Saturday's Play

Mar 20, 2010 4:34 PM

St. Mary’s vs. Villanova -4½: On Thursday, St. Mary’s not only won its first NCAA tournament game since 1959, it proved to the world that Gonzaga isn’t the only West Coast Conference team that can play. Their win over Richmond was convincing, especially in the second half when the Gaels broke a halftime tie and pulled away. Villanova barely got by No. 15 seed Robert Morris, which helped the Wildcats cause by committing 21 turnovers, which enabled Villanova to overcome a 6-point halftime deficit. They may not be so fortunate against the Gaels. St. Mary’s +4½

Ohio vs. Tennessee -8½: The Ohio Bobcats stunned Georgetown in their opening round contest, which was fueled by hot 3-point shooting that never cooled off. The Hoyas fell behind by 19 and never fully recovered. Tennessee used a stifling defense to keep San Diego State’s offense in check and to just 59 points. If they can slow down the Bobcat attack they should advance to the Sweet 16. Tennessee -8½

Old Dominion vs. Baylor -4: The Baylor Bears notched its first tournament win against Sam Houston State since 1950. The game was closer than the 68-59 final score; it was tied with less than four minutes left. But Sam Houston couldn’t make key shots – they were 6 of 31 from 3-point land – and Baylor seized the victory. Old Dominion was impressive in knocking off Notre Dame, one of the hottest teams entering the tournament. The Monarchs had to overcome a 6-point halftime deficit and their defense held the Irish to 22 points in the second half. That same defense will wreak havoc with the Bears. Old Dominion +4

Wake Forest vs. Kentucky -9: Wake Forest survived double overtime to beat Texas, which once again found a way to lose in crunch time. Wake was down by 8 points in the second overtime, but Texas found a way to still lose. The Demon Deacons won’t find the Wildcats so generous. Kentucky -9

BYU vs. Kansas State -4: Expect points to be scored in bunches as the Cougars’ offense is rated No. 2 in the nation, while the Wildcats are rated No. 10. BYU actually has a slightly better defense, which will keep them in this one all the way. BYU +4

Northern Iowa vs. Kansas -12: Northern Iowa’s win over UNLV was no fluke; during the regular season they had wins over tournament teams Siena and Old Dominion. However, playing against the tournament’s No. 1 team will be a different story. Kansas -12

Murray State vs. Butler -4½: Butler won its 21st straight game against a respectable UTEP squad. Murray State had an unlikely buzzer-beater to sneak past Vanderbilt, but they may not be that close in this one. Butler -4½

Washington -1½ vs. New Mexico: Washington vindicated the Pac-10 conference with its win over Marquette, while New Mexico had to come from behind to beat Montana. There should be plenty of up-and-down action in this one with both teams scoring well into the 70s. Washington is more athletic and should score enough to advance. Washington -1½

NCAA basketball tournament, Saturday March 20, 2010