Breaking down Saturday's matchups

Mike Huguenin
Yahoo! Sports


No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 5 West Virginia

SITE: Tampa

TIME: 12:15 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst

THE SPREAD: Kentucky by 3.5

RECORDS: Kentucky 26-8, WVU 21-11

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Kentucky d. No. 13 Princeton 59-57; West Virginia d. No. 12 Clemson 84-76

ENROLLMENTS: Kentucky 27,000; WVU 28,898

KEY STAT: Kentucky hits 39.8 percent from 3-point range, while WVU shoots just 33.6 from behind the arc.

THE BUZZ: West Virginia upset Kentucky in a regional final last season, but neither team is close to as good as it was last season. WVU is physical and aggressive on defense, and you can expect a deeper Mountaineers squad to try to bump and grind with the depth-shy Wildcats. WVU has been excellent on the offensive boards, while Wildcats C Josh Harrellson leads the SEC in offensive rebounds. Keep an eye on Mountaineers G Casey Mitchell; he is WVU's only true 3-point threat.


No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 UCLA

SITE: Tampa

TIME: 2:45 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst

THE SPREAD: Florida by 5

RECORDS: Florida 27-7; UCLA 23-10

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Florida d. No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 79-51; UCLA d. No. 10 Michigan State 78-76

ENROLLMENTS: Florida 52,212; UCLA 37,500

KEY STAT: Florida outrebounds foes by 6.3 per game.

THE BUZZ: Both teams have four players averaging in double figures, but while Florida doesn't need one guy to produce to be successful, Tyler Honeycutt is that guy for the Bruins. UCLA is much more productive on offense when Honeycutt is scoring. Florida's starting backcourt is better than UCLA's, but the Bruins' guard depth could pose problems, especially if they can slow either Kenny Boynton or Erving Walker. UCLA can be sloppy with the ball, and the Gators are solid in transition. Florida owns an advantage in 3-point shooting, and UCLA's perimeter defense is suspect at times. Florida F Chandler Parsons is a solid all-around player, and when he is hitting his 3-pointers, the Gators can be an explosive offensive team.

No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 8 Butler

SITE: Washington, D.C.

TIME: 7:10 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst

THE SPREAD: Pitt by 7.5

RECORDS: Pitt 28-5; Butler 24-9

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Pitt d. No. 16 UNC Asheville 74-51; Butler d. No. 9 ODU 60-58

ENROLLMENTS: Pitt 28,328; Butler 4,200

KEY STAT: Pitt averages 14.5 offensive rebounds per game, but Butler only gives up 9.1 offensive boards per game.

THE BUZZ: Butler, of course, lost in the national final last season, and Pitt, of course, never has been to the Final Four under Jamie Dixon. Both teams play solid defense, hit the boards and are willing to scratch and claw - which means this isn't likely to be aesthetically pleasing. Butler will look to limit Pitt G Ashton Gibbs, who is the Panthers' only true perimeter threat. On the other side, Pitt needs to try to put the clamps on Butler G Shelvin Mack, who can hit the 3-pointer and get to the rim. Despite the perception that Pitt prefers a slow pace, the Panthers average 74.6 points, and three of their five losses came when they were held below 60 points. Indeed, Pitt was just 1-3 when held below 60.

No. 3 BYU vs. No. 11 Gonzaga

SITE: Denver

TIME: 7:45 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

THE SPREAD: Gonzaga by 1

RECORDS: BYU 31-4, Gonzaga 25-9

HOW THEY GOT HERE: BYU d. No. 14 Wofford 74-66; Gonzaga d. No. 6 St. John's 86-71

ENROLLMENTS: BYU 32,955; Gonzaga 7,682

KEY STAT: BYU averages 81.4 points per game, and Gonzaga averages 77.0

THE BUZZ: Both want a fast pace, though Gonzaga might not mind playing more in the halfcourt in this one because of BYU's lack of size up front. With F Brandon Davies suspended, BYU is all about its backcourt. Gs Jimmer Fredette (28.6 ppg) and Jackson Emery (12.5) are the only Cougars averaging in double figures. Fredette has to produce if BYU is to win. Because of BYU's lack of size, Gonzaga could get big games from C Robert Sacre and F Elias Harris. BYU hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since 1981; this is the Cougars' 16th appearance since that season.

No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Kansas State

SITE: Tucson, Ariz.

TIME: 8:40 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner and Reggie Miller analysts

THE SPREAD: Wisconsin by 2.5

RECORDS: Wisconsin 24-8, Kansas State 23-10

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Wisconsin d. No. 13 Belmont 72-58; Kansas State d. No. 12 Utah State 73-68

ENROLLMENTS: Wisconsin 42,099; Kansas State 23,520

KEY STAT: Wisconsin allows just 58.3 points per game, third-fewest in the nation. In addition, the Badgers lead the nation in free-throw percentage (82.3) while the Wildcats are 285th (65.4).

THE BUZZ: This features a big-time matchup at point guard with Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor going against K-State's Jacob Pullen. If Pullen is slowed, K-State's offense is going to suffer. Taylor gets a lot of help from F Jon Leuer, who can stick the 3-pointer and is tough in the paint. Neither team is averse to a little pushing and shoving, so expect an extremely physical game. Free-throw shooting could be huge. K-State commits 21.9 fouls per game, which is ninth-most in the nation. Sending Wisconsin to the foul line is dangerous because the Badgers lead the nation in free-throw percentage. K-State, on the other hand, has some bricklayers from the line.


No. 12 Richmond vs. No. 13 Morehead State

SITE: Denver

TIME: 5:15 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

THE SPREAD: Richmond by 4

RECORDS: Richmond 28-7; Morehead State 25-9

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Richmond d. No. 5 Vanderbilt 69-66; Morehead State d. No. 4 Louisville 62-61

ENROLLMENTS: Richmond 2,750; Morehead State 9,046.

KEY STAT: Morehead State outrebounds opponents by 9.4 per game; Richmond gets outrebounded by 1.9 per game.

THE BUZZ: Both pulled first-round upsets, but Morehead's was vastly more surprising. Richmond coach Chris Mooney has to be worried about how his big guys will handle Morehead State F/C Kenneth Faried, the nation's leading rebounder. Richmond is not a good rebounding team and lacks bulk up front; Faried should dominate in the paint. Conversely, Morehead has to worry about slowing Richmond G Kevin Anderson, a solid scorer with good range. Richmond shoots 40.4 percent from beyond the arc, and the Spiders' offense is predicated on hitting 3-pointers. One potential bad sign for Morehead: The Eagles have allowed foes to hit 36.7 percent from 3-point range.


No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 7 Temple

SITE: Tucson, Ariz.

TIME: 6:10 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner and Reggie Miller analysts

THE SPREAD: San Diego State by 5.5

RECORDS: San Diego State 33-2, Temple 26-7

HOW THEY GOT HERE: San Diego State d. No. 15 Northern Colorado 68-50; Temple d. No. 10 Penn State 66-64

ENROLLMENTS: San Diego State 32,396; Temple 37,000

KEY STAT: San Diego State's opponents have shot just 39.4 percent from the field; Temple's foes hit only 41.3 percent.

THE BUZZ: San Diego State has one of the nation's best frontcourts. They are big, physical and athletic. That poses trouble for Temple, which really has only one inside presence in double-double threat Lavoy Allen. Allen must avoid fouls and stay on the floor. Temple also must hit its 3-pointers. Look for Owls coach Fran Dunphy to try to entice the Aztecs to shoot from outside; the Aztecs are much better when they focus on scoring in the paint. San Diego State got its first-ever NCAA tournament victory in the first round.

No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 6 Cincinnati

SITE: Washington, D.C.

TIME: 9:40 p.m.


ANNOUNCERS: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst

THE SPREAD: Connecticut by 3

RECORDS: Connecticut 27-9, Cincinnati 26-8

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Connecticut d. No. 14 Bucknell 81-52; Cincinnati d. No. 11 Missouri 78-63

ENROLLMENTS: Connecticut 28,383; Cincinnati 39,667

KEY STAT: UConn shoots 75.6 percent from the line, while Cincinnati hits just 66.8 percent.

THE BUZZ: An all-Big East matchup; UConn won the lone regular-season meeting by eight at Cincinnati. UConn had four guys in double figures, with Jeremy Lamb leading the way with 17 points and Kemba Walker adding 16. Cincinnati is known for its defense and holds foes to 59.3 points per game. But UConn actually has better field-goal percentage defense numbers (39.9 to 41.0). And, interestingly, Cincy actually shoots better from the field (43.8 percent to 43.5) and from 3-point range (33.9 percent to 33.3) than UConn. Still, UConn has Walker, who has been on fire of late. The Bearcats don't have a go-to guy.

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