Originally Published: March 21, 2014

Daily Word: A look at Friday's action

By ESPN.com


Every day, Andy Katz leads a panel of our college hoops experts in a discussion of the biggest issues, trends and themes happening in and around college basketball.

1. Kentucky has been impossible to predict all season. That's not stopping us. What do you expect from the Wildcats?

Andy Katz: The Kentucky team that finished the game on Sunday is the one I expect to show up against Kansas State. Julius Randle can still be the most dominant player in Friday's game. If Kentucky doesn't advance, then that will be remembered more than anything else about this season.

Eamonn Brennan: Based on recent play -- Kentucky was genuinely good in that second half against Florida, and the Wildcats looked more cohesive and connected than they ever have this season -- it's reasonable to expect a really impressive second-round performance. On the other hand, I have no clue. A 10-point loss seems just as likely as a 20-point win.

Myron Medcalf: The Wildcats are still impossible to peg. But they've managed to become one of the best 30- or 35-minute basketball teams in America. Kentucky can play with anyone over that span of time. The Cats are still crumbling late, though. And that's what I expect to happen against Kansas State -- a late collapse in a win for Bruce Weber's program.

2. What conference will walk away from Friday feeling good about itself?

Katz: The ACC. The Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina Tar Heels should all advance and give the league a shot at having at least three teams in the Sweet 16. Pitt's dominance of Colorado might have been the most surprising result for the conference.

Brennan: If good Kentucky makes an appearance, as most seem to expect, then the SEC could look pretty good by the end of the day. Saying as much implies a Tennessee win over UMass, which seems like a fair enough prediction to me. At some level, the SEC shouldn't feel good about much of anything, because it got just three teams into the field (and barely at that). But if all three teams stick around for a while, hey, that's something.

Medcalf: Probably the Big 12. Five of its seven reps will compete in winnable matchups Friday. No guarantees of 5-0 with Kansas State-Kentucky, Baylor-Nebraska and Oklahoma State-Gonzaga on the slate. But I think the Big 12 will win those games and have a great day Friday.

3. Is there a big upset lurking out there in Raleigh, San Antonio, St. Louis or San Diego?

Katz: I don't see a major upset but there will be seed upsets. Nebraska can easily knock off Baylor. Stanford, Providence and New Mexico State are all double-digit seeds capable of winning, but if it weren't the NCAA tournament, no one would be shocked by those results.

Brennan: I've got my eye on a handful of Friday upsets. Providence over UNC, Stephen F. Austin over VCU and -- this is the craziest one -- N.C. Central over Iowa State. If there is a more dangerous 14-seed in the field, I can't find it.

Medcalf: In San Diego, Virginia Commonwealth will face a very confident Stephen F. Austin team that has won 28 consecutive games and crashes the offensive glass better than most teams in the field. Plus, Melvin Johnson (10.4 PPG) is doubtful for VCU. The Rams didn't have him when they lost to Saint Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 tournament. He's important to the program. This has the makings of a possible upset.

Earlier Words: 3/21 » 3/20 » 3/19 » 3/18 » 3/17 » 3/16 » 3/15 » 3/14 » 3/13 » 3/12 » 3/11 »


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.