Mar 23, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT
1. No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky: Ohio State is the best team in the country. But Kentucky may be the best collection of individual talent. Its creates an interesting dynamic for the game. Aaron Craft should be able to slow down Brandon Knight. Josh Harrellson will, at the least, make Jared Sullinger have to work to get position. But what about Terrence Jones? Who on Ohio State is going to be able to match up with him?
2. No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU: This is a rematch of what proved to be a pretty good game from last year’s first round. If you remember, that game featured Jimmer Fredette scoring 37 points (when it wasn’t normal for him to score 37 points) as the Cougars won in double overtime. This round should be just as entertaining. Florida is playing their best basketball of the season while the Cougars surprised a lot of people with how easily they made it to the Sweet 16.
3. No. 2 SDSU vs. No. 3 UConn: San Diego State has that big front line, but UConn has Kemba Walker. The key to this game may end up being who wins the battle of the small forward between sophomore Kawhi Leonard and freshman Jeremy Lamb.
4. No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU: The ultimate matchup of styles. Florida State is a grind-it-out defensive team that, often times, struggles to score points. VCU, on the other hand, likes to press and push the tempo a little more, looking to play inside-out and get up a bunch of threes. Whoever can assert their will on the game will win.
5. No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Butler: The make up of these two teams is incredibly similar. Two talented, scoring point guards in Jordan Taylor and Shelvin Mack. Two versatile, senior power forwards in Jon Leuer and Matt Howard. Slow paced games, efficient offenses, not-quite-so-efficient defenses.
6. No. 2 UNC vs. No. 11 Marquette: This game may actually end up being better than most are giving it credit for. UNC has a vast talent advantage, but Marquette is a group of scrappy, blue-collar fighters led by a scrappy, blue-collar, fighter of a coach. There is no quit in the Golden Eagles.
7. No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Arizona: Derrick Williams should have a field day against the Duke front line. The rest of the Blue Devils should have a field day against the rest of the Wildcats.
8. No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Richmond: I’m a huge fan of Richmond. Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson are terrific players. But Kansas? Well, they are Kansas.
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