Vitale: Friday's first-round recaps

Vitale: Thursday's first-round recaps

Vitale: Best of the Madness (rounds one and two)

Vitale: My pick? Kentucky

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Intriguing second-round games abound


(10) Nevada vs. (2) Gonzaga
This will be a battle of two Western teams that many people have not seen enough of this season. Coach Trent Johnson and Nevada defeated Kansas in December and took out Michigan State in the first round. Nevada guard Kirk Snyder is one of the nation's most underrated superstars -- he can flat-out play. But Gonzaga has so many weapons. I was impressed with guard Erroll Knight's play in transition in the first-round win over Valparaiso. Forward Adam Morrison is a less-heralded diaper dandy who gives the Zags a spark. Gonzaga is deep, and Mark Few's squad is capable of making a run to the Final Four.


(12) Manhattan vs. (4) Wake Forest
Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez, one of the rising stars in the college game, will match wits with Skip Prosser, who this season proved to be one of the best coaches in the ACC. Wake Forest diaper dandy Chris Paul had to bring his A-game for the Demon Deacons to nip Virginia Commonwealth in the first round. The confident city kids from Manhattan will be another stiff test, baby! The Jaspers believe they are as good as anyone, and leading scorer Luis Flores will be in a battle with Paul to see who can lead his team to the next round. The question for Wake is whether it can get inside play from Eric Williams and Vytas Danelius, while Manhattan will have to get another nice interior game from Peter Mulligan and David Holmes. This one looks like a dandy, man!

(8) Texas Tech vs. (1) Saint Joseph's
Passionate coach Phil Martelli has to get his kids ready for a game that many people feel will be difficult. Texas Tech could be a big-time problem. The Hawks must come up with an answer for Red Raiders leading scorer Andre Emmett, who scored 20 points in an opening-round win over Charlotte. Texas Tech, on the other hand, will have to contain what might be the best backcourt in America: Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. The Hawks have very little inside presence, though, and will look to score off their pressure defense and with the 3-point shot. That means Pat Carroll will have to step up from long range to help Nelson and West. If that trio is effective from beyond the arc, the Hawks will march on to the Sweet 16. Tech coach Bobby Knight is a master at preparing for games of this caliber and will not make things easy for Martelli and Saint Joseph's.


(8) Seton Hall vs. (1) Duke
Hey, it looks like Duke got a little help from Lady Luck with Arizona bowing out against Seton Hall in the first round. The Pirates do not present matchup problems as Arizona would have but are still a dangerous team. They were brilliant in overcoming a 14-point deficit to knock off the Wildcats, and Andre Barrett is an underrated star who will get introduced to the nation in this game. Barrett versus Chris Duhon will be an interesting matchup, and Duke will get all it can handle from Seton Hall. The Blue Devils must keep Shelden Williams on the floor and out of foul trouble, because if he spends too much time on the bench, it could be a long day for Duke.

(6) North Carolina vs. (3) Texas
Both the Tar Heels and Longhorns survived scares from teams running the deliberate Princeton system -- UNC against Air Force and Texas against Princeton itself. Now that they have marched on to face each other, both will utilize all 94 feet of the floor in transition. This should be an exciting game, baby! One of the keys will be the play of Carolina point guard Raymond Felton, who is the same kind of blue-chipper the 'Horns had last year in T.J. Ford. The Tar Heels' starting five must stay out of foul trouble. Texas guard Brandon Mouton is a scorer who isn't afraid to take the big shot with the game on the line, Royal Ivey is a solid defender and the bench has been outstanding. Coaches Rick Barnes and Roy Williams know each other well, and each was in the Final Four last year, so this will be a super game.


(8) Alabama vs. (1) Stanford
Alabama presents a bit of a problem for the Cardinal with its superb quickness and athletic ability. Earnest Shelton and Kennedy Winston are a nice frontcourt duo, along with Antoine Pettway, the veteran who made the big shot to beat Southern Illinois in the first round. Stanford has a solid backcourt in point guard Chris Hernandez and Matt Lottich. You can't win as many games as Stanford has all season (losing just once) without a tough winner's mentality. Inside, Josh Childress has been a star of stars since returning from his foot injury earlier this season. Childress scored 26 in the first round. A key to the game will the quickness of Alabama vs. the tenaciousness and toughness of Stanford.

(7) DePaul vs. (2) Connecticut
It's the student against the teacher, baby! DePaul's Dave Leitao, a former UConn assistant, takes on Jim Calhoun as they match wits on the sidelines. The key is this: Can DePaul hold off player-of-the-year candidate Emeka Okafor inside and Ben Gordon on the perimeter. UConn forward Rashad Anderson had a big game in the first-round win over Vermont. DePaul is physically tough, but UConn probably has too much depth.

(5) Syracuse vs. (4) Maryland
You better believe Maryland coach Gary Williams is working tirelessly to dissect the 2-3 zone Jim Boeheim utilizes at Syracuse. The Terps had a tough game against a pesky UTEP team, and the Orangemen got a tough fight from BYU. But the bottom line is both got to the second round. What a great coaching matchup of two future Hall of Famers who will crank up the intensity! The big question is whether Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara can duplicate the brilliant performance he had against BYU. He may not need to come up with another 43 points, but something in the neighborhood of 30 will be necessary if McNamara and Hakim Warrick want to send the Terps home. Syracuse had better look out for Terps point guard John Gilchrist, though, who is getting better with each game and loves having the rock in his hands with the game on the line.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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