Sunday's NCAA Tournament slate is shaping up to be one of the greatest days in the history of mid-major fandom or one of the most disappointing. Six of today's eight games feature mid-major teams looking to join Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Here a brief primer to get you ready for today's action.
2:30 PM, CBS
I think we can all agree that the committee's overall job hasn't been great this year, especially in regards to seeding. Stephen F. Austin might be the best example of that as the Lumberjacks are 14 seed in the tournament but ranked 24th in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy. SFA didn't just beat a top ten caliber team, West Virginia, in the first round, Brad Underwood destroyed his former boss 70-56. Thomas Walkup is a man on a mission, and it showed Friday when he dropped 33 on the Mountaineers. The stage isn't too big for this team, and you're not going to find a coach/top player combo more focused on winning.
Prediction: SFA- 73, ND- 66
#10 VCU Rams vs. #2 Oklahoma Sooners
5:15 PM, CBS
The Jeff Capel Bowl kicks off in Oklahoma City this evening as VCU looks to see if their hooves still fit a glass slipper against Buddy Hield and Oklahoma. The Rams saw a dynamic guard in Gary Payton II in their 75-67 win over #7 Oregon State, but Hield, and the Sooners will be a different story. For Will Wade's team to have a chance Melvin Johnson has to get going. The Rams senior guard had 23 points against the Beavers but was just 1-for-8 from three. Johnson, JaQuan Lewis, Korey Billbury, and even Johnathan Williams need to have the game of their lives trying to contain Hield, Isaiah Cousins, and Jordan Woodard. Boomer Sooner also had a significant advantage in the paint for this one.
Prediction: OU- 80, VCU- 71
#15 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. #10 Syracuse Orange
6:10 PM, TNT
America's bracket busters are back in action tonight and look to keep a historic run going when Middle Tennessee State squares off against Syracuse. On paper, it still looks like Jim Boeheim should have every advantage but I think we've burned or thrown away any paper at this point. For MTSU to pull a Florida Gulf Coast, then they are going to need their stars we fell in love with Friday afternoon to step up again. Reggie Upshaw leads the way with 21 points while Kermit Davis leaned heavily on his starting five playing four of them over 37 minutes. Will MTSU have the legs to keep up with the Orange and the smarts to bust Syracuse's zone?
Prediction: SU- 71, MTSU- 56
#13 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. #5 Maryland Terrapins
7:10 PM, TBS
The Bows cut through a tumultuous #4 Cal squad on Friday 77-66. Sunday Eran Ganot's squad will see tougher competition in the Maryland Terps, a team that was consider among the top in the country when the season started. With that being said, South Dakota State had Melo Trimble and the Terps on the ropes Friday, and there is no reason Hawaii can't do the same today. Roderick Bobbitt, Quincy Smith, and Stefan Jankovic are dangerous, experienced players that can carry Hawaii to the Sweet 16 for the first time.
Prediction: Hawaii- 75, Maryland- 70
#11 Northern Iowa Panthers vs. #3 Texas A&M Aggies
7:40 PM, TRUtv
We'll never forget the halfcourt heave Paul Jesperson's halfcourt heave that took down Texas on Friday but Ben Jacobson and his Panthers have to put it out of memory for the time being. Northern Iowa has a stiff match up against a talented Texas A&M squad and will need a brilliant performance from Wes Washpun so he can quickly become the most hated man in the Lonestar state. A terrible January made us forget about Northern Iowa a bit, but we all have to remember this is a team that knocked off North Carolina way back in November and a team that isn't scared of anyone.
Prediction: Texas A&M- 67, Northern Iowa- 63
#8 St. Joseph's Hawks vs. #1 Oregon Ducks
9:40 PM, TBS
Yea...yea, one seeds were 3-0 yesterday, but none of them had to face off against DeAndre Bembry! Bembry did it all in a thrilling 78-76 win over #9 Cincinnati on Friday with 23 points, six boards, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He'll need to do replicate that late tonight against the Ducks and get a little help, Isaiah Miles and Aaron Brown. Phil Martelli's Hawks have a good chance to create some anarchy this evening. Remember...the Hawk will never die!
Prediction: St. Joe's- 77, Oregon- 74