Saturday March 21st, 2009

NCAA Tournament Speed Picks
At a loss for your bracket picks? SI.com's Andy Staples has quick picks for all the second-round games.
 
West Region
 
(6) Marquette (3) MissouriSUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Marquette gets its "LaRusso's gonna fight!" moment when point guard Dominic James returns months earlier than expected from a broken foot. As long as the Cobra Kai Tigers don't sweep the foot, the Golden Eagles can ride that momentum into the Sweet 16.
 
East Region
 
(1) Pittsburgh(8) Oklahoma StateThe undersized Cowboys should remember physical post play from facing Blake Griffin in Basketball Bedlam. That still probably won't prepare them for DeJuan Blair and Tyrell Biggs, who, if they were a wrestling tag team, would be introduced with the phrase "at a total combined weight of 515 pounds."
 
(4) Xavier(12) WisconsinThe Musketeers are big -- they don't have a starter shorter than 6-5 -- but they don't start a true point guard. That could be a problem against a team that loves to play slow and ugly.
 
South Region
 
(3) Syracuse(6)Arizona StArizona State point guard Derek Glasser played a gem against Temple, but don't expect the Orange to leave Glasser open the way the Owls did. Expect Sun Devils star James Harden to bounce back, but also expect Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn to remain steadily spectacular.
 
 
Midwest Region
 
(1) Louisville(9) SienaSiena is well-coached and tournament-tested. That probably won't matter against the Cardinals, who are just better. Terrence Williams and company roll into the Sweet 16.
 
(2) Michigan State(10) USCUSC freshman DeMar Derozan scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his NCAA tournament debut on Friday. Expect Sunday to be the one-and-done star's final tourney appearance. Spartans forward Raymar Morgan said earlier this week that he finally has recovered from the respiratory ailments that plagued him for most of the season. That's bad news for the Trojans.
 
(3) Kansas(11) DaytonThe Jayhawks got a slight scare Friday from North Dakota State and guard Ben Woodside, who had 37 points in the near-upset. Fortunately for the defending champions, Dayton doesn't have a scorer like Woodside.
 
(12) Arizona(13) Cleveland StateArizona's Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Nic Wise clearly were better than anyone Utah had on Friday. That may not be the case against Cleveland State's trio of Cedric Jackson, J'Nathan Bullock and Norris Cole on Sunday.
 
 

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