of Mississippi Valley State in the first round.
Other questions will be answered Saturday. Can Lon Kruger's UNLV team upset a balanced Kansas team? The Jayhawks can beat you by running, they can hit the trifecta. Remember, Kruger led the Runnin' Rebels to the Sweet 16 last year by beating Georgia Tech and Wisconsin. This is a tougher task.
Washington State and Notre Dame should be a super game. Luke Harangody is a double-double guy who will test Aron Baynes and company up front. Purdue is a young team but it will give Xavier a real challenge in another exciting match-up.
The winners move on to the Sweet 16. March Madness is awesome, baby with a capital A!
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.