A capsule look at Saturday’s NCAA tourney games

Eight teams will advance to the Sweet 16 in round of 32 games on Saturday. Here’s a look at those eight games.

No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 8 Kansas State
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Time: 12:15 p.m.
Announcers: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Len Elmore analyst
The spread: Syracuse by 5
Records: Kansas State 22-10, Syracuse 32-2
How they got here: Kansas State beat No. 9 Southern Miss 70-64. Syracuse beat No. 16 UNC Asheville 72-65.
The buzz: Syracuse played poorly and received some good fortune in beating UNC Asheville on Thursday. But Syracuse knows that if it slows K-State G Rodney McGruder, it should win. McGruder is a savvy scorer, but he can be harassed into bad shooting nights because every foe knows he has to be productive if the Wildcats are going to win. Syracuse can be beaten on the boards, so K-State needs to make some hay there. The Orange shouldn’t be bothered by K-State’s physical nature. Still, the overriding question: Was Syracuse’s performance Thursday indicative of this team’s mindset?
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Gonzaga
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Time: 2:45 p.m.
Announcers: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Len Elmore analyst
The spread: Ohio State by 7.5
Records: Gonzaga 26-6, Ohio State 28-7
How they got here: Gonzaga beat No. 10 West Virginia 77-54. Ohio State beat No. 15 Loyola (Md.) 78-59
The buzz: Gonzaga put a big-time beatdown on a physical West Virginia team Thursday, but this is a much tougher challenge for the Zags. Gonzaga Gs Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. need to hit some 3-pointers to loosen up Ohio State’s defense. Gonzaga is going to have trouble slowing the Buckeyes, so it’s vital the Zags keep up offensively. Last season, the Zags hammered a Big East Conference team in their first NCAA game (St. John’s), then were routed in the next round (BYU). Will it be any different this season?
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt
Where: The Pit, Albuquerque
Time: 6:10 p.m. TV: TNT
Announcers: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
The spread: Wisconsin by 1
Records: Vanderbilt 25-10, Wisconsin 25-9
How they got here: Vanderbilt beat No. 12 Harvard 79-70. Wisconsin beat No. 13 Montana 73-49.
The buzz: Wisconsin plays excellent perimeter defense, and shutting down Vandy on the perimeter is the key to beating the Commodores. Vandy G John Jenkins might be the best pure shooter in the nation, and G Brad Tinsley and F Jeffrey Taylor also can get hot from beyond the arc. Vandy’s toughness has been questioned at times this season, and that could be an issue against the tough-minded Badgers. Wisconsin isn’t overly athletic, but generally stills find a way to win. The higher the point total, the better for Vandy.
No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 12 VCU
Where: Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.
Time: 7:10 p.m.
Announcers: Brian Anderson play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
The spread: Indiana by 5.5
Records: Indiana 26-8, VCU 29-6
How they got here: Indiana beat No. 13 New Mexico State 79-66. VCU beat No. 5 Wichita State 62-59.
The buzz: You like watching pressure defense? Make sure you tune in to watch VCU. The Rams are not a gifted offensive team, but they have won 29 games, thanks to their “havoc” defense. How will IU’s ballhandlers hold up without starting G Verdell Jones III, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Big Ten tourney? Indiana should have success in its halfcourt offense, as VCU lacks the height to deal with Hoosiers freshman C Cody Zeller. VCU’s cause would be helped by some 3-pointers, but the Rams aren’t that proficient from long range (33.5 percent). Bradford Burgess and Troy Daniels are the guys to watch.
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Iowa State
Where: Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Time: 7:45 p.m.
Announcers: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
The spread: Kentucky by 11
Records: Iowa State 23-10, Kentucky 33-2
How they got here: Kentucky beat No. 16 Western Kentucky 81-66. Iowa State beat No. 9 Connecticut 77-64
The buzz: As if they needed any help, this basically is a home game for the Wildcats. Iowa State is an effective 3-point shooting team (38.0 percent) and any hopes for an epic upset depend on the Cyclones getting hot from beyond the arc. In particular, watch Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen; Allen, a Michigan State transfer, has great range but sometimes is too eager to launch one. F Royce Allen is one of the nation’s best all-around players; he’s a 270-pounder who serves as the offensive facilitator, and leads Iowa State in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. The Cyclones are undersized and are going to have all sort of trouble handling UK big men Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones.
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 11 Colorado
Where: The Pit, Albuquerque
Time: 8:40 p.m.
Announcers: Spero Dedes play-by-play, Bob Wenzel analyst
The spread: Baylor by 7.5
Records: Baylor 28-7, Colorado 24-11
How they got here: Baylor beat No. 14 South Dakota State 68-60. Colorado beat No. 6 UNLV 68-64
The buzz: Colorado has four players averaging in double figures, but the athletic Buffs win because of defense. F Andre Roberson is one of the best rebounders in the nation, and how he fares on the boards against the big Bears will be a key. Speaking of Baylor’s big guys, they don’t always show up. The Bears won their first game because of Gs Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip. Colorado is going to have trouble with Jackson’s quickness.
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Murray State
Where: Yum! Center, Louisville
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Announcers: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst
The spread: Marquette by 5
Records: Marquette 26-7, Murray State 31-1
How they got here: Marquette beat No. 14 BYU 88-68. Murray State beat No. 11 Colorado State 58-41.
The buzz: Marquette needs to make the most of its size advantage. Murray is going to have trouble with Golden Eagles F Jae Crowder, the Big East’s player of the year, and G Darius Johnson-Odom actually is Marquette’s leading scorer. Murray’s biggest advantage is the speed of PG Isaiah Canaan, who also is a big-time 3-point threat. Murray State F Ivan Aska is a guy to watch; he has to avoid foul trouble and do yeoman work on the boards. Murray’s one loss this season came to a big, physical Tennessee State team. But Murray also beat the Tigers twice.
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 New Mexico
Where: Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.
Time: 9:40 p.m.
Announcers: Brian Anderson play-by-play, Dan Bonner analyst
The spread: Louisville by 1
Records: Louisville 27-9, New Mexico 28-6
How they got here: Louisville beat No. 13 Davidson 69-62. New Mexico beat No. 12 Long Beach State 75-68.
The buzz: There should be an entertaining point guard matchup between Louisville’s Peyton Siva and New Mexico’s Kendall Williams. Ultimately, though, the Lobos’ chances for the upset depend on F Drew Gordon, who averages a double-double and has to produce against a physical Cardinals frontcourt. Gordon is the Lobos’ only frontcourt player of note. Louisville is spotty, to say the least, from 3-point range (31.8 percent), but the Lobos need to keep an eye on Cardinals G Chris Smith, who can get hot in a hurry.

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