It is a heck of a line-up of games we have to look forward to tonight and tomorrow night. There are only a couple that have a real risk of being duds, and several that could come down to the last second. Here is my ranking of the games in order of my level of anticipation as a fan and a bettor:
8. UCLA vs Western Kentucky – I have been pretty impressed by the Hilltoppers so far, and the Bruins are struggling with injuries, but I still can’t see a way in which this one is particularly close UCLA is bigger, stronger, faster, and a huge step up in class from previous opponents.
7. Kansas vs. Villanova – I would love this one to be close, but Kansas has more experience, and I don’t see how Villanova is going to handle Mario Chalmers. He’s red hot right now.
6. Memphis vs. Michigan State – I have seen the Spartans enough this year to know that they are as inconsistent and untrustworthy as any team in the tournament. I don’t think that they can handle Memphis’ athleticism.
5. North Carolina vs. Washington State – I don’t buy into the Cougars, and I really don’t like watching them play. North Carolina is balanced, dominant, and just plain scary right now. It may be a fight, but I bet not.
4. Xavier vs. West Virginia – The top four games could really go in any order on this list. This game could be really interesting, or it could be a flop. Xavier lacks star power, but they are deep and disciplined. West Virginia has found ways to exploit the flaws of their opponents so far. One team is going to be pushed off its game plan.
3. Stanford vs. Texas – You know how sometimes you just feel like a team is in trouble but you can’t precisely put your finger on why? Both these teams are like that to me.
2. Davidson vs. Wisconsin – What happens when an explosive offense keyed around one player comes up against a dominant defense with an impressive big man? It didn’t end well for Georgetown, and it will be very interesting to see what happens here.
1. Tennessee vs. Louisville – What’s not to like about this one? Two great coaches, the hottest team in the tournament, and a team that thinks they should have been a number one. There are storylines all over the place in this one, and it could go either way. A potential classic.