1. North Carolina over 16. Eastern Kentucky
If the Tar Heels have been playing a bit below their lofty standards the past month, here's a game to get things right. And that includes that ghastly mask that Hannibal Hansbrough is wearing.
9. Michigan State over 8. Marquette
Tom Izzo, who's building a sizable coaching tree, has never coached against ex-assistant Tom Crean. Until now. The tournament selection committee, by accident or not, took no chances in setting up this first-rounder.
12. Arkansas over 5. USC
Stan Heath needed to reach the NCAA tournament to save his job. A first-round victory – entirely possible, against the hot-and-cold-running Trojans – should get him an extension.
4. Texas over 13. New Mexico State
Do you suppose that New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus sees a bit of himself in Texas' freshman phenom Kevin Durant? Now how would Reggie go about shutting himself down?
6. Vanderbilt over 11. George Washington
GW players might remember Vandy star Derrick Byars from his days at Virginia, but this is a different guy. Byars, the SEC coaches' MVP, is a big scorer now and might be the field's best-passing big man.
3. Washington State over 14. Oral Roberts
Tempting. Very tempting. If you're looking for a 14 over a 3, this is a candidate. This tournament business is new to the Cougars and their first-year coach, Tony Bennett, but not to ORU, Scott Sutton or Caleb Green.
7. Boston College over 10. Texas Tech
BC's MVP, Jared Dudley, has played all but two minutes of his team's past six games. He'll be on fresh legs compared to Tech star Jarrius Jackson, who has played all but seven minutes of the Raiders' last 15.
2. Georgetown over 15. Belmont
The Hoyas are coming into the NCAA tournament with a full head of steam, with victories over Notre Dame and Pitt while winning the Big East tournament.
1. North Carolina over 9. Michigan State
The Spartans play the big positions by committee, and they'll need every one of them to keep up with Hansbrough and freshman Brandan Wright.
4. Texas over 12. Arkansas
Both teams are led by freshmen – Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverly. No offense to Beverly, but this is a no-brainer.
3. Washington State over 6. Vanderbilt
If Wazzu, such a vulnerable No. 3 seed, were in any other pod but this one, it would be returning to the Palouse to stay, not preparing for a Sweet 16.
2. Georgetown over 7. Boston College
BC's Dudley and Georgetown's Jeff Green are a lot a like. They're both their conference MVPs, savvy and great passers. Now what do the Eagles do about 7-2 Roy Hibbert?
1. North Carolina over 4. Texas
This likely will be the college game's last look at Durant, though they'll get at least another look, and possibly three, of Wright, the Tar Heels' outstanding freshman.
2. Georgetown over 3. Washington State
The Hoyas have their backcuts and the Princeton offense. The Cougars will pass and cut, pass and cut. The Hoyas will just be better at taking advantage of every second of every 35-second clock.
1. North Carolina over 2. Georgetown
Dean Smith will be on one side, John Thompson the other. They'll be in the stands, though, as Roy Williams and John Thompson III revive memories of an NCAA title game played 25 seasons ago.
- North Carolina
- Tar Heels
- Michigan State
- Kevin Durant