Half the day is in the books, and eight teams are headed home. We may not know what the Thursday evening sessions might have in store for us, but we can be confident in thinking there will be lots of excitement. Let’s continue our analysis of all of today’s games with the evening slate of eight contests.
#7 Connecticut vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s – East Region Second Round (at Buffalo, NY) – 6:55 PM ET on TBS
One of the better first round games in this tournament pits two of the nation’s better scoring guards against one another with Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier and Saint Joseph’s Langston Galloway. These two seniors each average over 17 points per game and their play will no doubt have an effect on the outcome of this game. The Huskies are a terrific defensive team and that could cause a problem for the Hawks, who rely heavily on three pointers and have a penchant for turning the ball over too much. That said, Phil Martelli’s team boasts a talented roster. Halil Kanacevic has been a warrior in his last go-around while freshman DeAndre Bembry looks uber-talented. As always with Connecticut, the question is the front court and whether DeAndre Daniels will continue his streak of better play in March. Over his last four games he has averaged 15.3 PPG on 50 percent shooting. Daniels will have to contend with Kanacevic and Ronald Roberts in the paint, where St. Joe’s was the No. 2 team in Atlantic 10 play when it came to defending two point shots (44.2 percent against). On paper this has the makings of a very strong 7 vs. 10 game and you would figure it will be close. If that comes to fruition, the advantage has to go to Connecticut. While both teams are experienced, the Huskies are a much better free throw shooting team and have more depth. Martelli’s Hawks rank dead last in the nation in bench minutes (14 percent) and shoot only 64.1 percent from the free throw line as a team while UConn connects 76.1 percent of the time (No. 10 nationally).
The RTC Certified Pick: Connecticut.
#2 Michigan vs. #15 Wofford – Midwest Region Round of 64 (at Milwaukee, WI) – 7:10 PM EST on CBS