On the heels of a blistering 1-3 performance on Thursday, I figured you could use these picks to go the other way tonight. I like the Heels, but that might not be bad news UNC fans, I did get one right on Thursday (Pitt).
On with the games:
First round: 25-8. Second round: 13-3. Third round: 1-3
All games on CBS
Syracuse (3) vs. Oklahoma (2)
To beat Syracuse and its 2-3 zone, you have to hit 3s from the wings or the corner. If your point guard is your best 3-point shooter, and Willie Warren is for Oklahoma, it's tough to find shots because of the way Syracuse pressures the top of the zone.
Johnny Flynn and Eric Devendorf get all the press mileage for the Orange but forwards Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuake have the strength and size to relatively control Oklahoma's Blake Griffin.
Oklahoma's a two-man team and Syracuse's defense is designed to stop those two parts. That's bad news for OU. Pick: Syracuse
Gonzaga (4) vs. UNC (1)
Gonzaga has some parts — namely point guard Jeremy Pargo, small forward Matt Bouldin and center Josh Heytvelt — but the Zags lack toughness and positive tournament experience. This group lost in the first round in 2007 and 2008.
Plus, the Zags just don't play enough defense. Western Kentucky scored 81 points on the Zags in the second round. How many do you think UNC will score? Pick: UNC
Arizona (12) vs. Louisville (1)
Quick, name Arizona's coach. No cheating. His name is Russ Pennell and just last year he was working the radio broadcasts for Arizona State. That's like Duke asking Eric Montross to replace Mike Krzyzewski for a year.
There's no doubt Zona has talent — forward Jordan Hill projects as a top-5 pick in the next draft — but coaching plays a role. Rick Pitino has never lost in the Round of 16 (8-0). Pick: Louisville.
Kansas (3) vs. Michigan State (2)
Is it me or should Kansas fans be thankful Roy Williams left for UNC? Bill Self won a title at Kansas, beating Roy Williams no less in last year's Final Four. He also one-upped Ol' Roy in his "year after" piecing together a patchwork roster and reaching the Sweet 16 (UNC lost in the second round in 2006). One thing is for sure, Self's teams play better defense than Ol' Roy's.
Can the Jayhawks out-halfcourt the master halfcourter, Michigan State's Tom Izzo? Sparty beat KU by 13 earlier this season in East Lansing. Closer this time but still the same result. Pick: Michigan State
-- J.P. Giglio