Now that the first round/play-in games are completed, March Madness officially begins today as people are making last-minute changes and updating their brackets up until the deadline at noon (ET) today. After breaking down the West region, here are the predictions for the first half of the round of 64.
The Iowa State Cyclones play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Friday night in Dayton, Ohio. Tip-off is approximately at 8:45 PM CT.
Central times listed. Clones Confidential is 3-1 in predictions so far.
(9)Wichita State vs (8)Pittsburgh – 12:40 PM
This is quite an even matchup that can go either way depending if the Shockers can make their 3-point shots or if the Panthers can force turnovers. Considering Pittsburgh has played better down the stretch winning four of their last five and almost knocking off Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, they should be able to grab the win.
Panthers 68, Shockers 61
(16)Southern vs (1)Gonzaga – 3:10 PM
Even in a wide-open season like this, there still doesn’t seem to be any chance that a 16-seed will knock off a top dog. This one should be over by halftime.
Bulldogs 94, Jaguars 51
(11)Belmont vs (6)Arizona – 6:20 PM
How much has the Pac-12 really improved from a season ago? The key for Arizona will be getting the offensive boards, but Belmont has only lost twice in this calendar year and can overcome a better defense with their shooting. I think both teams are wrongly seeded, so it makes sense that I might as well pick the upset.
Bruins 84, Wildcats 79
(14)Harvard vs (3)New Mexico – 8:50 PM
The biggest key in this game is rebounding, and UNM does it a whole lot better than the best Ivy League team. Ball control hasn’t been Harvard’s strength either, averaging giving it up once every five possessions. Neither of that bodes well against a team that’s dreaming big things
Lobos 68, Crimson 52
- (3)Michigan State over (14)Valparaiso
- (11)Bucknell over (6)Butler
- (4)St. Louis over (13)New Mexico State
- (6)Memphis over (11)St. Mary’s (CA)
- (14)Davidson over (3)Marquette
- (5)Oklahoma State over (12)Oregon
- (1)Louisville over (16)North Carolina A&T
- (4)Michigan over (13)South Dakota State
- (5)UNLV over (12)California
- (8)Colorado State over (9)Missouri
- (5)VCU over (12)Akron
- (4)Syracuse over (13)Montana