After a relatively successful first round of predictions, I’m going to make a stab at it again. It will be a little more conventional this time around, as I’ll be going with straight-up predictions from here on out.
No. 5 Purdue at No. 1 Connecticut
You never know how motivated the Huskies will be from game to game, but if the first two games are any indication, UConn is taking the tournament seriously. Sportsmanship was a bit of an issue in the Chattanooga game, but the Huskies were impressive in trouncing Texas A&M.
Purdue, on the other hand, has won its two games in a variety of ways, subduing Northern Iowa in a half-court, possession game while outlasting Washington in a back-and-forth, fast-paced 76-74 donnybrook. Purdue will give the Huskies a game, but UConn is on a roll now.
No. 3 Missouri at No. 2 Memphis
This game should be a fun one. Missouri’s full-court press, “40 Minutes of Hell” offense can erupt at any time and the Tigers have a bevy of scoring threats led by forward DeMarre Carroll. Memphis, meanwhile, might have the most athletic team in college basketball.
The key to this game will be Memphis’ outside shooting. The Tigers have been torrid from 3-point range in their first two games, with Roburt Sallie going for 10 3-pointers against Cal State Northridge and Doneal Mack leading the rout of Maryland. If that continues, then bye, bye Missouri.