Originally Published: March 20, 2014

Daily Word: The Madness begins

By ESPN.com


Every day, Andy Katz leads a panel of our college hoops experts in a discussion of the biggest issues, trends and themes happening in and around college basketball.

1. Which No. 5 seed or better in action on Thursday should be most concerned?

Andy Katz: Oklahoma. North Dakota State has the size inside and the scoring on the perimeter. The Bison are extremely confident, too. No one should be shocked by this 12-5 upset.

Eamonn Brennan: A lot of people are saying Cincinnati, which is kind of crazy to me. I really like Harvard, but I have no idea how they plan to score against Justin Jackson & Co. Oklahoma is the right answer, I'd say -- young offensive-oriented teams tend to be vulnerable come tourney time. But Saint Louis worries me, too.

C.L. Brown: Saint Louis should, but not because it has lost four of its past five games. NC State features one of the tournament's best individual talents in T.J. Warren. He's on a roll and the Billikens will need an inspired effort to stop him.

2. Of all the players in action on Day 1, who will be the leading scorer at night's end?

Katz: Joseph Young of Oregon. The Ducks and Cougars are going to be flying up the court with little regard for defense. The last time the two teams played, both nearly finished with 100 points.

Brennan: Louisville's Russ Smith. Manhattan is a physical, aggressive defensive team willing to trade fouls for tons of turnovers, but they also turn it over a lot on the offensive end. Which means a lot of fast play, a lot of fouls, and a lot of easy run-outs for Smith.

Brown: I'll go with the same game as Andy but on the opposing side. BYU's Tyler Haws scored more than 30 points in seven games this season, including a high of 48 versus Portland. With Kyle Collinsworth out, Haws will need to pick up more of the scoring void.

3. What name -- school or player -- that the country doesn't know yet might they know about by the time play winds down on Thursday?

Katz: North Dakota State's Taylor Braun. The Bison will upset Oklahoma, and Braun should have a major role in the result. Fargo has had quite a year after the football team won the national championship. The winning continues.

Brennan: If -- and this is a big if -- Saint Joseph's can hang with UConn on the perimeter, forward Halil Kanacevic's work on the low block might constitute a high-profile introduction. Kanicevic had 46 points and 43 rebounds in the Hawks' A-10 tourney title run. He's playing really well, and no one has ever heard of him.

Brown: A lot of eyes will be on Michigan State-Delaware, based on those who have picked the Spartans as a title favorite. I don't expect the Blue Hens to win, but Davon Usher has a chance to make an impression. Usher, who has scored 25 points or more on nine occasions, needs just 17 to set a school single-season scoring record.

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