By Ken Davis, Special to Yahoo! Sports
March 13, 2006
Regional predictions: Atlanta | Oakland | Washington, D.C. | Minneapolis | Final Four/Championship
1. Duke over 16. Southern U.
Southern advances to the tournament for the first time since 1993, but unfortunately draws Duke as its dancing partner.
9. UNC-Wilmington over 8. George Washington
Coach Karl Hobbs and the Colonials didn't get much respect from the selection committee. If Pops Mensah-Bonsu can't be effective, GW will make an early exit.
5. Syracuse over 12. Texas A&M
This is a great matchup between two of the hottest teams in the nation. It's hard to believe the Orange grabbed a No. 5 seed after being on the bubble this time last week. McNamara's Band isn't ready to stop playing yet.
4. LSU over 13. Iona
Iona has never won in six previous NCAA Tournament appearances. That isn't likely to change against Glen (Big Baby) Davis and the other Tigers.
6. West Virginia over 11. Southern Illinois
The Mountaineers won't have an easy time in this opener, but after last season's stunning run, they know how to win in the tournament. Southern Illinois does the Missouri Valley proud in defeat.
3. Iowa over 14. Northwestern State
Coach Steve Alford is auditioning for his alma mater, trying to land the Indiana job for next year. The Hawkeyes won't fall victim to a No. 14 seed.
10. North Carolina State over 7. California
Cal is back in the tournament for the first time since 2003, but N.C. State advanced to the Syracuse Regional semifinal last season. Experience will carry Herb Sendek's team to a first-round victory.
2. Texas over 15. Penn
The Longhorns have plenty to work on after losing to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament championship game. Penn won't have an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge.
1. Duke over 9. UNC-Wilmington
J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams send the Seahawks home with just one victory.
5. Syracuse over 4. LSU
This could be one of the best games in the tournament. Despite a loss to Florida in the SEC tournament, the Tigers have one of the most dangerous teams in the field. If Terrence Roberts and Darryl Watkins crash the boards, Syracuse should prevail.
6. West Virginia over 3. Iowa
Another second-round game that has a Sweet 16 flavor. Alford would love to have West Virginia's collection of three-point shooters – but he doesn't. The Mountaineers move on.
2. Texas over 10. North Carolina State
Texas coach Rick Barnes can put his Carolina accent to good use for this game. The Longhorns should prevail on talent alone.
1. Duke over 5. Syracuse
Imagine the pregame buildup if Redick and McNamara meet in the Sweet 16. Jim Boeheim's team is playing its best basketball. Duke is on a mission. The Blue Devils might need overtime, but they will survive and advance.
2. Texas over 6. West Virginia
The Longhorns get back on track, and that means the end of the road for the Mountaineers.
1. Duke over 2. Texas
Duke beat Texas 97-66 back on Dec. 10. It will be a lot closer this time, but Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski won't let this opportunity slip away. When Coach K gets this close to the Final Four, his Blue Devils deliver.
Ken Davis, a longtime college basketball writer for the Hartford Courant, predicted the Atlanta region exclusively for Yahoo! Sports.
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Updated on Monday, Mar 13, 2006 3:37 am, EST
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