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A capsule look at Friday's NCAA tourney games

The NCAA tournament continues Friday with 16 games. Here’s a look at each matchup.

EAST REGION
No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 Texas
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Time: 12:15 p.m.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst
The spread: Cincinnati by 2
Records: Cincinnati 24-10, Texas 20-13
How they got here: Cincinnati received an at-large bid out of the Big East. Texas received an at-large bid out of the Big 12.
Record vs. NCAA field: Cincinnati 7-6, Texas 4-11
The buzz: Neither is all that proficient offensively, but both play solid defense. Cincinnati’s physical nature could bother Texas. The Longhorns need a big offensive game from G J’Covan Brown. If he struggles, Texas has no chance. And if he is on, Texas needs someone up front to produce some points. Texas has been a good rebounding team, and that must continue. Cincinnati’s poor free-throw shooting could play a role in a close game.
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 St. Bonaventure
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Time: 2:45 p.m.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst
The spread: Florida State by 6.5
Records: Florida State 24-9, St. Bonaventure 20-11
How they got here: Florida State won the ACC tourney. St. Bonaventure won the Atlantic 10 tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Florida State 7-5, St. Bonaventure 2-4
The buzz: FSU struggled early, then turned things around; the Seminoles were 2-0 against North Carolina and 2-1 against Duke this season, and beat them back-to-back to win the ACC tourney for the first time. FSU is both athletic and physical up front, and defense remains the Seminoles’ calling card. While FSU has become more proficient on offense this season, it still is prone to some offensive clunkers, such as February losses to Boston College and Miami and pre-Christmas losses to Florida, Harvard and Michigan State. St. Bonaventure won the A-10 tourney as the No. 4 seed, and for the Bonnies to make this interesting, they have to get a big game from senior F Andrew Nicholson, who came up huge in the league tournament. The Bonnies generally do well on the boards, but that seems too much to ask against the Seminoles. One negative about FSU is that it can be extremely sloppy with the ball, so that bears watching.
SOUTH REGION
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Lehigh
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Time: 7:15 p.m.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst
The spread: Duke by 12
Records: Duke 27-6, Lehigh 26-7
How they got here: Duke received an at-large bid out of the ACC. Lehigh won the Patriot tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Duke 10-5, Lehigh 0-2
The buzz: Lehigh played two NCAA tourney teams and lost by nine to both (Iowa State and Michigan State). The Mountain Hawks have a genuine mid-major star in junior G C.J. McCollum, who tore up Kansas in a first-round loss in 2010. He obviously must come up big if Lehigh is to keep this close. Also important is the performance of F Gabe Knutson, whose production is vital if Lehigh is to have any offensive balance. The Plumlee brothers could be more productive than usual for Duke, which enjoys a decided size advantage.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Xavier
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C
Time: 9:45 p.m.
TV: CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst
The spread: Notre Dame by 2.5
Records: Notre Dame 22-11, Xavier 21-12
How they got here: Notre Dame received an at-large bid out of the Big East. Xavier received an at-large bid out of the Atlantic 10.
Record vs. NCAA field: Notre Dame 10-7, Xavier 5-7
The buzz: Notre Dame overachieved and Xavier underachieved during the regular season. The Irish faded down the stretch; did they peak too early or were they simply tired? The Irish are not a gifted offensive team, and they seem to relish ugly, grind-it-out games. G Eric Atkins is a solid 3-point threat, and G Jerian Grant can get hot from beyond the arc. But the Irish need F Jack Cooley to play well if they are going to win. Xavier G Tu Holloway is quick with the ball and needs to be a good penetrator in this game; at times, he becomes too enamored with his perimeter game. The Musketeers need senior C Kenny Frease to show up and for G Mark Lyons to knock down some 3-pointers.
MIDWEST REGION
No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 North Carolina State
Where: Nationwide Center, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 12:40 p.m.
TV: truTV
Announcers: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst
The spread: North Carolina State by 2.5
Records: San Diego State 26-7, North Carolina State 22-12
How they got here: San Diego State received an at-large bid out of the Mountain West. North Carolina State received an at-large bid from the ACC.
Record vs. NCAA field: San Diego State 6-6, North Carolina State 4-9
The buzz: NC State has some talented offensive players, with five guys averaging in double figures, but the Wolfpack’s defense frequently is lax. The Wolfpack have an advantage in the frontcourt and need Fs C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell to take advantage. SDSU is all about its deep backcourt, and NCSU could have problems with swingman Jamaal Franklin, the Mountain West player of the year. Despite its solid backcourt, SDSU has more turnovers than assists, and the Aztecs can’t afford to give the Wolfpack many baskets in transition.
No. 8 Creighton vs. No. 9 Alabama
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Time: 1:40 p.m.
TV: TBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst
The spread: Alabama by 1.5
Records: Alabama 21-11, Creighton 28-5
How they got here: Alabama received an at-large bid out of the SEC. Creighton won the Missouri Valley tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Alabama 4-6, Creighton 3-1
The buzz: Alabama can be quite ugly on offense (the Tide is Medusa-like from 3-point range), but the Tide generally plays lockdown defense. Creighton is an excellent offensive team (80.0 ppg, 50.9 FG pct.), but frequently is lax on defense. Creighton’s key guy is F Doug McDermott, who is incredibly efficient on offense (23.2 ppg, 61.0 FG pct., 49.5 3-pt FG pct., 79.9 FT pct.). What will the Tide do to slow him? Look for Alabama to get the ball to JaMychal Green, who should be effective against Creighton’s frontcourt. If Green is stymied, the Tide is in trouble; it shoots an unsightly 28.5 percent from 3-point range.
No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Belmont
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 3:10 p.m.
TV: truTV
Announcers: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst
The spread: Georgetown by 4
Records: Belmont 27-7, Georgetown 23-8
How they got here: Georgetown received an at-large bid out of the Big East. Belmont won the Atlantic Sun tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Belmont 0-2, Georgetown 8-6
The buzz: Belmont hasn’t played a team that made the NCAA field since its first two games of the season, but don’t sleep on the upperclassmen-dominated Bruins. They are a good 3-point shooting team (37.8 percent), though how many good looks they get against the defense-minded Hoyas is a big question. Belmont must get production from dual Cs Scott Saunders and Mick Hedgepeth, who combine to average 20.0 points and 10.8 rebounds. Georgetown enjoys a big size advantage, and the Hoyas need to make sure Henry Sims and Otto Porter get the ball often in the low post. Belmont does a good job forcing turnovers and wants a fast pace, while the Hoyas would prefer to keep this one in the 60s.
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Vermont
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Time: 4:10 p.m.
TV: TBS
Announcer: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst
The spread: North Carolina by 15.5
Records: North Carolina 29-5, Vermont 24-11
How they got here: North Carolina received an at-large bid out of the ACC. Vermont won the America East tourney, then beat Lamar 71-59 in a play-in game.
Record vs. NCAA field: North Carolina 12-5, Vermont 0-5
The buzz: Vermont isn’t that big and isn’t that athletic. UNC is big and athletic, and basically is playing a home game. Vermont has allowed more than 70 points in a game just four times this season; UNC averages 82.0 per game.
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 Ohio
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Time: 7:20 p.m.
TV: TNT
Announcers: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst
The spread: Michigan by 5.5
Records: Michigan 24-9, Ohio 27-7
How they got here: Michigan received an at-large bid out of the Big Ten. Ohio won the MAC tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Michigan 7-7, Ohio 2-1
The buzz: Ohio is athletic, but the Bobcats are inconsistent offensively and have more turnovers than assists. But they put their athleticism to good use on defense and force 17.7 turnovers per game, which leads to numerous baskets in transition. G D.J. Cooper is a jet with the ball, but he really has struggled with his shot (14.6 ppg, but 34.8 FG pct. and 31.3 3-pt FG pct.). Ohio isn’t that good on the boards, either. Michigan Gs Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are a dangerous duo, and swingman Zack Novak is a dangerous 3-point shooter. Michigan lacks size and its board work is mediocre, but if Michigan can avoid turnovers, it should be in good shape.
No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 10 Purdue
Where: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.
Time: 7:27 p.m.
TV: truTV
Announcers: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst
The spread: Purdue by 1.5
Records: Purdue 21-12, Saint Mary’s 27-5
How they got here: Saint Mary’s won the West Coast tourney. Wichita State received an at-large bid out of the Missouri Valley.
Record vs. NCAA field: Purdue 3-10, Saint Mary’s 4-3
The buzz: Purdue sometimes struggles to score, is mediocre from the free-throw line and, on average, is outrebounded. But the Boilermakers take excellent care of the ball and have a legit go-to guy in F Robbie Hummel. But if he struggles, the offense as a whole can bog down. Purdue isn’t the most athletic team, but the Boilermakers are more athletic than Saint Mary’s. F Rob Jones and G Matthew Dellavedova are a nice inside-outside duo for the Gaels. Keep an eye on the Gaels’ perimeter defense. Purdue is good from beyond the arc, and the Gaels sometimes are lax with their coverage of long-range shooters.
No. 5 Temple vs. No. 12 USF
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Time: 9:50 p.m.
TV: TNT
Announcers: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst
The spread: Temple by 2.5
Records: Temple 24-7, USF 21-13
How they got here: Temple received an at-large bid out of the Atlantic 10. USF received an at-large bid out of the Big East, then beat California 65-54 in a play-in game.
Record vs. NCAA field: Temple 5-2, USF 4-10
The buzz: USF ripped Cal in a play-in game; the final margin was not indicative of the beatdown the Bulls inflicted. Can USF play that well on offense again? USF was a team that struggled to score in the regular season and won with defense. Temple has been excellent from 3-point range (40.5 percent), but USF’s perimeter defense has been stingy this season. The Owls are extremely perimeter-oriented, and if C Michael Eric doesn’t provide something in the low post, Temple’s guards aren’t going to get many open looks. Temple’s defense hasn’t been as good as in past seasons, but the Owls still are solid on that end of the floor.
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Detroit
Where: CenturyLink Arena, Omaha, Neb.
Time: 9:57 p.m.
TV: truTV
Announcers: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst
The spread: Kansas by 14
Records: Detroit 22-13, Kansas 27-6
How they got here: Kansas received an at-large bid out of the Big 12. Detroit won the Horizon tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Detroit 0-2, Kansas 12-6
The buzz: Detroit seems to have become a somewhat trendy upset pick, but the Titans lost 13 times and finished tied for third in the Horizon League. The Titans have a legit mid-major star in G Ray McCallum Jr., the coach’s son. While he is a good all-around player, his 3-point shooting has been atrocious (25.0 percent) and the Titans need to have someone provide a presence from beyond the arc. While Detroit has some big bodies, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey should enjoy productive days. Kansas has had some bad first-round losses, but this would be, by far, the worst.
WEST REGION
No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia
Where: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.
Time: 2:10 p.m.
TV: TNT
Announcers: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst
The spread: Florida by 3.5
Records: Florida 23-10, Virginia 22-9 How they got here: Florida received an at-large bid out of the SEC. Virginia received an at-large bid out of the ACC.
Record vs. NCAA field: Florida 5-6, Virginia 2-6
The buzz: Florida underachieved relative to its talent level, but if a strong backcourt plays well, the Gators can hang with anybody and certainly can beat UVa. The key in this one is Virginia F Mike Scott. The Cavs have no other offensive threat of note, but can the Gators handle Scott? Florida is extremely thin up front and if Gators big man Patric Young gets in foul trouble, Scott will dominate. Florida leads the nation in made 3-pointers, but the Cavs’ perimeter defense has been solid this season.
No. 2 Missouri vs. No. 15 Norfolk State
Where: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.
Time: 4:40 p.m.
TV: TNT
Announcers: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst
The spread: Missouri by 21.5
Records: Missouri 30-4, Norfolk State 25-9
How they got here: Missouri won the Big 12 tourney. Norfolk State won the MEAC tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: Missouri 11-3, Norfolk State 1-2
The buzz: Norfolk State wins with defense. Alas, Mizzou is one of the best offensive teams in the nation. The one thing worth watching is whether Norfolk State C Kyle O’Quinn (15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg) can do anything in the low blocks; for instance, can he entice Mizzou big man Ricardo Ratliffe into foul trouble? Worth noting: Both of Norfolk’s losses to NCAA teams came to Marquette. In the first meeting, host Marquette won by 31. In the second, on a neutral court, it won by just two.
No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Saint Louis
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 6:50 p.m.
TV: TBS
Announcers: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst
The spread: Memphis by 3
Records: Memphis 26-8, Saint Louis 25-7
How they got here: Memphis won the C-USA tourney. Saint Louis received an at-large bid out of the Atlantic 10.
Record vs. NCAA field: Memphis 3-6, Saint Louis 4-3
The buzz: Memphis coach Josh Pastner has done a nice job this season, but his X’s and O’s matchup with SLU coach Rick Majerus is unfair. Majerus probably has gym shorts older than Pastner. What Pastner does have, though, are better players. Memphis can’t let SLU control the tempo, and needs to attack on defense and try to get some transition baskets. Memphis has been solid on offense of late, but is that a sign that Memphis’ youngsters have grown up or that Conference USA remains a middling league?
No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 16 Long Island
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 9:20 p.m.
TV: TBS
Announcers: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst
The spread: Michigan State by 20
Records: LIU 25-8, Michigan State 27-7
How they got here: Michigan State won the Big Ten tourney. Long Island won the Northeast tourney.
Record vs. NCAA field: LIU 1-2, Michigan State 12-5
The buzz: This is all about tempo. The faster the pace, the longer LIU can make things interesting. If this turns into a half-court affair, it will be ugly for the Blackbirds.

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