NCAA Tournament: Friday Night Preview/Predictions

March 20th, 2009

So many games, so little time. helps you out by cutting to the core of each Tournament game. Click on team names for stats, results, and more. "Matchup" links include helpful injury news, betting tips and information.


First Round: Thursday Night



Arizona vs Utah



Favored: Utah by 1.5

Over/Under: 135

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Arizona relies on its Big Three, but Utah needs 7-2 Luke Nevill (17 ppg) to play like a man

Nutshell: Arizona shouldn't even be in the Tournament, but will cause a lot of problems for over-seeded Utah

At Stake: With BYU losing yesterday, Utah must save the MWC's credibility

CHN Prediction: Utah (55% certainty)


Looming next: Wake Forest


Announcers: Eagle/Spanarkel




Morehead St.vs Louisville



Favored: Louisville by 21

Over/Under: 132

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Morehead's Kenneth Faried (13 ppg) has been on a tear. The sophomore is legit.

Nutshell: Perhaps Morehead hangs tight early, but Cardinals have way too much talent in the end.

At Stake: Honestly, not much.

CHN Prediction: Louisville  (95% certainty)


Looming next: Ohio St


Announcers: Lundquist/Raftery




USC vs Boston College



Favored: USC by 2.5

Over/Under: 135

More: Matchup


Star Watch: BC is 11-2 when Tyrese Rice (17 ppg) score 20 or more, including the UNC/Duke wins.

Nutshell: Two teams who accomplished virtually nothing in non-conference play.

At Stake: Whether USC's Pac-10 title run was just your run of the mill conference tourney fluke.

CHN Prediction: USC (55% certainty)


Looming next: Michigan St


Announcers: Johnson/Wenzel




Portland St. vs Xavier



Favored: Xavier by 10

Over/Under: 135.5

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Xavier must stop inconsistent PG Jeremiah Dominguez (13 ppg) from going off for 20+

Nutshell: Xavier's had a fine season, but their lack of a true PG is a problem with no solution.

At Stake: A loss by Xavier would be a huge blow to the Non-BCS conferences.

CHN Prediction: Xavier  (70% certainty)


Looming next: Florida St


Announcers: Bolerjack/Wenzel




Siena vs Ohio St.



Favored: Ohio St by 3

Over/Under: 142

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Ohio St star Evan Turner (17 ppg) would easily average 20+ on a higher tempo team.

Nutshell: Siena, everyone's mid-major darling hasn't beaten a tourney-quality team all season.

At Stake: Whether Siena's SOS-induced high RPI is just a statistical oddity.

CHN Prediction: Ohio St  (60% certainty)


Looming next: Louisville


Announcers: Lundquist/Raftery




Cleveland St. vs Wake Forest



Favored: Wake Forest by 7.5

Over/Under: 137.5

More: Matchup


Star Watch: In January Jeff Teague (19 ppg) was arguably the nation's top player. He needs to reclaim the mojo.

Nutshell: Contrasting styles as methodical CSU will try and slow down up-tempo Wake.

At Stake: A win by Gary Waters would be another huge slap in the face to former employer Rutgers.

CHN Prediction: Wake Forest  (70% certainty)


Looming next: Utah


Announcers: Eagle/Spanarkel




Robert Morris vs Michigan St



Favored: Michigan st by 16.5

Over/Under: 133

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Everything RMU does revolves around senior Jeremy Chappell (17 ppg)

Nutshell: The Big Ten champs get oddly little respect, but should roll against the Colonials.

At Stake: Whether the Spartan doubters are in the right.

CHN Prediction: Michigan St  (90% certainty)


Looming next: USC


Announcers: Johnson/Elmore




Wisconsin vs Florida St.



Favored: FSU by 2.5

Over/Under: 121

More: Matchup


Star Watch: FSU's Toney Douglas (21 ppg) has been solid all season, but most fans have recently jumped on the bandwagon.

Nutshell: Never count out a Bo Ryan team, but this year's Badgers seem awfully similar to the '06 team that lost in Round 1.

At Stake: FSU has a similar reputation to Clemson for under-achievement. Will the Noles choke out early like the Tigers?

CHN Prediction: Florida St  (60% certainty)


Looming next: Xavier


Announcers: Bolerjack/Wenzel




Enjoy the games. Stop back at tonight and tomorrow for post-game reactions!