Games I Have Some Feel For
Florida (+1.5) vs. Marquette, 9:15 CST
When you look at the talent on the floor, there's really no comparison. At every position, except the point (Darius Johnson-Odom vs. Erving Walker), the Gators trot out substantially better players. However, that one mismatch in Florida's favor is a big one.
Generously listed at 5'8", Walker is effective when he plays within himself. However, he has a penchant for erroneously sensing that he should take over the game when it gets close despite sharing the floor with two potential lottery picks (Brad Beal and Patric Young). He is legitimately the 5th most talented option on the floor in the starting line-up. Yet Billy Donovan is content to allow Walker to fire up 30-foot Jimmer Fredette heat checks like it's a Harlem Globetrotters act.
If the game is close, bad things could happen. However, in college basketball, I will always go with talent, and Florida's is overwhelming. Jae Crowder has gotten his name shouted a few times by Dick Vitale, but his lack of handle will hurt him in this game. The only thing preventing a Florida win is a Billy Donovan-Erving Walker assault against reasonable basketball.
Cincinnati (+7.5) vs. Ohio State, 8:45 CST
If you didn't already know, you should know after having watched Ohio State play against legitimately large big men: Jared Sullinger is trash. Watching him attempt to post up people bigger than him was laughable. He stepped out early and knocked down a couple threes, and trashed up a miracle shot from the block near the end of the game, but during the 35 minutes in between, he was revealed for what he is -- a nailed to the floor 6'8" post who can't get his shot against bigger players. If Pangos didn't turn in the worst guard performance of the tournament on both ends of the floor, Gonzaga wins that game.
This round, Sullinger gets Yancy Gates. Gates is bigger and meaner and will, I dare say, "zip him up." The rest of the team will again have to pull this one out for the Buckeyes. As far as that goes, pardon me if I don't think Aaron Craft will have another career game against a rugged Cincy defense; Pangos couldn't hold half the dudes on the floor in my pick-up games. Ohio State could find a way with DeShaun Thomas proving a tough match for everyone of late, and Cincy's offense bordering on the terrible but the talent disparity isn't too immense.
Cincy will cover. Will they win? Unclear if they have the offensive firepower to challenge a solid defense.
Syracuse (-4.5) vs. Wisconsin, 7:15 CST
Wisconsin plays a brand of basketball that requires you either get ahead of them early or beat them at their own game to win. Their defense isn't particularly strong, but they slow the game down to make up for their lack of talent, giving their opponents fewer opportunities to put together quick runs. Syracuse has more talent, and the veteran backcourt should have the patience and discipline to beat Wisconsin in a fairly close game whose spread they will cover via late free throws.
Don't Take This One to the Bank
Michigan State (-5) vs. Louisville, 6:45 CST
To be honest, I don't really know what to make of this game. Louisville is playing as well as they have all year, but Michigan State is more talented. Both great coaches, so hard to imagine that will provide much of a difference. If Michigan State takes care of the ball, they will prevail. The line seems pretty accurate, so I'd stay away.