To those of us who have been predicting the outcome of NCAA tournaments since before there was a 3-point line or 35-second shot clock, the great news of the 2011 edition of March Madness was that there are three more games to get right.
Perhaps the more likely scenario is it’s just three more chances to be wrong. Please remember that as you consider one man’s predictions for the next three weeks. (Winning team in UPPER CASE, seeding in parentheses).
Doubleheaders will be played at Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday and Wednesday, expanding the field to 68 teams.
Tuesday, March 15
CLEMSON (12) vs. University of Alabama at Birmingham (12) _ Clemson was impressive in a win over Boston College and a loss to North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference. UAB wasn’t impressive all season.
ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK (16) vs. North Carolina-Asheville (16) _ The Trojans won four games in as many days to win Sun Belt title, with conference Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in championship game.
Wednesday, March 16
USC (11) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (11) _ The Trojans have been better since point guard Jio Fontan took over and should prevail in the matchup of three-letter schools.
ALABAMA STATE (16) vs. Texas-San Antonio (16) _ The Hornets have won 11 of 12, including a dismantling of Grambling State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game.
OHIO STATE (1) vs. Alabama State _ The Buckeyes are the overall No. 1 seed for a reason.
VILLANOVA (9) vs. George Mason (8) _ The Wildcats closed the season as poorly as any team in the field. Even though the Patriots may be tougher up front, Villanova’s guards are really due.
WEST VIRGINIA (5) vs. Clemson (12) _ The Mountaineers might not repeat last year’s Final Four run, but they are good enough to win a couple of games.