What's caught our eye on Saturday? A few games in the West Region that will dictate the Arizona Wildcats path should they beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Sunday.
No. 12 North Dakota State vs. No. 4 San Diego State
3:10 p.m. MST, TNT
The winner of this one faces the victor between Arizona and Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. North Dakota State pulled the upset on No. 5 seed Oklahoma on Thursday, and San Diego State needed overtime to pull off a victory against a common opponent with the Wildcats, the New Mexico State Aggies. This one should be a grind-it-out affair, but Xavier Thames has put the Aztecs on his back and will be there to take over in crunch-time.
No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 3 Syracuse
4:10 p.m. MST, TBS
Archie Miller's team showed it could play with the big boys with a edge over Ohio State to open the tournament. As you might expect from a Miller-coached squad, the Flyers are tough and defensive-minded. They play against a Syracuse Orange team that floundered down the stretch of the regular season, but a 77-53 win against Western Michigan perhaps has the Orange back on track.
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 2 Wisconsin
4:45 p.m. MST, CBS
Bo Ryan's Badgers are probably a big-time threat to win the West Region, and they showed why in a 75-35 blowout of American in the second round of the tournament. The Badgers led by only 10 at halftime but outscored American 43-13 in the final 20 minutes, and that kind of defensive presence will look interesting against an Oregon Ducks squad that is clicking at the right time. Will Dana Altman's crew look like it did in a Pac-12 tournament blowout against UCLA, or like it did in an 87-68 win against BYU to open the NCAA Tournament? With all the key players on the Ducks -- Joseph Young, Jason Calliste, Dominic Artis -- it's Elgin Cook, an aggressive, physical forward, who is the key, in my opinion.
|South||Pittsburgh Panthers (9) vs. Florida Gators (1)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||1215p||CBS||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|MidWest||Saint Louis Billikens (5) vs. Louisville Cardinals (4)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||245p||CBS||Anderson/Bonner//Leahy)|
|MidWest||Texas Longhorns (7) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||515p||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel//Lewis Johnson|
|West||North Dakota State Bison (12) vs. New Mexico State Aggies (13) / San Diego State Aztecs (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||610p||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|South||Dayton Flyers (11) vs. Syracuse Orange (3)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||710p||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Allie LaForce|
|West||Oregon Ducks (7) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||745p||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel//Lewis Johnson|
|East||Harvard Crimson (12) vs. Michigan State Spartans (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||840p||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|East||Connecticut Huskies (7) vs. Villanova Wildcats (2)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||940p||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Allie LaForce|