JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The first batch of games here in Jacksonville lacked the drama that gripped some of the other sites. Three of the first four contests were decided by double digits.
But with Cornell, Duke, Cal and Wisconsin, I'd put this pod's SAT scores up against any other subregional. Here's a look at the games on tap for Sunday:
Cornell (12) vs. Wisconsin (4), 2:50 p.m.
Key to the game: Cornell can shoot it as well as anybody. Wisconsin defends as well as anybody. Sounds simplistic, but that's basically what this game boils down to. Cornell dissected Temple, another good defensive team, in the first round, getting pretty much whatever open looks it wanted. Wisconsin rarely allows anybody to feel comfortable, but its defensive philosophy of chasing shooters off the three-point line will be challenged by a team with four players capable of draining the long ball at any time.
"We have to try to take away their air space," Badgers forward Jon Leuer said. "When you have a guy breathing right down your neck when you come off a screen, it makes you think twice about shooting a 3. We have to make them put it on the floor and hopefully take some tough jumpers."
Player to watch: Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes. He makes the Badgers go, and his ability to penetrate and dish could cause problems for Cornell's defense. Louis Dale will be under a lot of pressure to slow Hughes down.
Who has the edge: Believe it or not, Cornell. Wisconsin has struggled shooting the ball lately, and the Big Red is riding a huge wave of confidence right now. They proved they could handle a deliberate, defensive-minded team in the first round and will be headed to the Sweet 16 if they play the same way today.
California (8) vs. Duke (1), 5:15 p.m.
Key to the game: The Golden Bears and Blue Devils meet in the tournament for the first time since Jason Kidd outdueled Bobby Hurley in 1993. Duke's trio of Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer garner a lot of attention, but Cal has its own Big Three with Jerome Randle, Theo Robertson and Patrick Christopher. Emphasize the word "three" with that group, because all of them like to let it fly from way beyond the college arc, as Louisville found out Friday night. They give the underdog Bears a shooter's chance.
"We haven't played a team with this many weapons from the outside," Scheyer said. "It's all about being disciplined on defense."
Duke, though, has a major advantage in size, as Cal's only starter over 6-foot-6 is former Blue Devils transfer Jamal Boykin. And this is one of the best defensive teams, at least statistically, that Mike Krzyzewski has ever fielded. Duke will have to close out on shooters and prevent the Bears from getting runouts in transition like they did Friday against Louisville.
Player to watch: Randle. The point guard, whom Krzyzewski called "a blur," can change the game with his speed, deep range and near-automatic foul shooting. He'll be matched up against Duke's best on-ball defender in Smith.
Who has the edge: Duke. Cal had a nice performance against Louisville, but hasn't proved it can beat an elite team yet this season. The Blue Devils should be able to ride their length and depth to avoid the same second-round fate as fellow No. 1 seed Kansas.