Vitale: Saturday's second-round recaps

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

Vitale: My pick? Kentucky

Dick Vitale Archive

  Vitale Home     College Basketball     ESPN.com  

Contrasting styles, big-name coaches meet


(6) Boston College vs. (3) Georgia Tech
If ever there was a game featuring contrasting styles of play, it's this one. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt and BC's Al Skinner would be matching wits for the right to advance to the Sweet 16. The Eagles get it done with effective offensive execution and the power game of Craig Smith inside, and they are also outstanding on the defensive end. They will try to slow the game down and control tempo against a Yellow Jackets team that likes to use its athleticism to get up and down the floor. Tech is very deep with the likes of Isma'il Muhammad and Will Bynum coming off the bench. This will be an interesting matchup and whichever team controls the flow will have a big edge.

(9) UAB vs. (1) Kentucky
Both clubs surprised by winning with defense rather than offense in the first round. Kentucky's defense has been it's strong point all season but it gave up 52 points in the first half against Florida A&M and the Wildcats will have to tighten things up against Morris Finley and Demario Eddins, who give UAB a duo that can cause problems. The Blazers' Michael Anderson is starting to build a coaching resume that is getting notice and he is doing an outstanding job, but something tells me Tubby Smith will find a way to get his kids to respond on D.

(12) Pacific vs. (4) Kansas
The thing that stood out in Kansas' first-round win over Illinois-Chicago was the tournament experience of players like Keith Langford, Wayne Simien, Jeff Graves and Aaron Miles. The Jayhawks are playing this game in Kansas City and should have too much firepower with Miles at the controls and the inside-outside combo of Simien and Langford. Pacific was brilliant against Providence in the first round. Big West Player of the Year Miah Davis and teammate Guillaume Yango combined for 37 of the Tigers' 67 points against Providence and they will need another huge game if Pacific is to prevent the Jayhawks from marching on to the Sweet 16.


(7) Memphis vs. (2) Oklahoma State
Memphis got a phenomenal performance from Rodney Carney (26 pts., 10 rebs.) in a first-round victory over South Carolina and the Tigers now need a great effort from point guard Antonio Burks and diaper dandy Sean Burks, who were a combined 5-for-22 against the Gamecocks. John Calipari's kids did a great job defensively, though, and will need more of the same against Oklahoma State. The penetration and scoring ability of John Lucas and the strength of Tony Allen will be key for the Cowboys, who take good shots, defend well and understand how to win. It will be interesting to see how two high-profile coaches -- Calipari and Eddie Sutton -- matchup against each other.

(6) Wisconsin vs. (3) Pittsburgh
Pitt is in for an unbelievable battle against Wisconsin. If I had one gripe after Selection Sunday it was that the Panthers would likely have to face the Badgers in Milwaukee if they advanced to the second round, and it will be a tough task to get the W and move on. Wisconsin showed it's toughness by coming on strong after trailing Richmond in the first round, hitting six consecutive 3-pointers at one point in the second half. Superb guard Devin Harris did not have his best game but the Badgers were still able to win going away. Bo Ryan is one of the most underrated coaches in the nation and has done an amazing job in his short tenure in Madison. This will be one tough out for Pittsburgh, which must find a way to get some scoring from Carl Krauser and Julius Page. These are two hungry teams going head-to-head, baby!


(7) Xavier vs. (2) Mississippi State
Xavier gets a chance for revenge against a Mississippi State team that beat the Musketeers, 82-70, in Starkville earlier this season. The Musketeers have to come up with a way to stop the duo of Lawrence Roberts and Timmy Bowers, a potent inside-outside combination. Xavier is as hot as any team in America, winning the Atlantic 10 tournament and knocking off Louisville in the first round with a strong second-half showing. Lionel Chalmers and Romain Sato present many a problem for defenses, and they get help from the underrated Anthony Myles. The Musketeers are a dangerous team and Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs better bring their "A" game or they could be sent to the sidelines.

(5) Illinois vs. (4) Cincinnati
Illinois lives and dies with its backcourt, meaning Deron Williams will need a big game and Dee Brown has to repeat the 22-point performance he had against Murray State. Brown and Williams must control the game from the perimeter if the Illini are to advance. Cincinnati was able to survive against East Tennessee thanks in large part to Tony Bobbitt's five 3-pointers, and Jason Maxiell must have a big-time performance on the interior for the Bob Huggins' team to get back to the Sweet 16.


(6) Vanderbilt vs. (3) N.C. State
Vanderbilt's senior leadership and experience make the Commodores a dangerous team. Matt Freije has been an outstanding inside-outside performer all season, while N.C. State has maybe the most versatile player in the nation in Julius Hodge. He can flat-out do everything, including scoring from the post, shooting from the perimeter, handling the ball and clamping down on defense. Another big asset for Herb Sendek's Wolfpack is outstanding free-throw shooting. Mario Moore needs another solid game like he had in the first round for Vandy if Freije is to have another prime-time performance and carry the Commodores to the Sweet 16.

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.

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories