Colin Dunlap | 11:53 a.m. Sunday, March 22
No. 11 seed DAYTON ( 27-7)
No. 3 seed KANSAS (26-7)
2:30 p.m. EST on CBS
Kansas is the defending national champion, while Dayton's victory against West Virginia in the first round was the first tournament win for the program since 1990. Many might look at this matchup and think, "well, this is big, bad Kansas against little A10 rep Dayton." Well, think again.
Consider this: In the last three years, the Flyers are 6-2 against BCS programs and have won four consecutive games against Big East opponents (anyone care to remember what happened to Pitt when they last visited UD Arena?)
If the Flyers are going to be successful, Chris Wright --- who scored a career high 27 against WVU --- will have to come up huge again. He will have to do the type of things going to the basket that he did against the Mountaineers, and maybe some things with his back to the basket that he didn't. If Dayton wants to win, Wright has to have another monster game and it wouldn't hurt if he could get Kansas' 6-11 stud Cole Aldrich in foul trouble. When Wright is on the floor, because of hiw athletic he is and how he gets off the deck, a huge concern for the opposition is always foul trouble.
You want to see precisely how Chris Wright jumps, look at this video:
Now, in terms of Kansas, it really all starts with Sherron Collins, who scores just under 19 a game. In a first round win against North Dakota State, he scored 32 and it is my contention he could have gone for 40-45 had he been even more selfish. That is the thing with this Kansas team --- they seemingly can get a bucket on most trips from the 1-spot (Collins) and the 5-spot (Aldrich), but it is the production they get from the other three starters (Brady Morningstar, Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris) that will be the key.
PREDICTION: Kansas in a close one. I say Jayhawks 66, Dayton 63.
No. 10 seed Southern California (22-12)
No. 2 seed Michigan State (27-6)
Approx 5 p.m. EST on CBS
This much is certain: Lil' Romeo, who actually plays for USC and is pictured below, will not be a factor
OK, enough wiseguyness. About this game. Something tells me that Michigan State, because of the way they defend so well, should be able to mop up Southern Cal. The Trojans are tremendously athletic, but I don't know how physical they want to be, and when watching the Spartans play the other night, it looked like a Big East tournament game. So, in that regard, they have the edge, a heavy edge.
But, in saying that, if this game starts to go up and down the floor with Daniel Hackett, Dwight Lewis and Taj Gibson from Southern Cal making it a jailbreak kind of game, the Trojans very well could leave here and be on their way to Indianapolis.
I just don't see it, though. The biggest reason isn't really the Michigan State guards, who are ridiculously physical, but center Goran Suton, who at 6-10 likes to step out and knock down 15 footers, but also gets on the glass. Suton is the kind of player teams need to make a deep run.
PREDICTION: Michigan State in a Michigan State kind of game. Spartans 59, USC 48