Thursday Games to Watch

It’s the start of the NCAA Tournament and fans worldwide rejoice. The best four days in sports is upon us and I will be gluing myself to the television once class is over (yeah, I’m too much of a nerd to skip, but that probably has more to do with my team being not invited rather than not wanting to miss class).

Some good games are on today’s menu. I won’t bother boring you with the 50 point blow outs Kansas and Kentucky are about to unleash on those poor 16 seeds, but some games to keep your eye on include Marquette vs Washington (East), Texas vs Wake Forest (East), Notre Dame vs Old Dominion (South), Richmond vs St. Mary’s (South), UNLV vs Northern Iowa (Midwest), Tennessee vs San Diego State (Midwest), Vanderbilt vs Murray State (West), and Butler vs UTEP (West).

(6) Marquette vs (11) Washington – Washington got into the tournament after winning the Pac10 tournament. Marquette is a solid team, but they will not amaze anybody with their play. I’m taking Washington to pull the upset.

(8) Texas vs (9) Wake Forest – The Longhorns are in a free fall since they were voted the number one team earlier in the season. And Wake Forest is, well, Wake Forest. They are talented but up and down. Plus, it’s March, the month when Wake Forest loves to transform in to Fake Forest. I’m taking Texas.

(6) Notre Dame vs (11) Old Dominion – Old Dominion is a scrappy bunch and they played a tough non-conference schedule (including beating Georgetown). The Irish are on a roll and ‘Gody has returned to the lineup. I expect the Irish to win, but it will be close.

(7) Richmond vs (10) St. Mary’s – A nice match-up of two mid-major schools. St. Mary’s finally overcame the Gonzaga jinx to win the WCC tournament and Richmond was a strong contender throughout the Atlantic 10 season. The game is a toss up. I’ll go with Richmond.

(8) UNLV vs (9) Northern Iowa – Northern Iowa was one of the better mid-major teams this season and UNLV was solid. The 8 vs 9 games are always tough to predict. A 9 seed winning is not really an upset, but the 8 seed is not always expected to win. I’ve got the Runnin’ Rebels in a close game.

(6) Tennessee vs (11) San Diego State – The Volunteers own the two best wins in the NCAA this season (vs Kansas and vs Kentucky), but they also own some head-scratching losses. San Diego State will be ready, but in the end, I like the Volunteers to advance.

(4) Vanderbilt vs (13) Murray State – FACT: Whenever Murray State or Western Kentucky make the Big Dance, they win a first round game. All right, that may not be a fact, but it’s damn sure close. The Racers pull the upset.

(5) Butler vs (12) UTEP – Another nice mid-major match-up. Butler played tough opponents in their OOC schedule all year. UTEP won CUSA by two games and in the process, dethroned Memphis. UTEP presents an interesting problem for the Butler Bulldogs. When Butler struggled this season, it was against athletic teams. UTEP is an athletic team. However, the Miners sometimes lose focus on offense. Despite that, I have UTEP advancing for another game.

Take it to Vegas, folks. Okay, not really. Please don’t, in fact. I’ll probably miss all of those games while some random, fat ass chick who doesn’t own cable television wins some office pool in Nowheresville, USA. Regardless, enjoy the day.