- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

EAST

No. 4 XAVIER vs. No. 12 WISCONSIN

2:20 p.m., Boise, Idaho

The Badgers win ugly, period. It worked against Florida State, but Xavier has a whole lot more tournament savvy and won’t blow a double-digit lead. The Musketeers rely on a fast-paced perimeter game, hitting an impressive 40 percent from behind the arc.

No. 1 PITT vs. No. 8 OKLAHOMA STATE

2:50 p.m., Dayton, Ohio

Chs. 9, 13

The Panthers struggled in their opener against East Tennessee State. A repeat performance could mean being the first No. 1 seed to lose on the first weekend since 2004. Oklahoma State might be able to penetrate Pitt’s vulnerable defense.

SOUTH

No. 3 SYRACUSE vs. No. 6 ARIZONA STATE

12:10 p.m., Miami

Chs. 9, 13

The Orange could just be the real deal. They had no trouble with Stephen F. Austin after an impressive run in the Big East tournament. The Sun Devils need to pay attention to defense and try to keep Syracuse significantly under its 81-point average.

MIDWEST

No. 3 KANSAS vs. No. 11 DAYTON

2:30 p.m., Minneapolis

Can the Flyers pull another surprise? If they can duplicate the 36 percent field goal defense they clamped on West Virginia, sure. Sherron Collins (32 points) was Kansas’ one-man answer to North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside and could be the difference-maker again.

No. 12 ARIZONA vs. No. 13 CLEVELAND ST.

2:40 p.m., Miami

OK, you stunned your pool by having this matchup on your bracket. Wait, you probably didn’t. Nobody did. Both teams proved they’re better than their seeds. Cleveland State’s formula for success is no different - pester the opponent into bad shots and turnovers.

No. 2 MICHIGAN STATE vs. No. 10 USC

2:30 p.m., Minneapolis

Not the matchup the Spartans wanted. Taj Gibson, the personification of USC’s athletic, take-it-to-the-rack style, was 10-for-10 in the first round, and the Trojans haven’t cooled off from winning the Pac-10 tournament. Michigan State was one of just three higher seeds to survive Friday’s insanity.

No. 1 LOUISVILLE vs. No. 9 SIENA

5:20 p.m., Dayton, Ohio

Ch. 9

The Saints needed double overtime to eliminate Ohio State, which leaves them all of about a day and a half to get ready for the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed. Siena will need the performance of its season and composure against Louisville’s pressure defense.

WEST

No. 3 MISSOURI vs. No. 6 MARQUETTE

4:50 p.m., Boise, Idaho

Ch. 13

A track meet favors the third-seeded Tigers. Marquette just isn’t the same team without injured guard Dominic James. The Golden Eagles would be wise to make Missouri score from its set offense, which has a tendency to break down.

- Steve Repsher

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