2019 NCAA Viewing Guide, Round 2
Hey, some teams are in the second round, right? In addition to Purdue, most of the other Big Tenteen teams advanced as well, with exceptions below:
Wisconsin played Oregon close for a half, but made them look like conference champions in the second. The Badgers were 6 of 30 from distance and gave up 47 second-half points in just their second first-round loss in 13 years.
Really? Only one team out? (Yep. 7-1 in the first round, not bad for the strongest conference in the country.) Who’s left?
3 Purdue (24-9) vs 6 Villanova (26-9), 8:40 PM Saturday on TNT
Bad Purdue showed up Thursday, with Nojel Eastern at much less than 100% and the Boilers’ outside game nowhere to be found. Fortunately, Old Dominion was just the matchup for that team, and Purdue advanced for the 9th time in 11 tries under Matt Painter. Villanova got past Saint Mary’s, and they are beatable - the Wildcats fell in the second round after their 2016 title and have made it to the Sweet 16 just twice in the last eight appearances - but the Good Guys must return to their February form to do so. Purdue hasn’t beaten a top-30 kenpom team since January, and they’ve only played one, losing at Maryland. Difficulty ramps up immediately; let’s hope the Boilers do as well.
6 Maryland (23-10) vs 3 LSU (27-6), 12:10 PM Saturday on CBS
Maryland trailed Belmont by as many as 12 - the largest blown lead of day 1 - before coming back to win by just 2. For their efforts, they’ll get (vacated), who never trailed against Yale but gave up a late flurry of threes to win by only 5. If the Terrapins can hold onto the ball, they can spring a mild upset; the Tigers rely heavily on steals and give up a lot of offensive rebounds, which could open the door for Fernando and Smith to have big games. Since a loss will be erased about six seconds after the end of the season, it doesn’t matter in the long run, but it sure doesn’t help Maryland in the moment - their best plan is to own the glass and let LSU lose a 1-1 tournament record.
2 Michigan (29-6) vs 10 Florida (20-15), 5:15 PM Saturday on CBS
Michigan never trailed in eliminating Montana for the second time in as many years; they’ll face a Florida squad who dispatched Nevada with relative ease. The Gators have a defense that can keep the Wolverines under control for a while, but they don’t really have the offense to build a safe lead against an average defense, much less the kenpom #2 defense. Michigan should make it to the Sweet 16 easily.
2 Michigan State (29-6) vs 10 Minnesota (22-13), 7:45 PM Saturday on CBS
Three of the four teams left in Des Moines are from the Big Tenteen, as Michigan State gets their first of three potential conference opponents (since they played Minnesota just once, they can meet in the second round). The Gophers were all right against Louisville, no need to worry about a team putting up 86 on a defense that is still pretty good even if it isn’t led by Pitino the Elder anymore. Sparty crushed Minnesota in East Lansing earlier this season; given the difficulty MSU had with Bradley, they should be ready to play, but honestly I think izzo at this point in his career is unpredictable. The conference co-champs should still win, though.
10 Iowa (23-11) vs 2 Tennessee (30-5), 12:10 PM Sunday on CBS
Iowa spent half of their Friday game chasing Cincinnati and half of it silencing the partisan crowd in Columbus; their reward is a Tennessee team that should be ready to go after struggling against 15-seed Colgate in the first round. Either that or they’ll be ripe for an upset; the Volunteers allow too many outside shots and Iowa was 11 for 22 against Cincinnati. Another performance like that will put the Hawkeyes into the Sweet 16, but I don’t think it’ll happen, because Iowa’s defense just isn’t strong enough to keep UT from pulling away.
11 Ohio State (20-14) vs 3 Houston (32-3), 8:40 PM Sunday on TNT
Kelvin Sampson was 2-1 against OSU when he was at Indiana; by all rights he should be 3-1 after Sunday. While the Buckeyes may have been a questionable addition to the field, they definitely earned their spot against the Cyclones, doubling up Iowa State on the offensive boards and getting just enough extra at the line for the upset. The level of competition will be a bit higher Sunday, but perhaps not as high as some might think; Houston’s just three spots ahead of Iowa State on kenpom. I think the Cougars will play to their seed; OSU will push them, but won’t get a second consecutive upset.