The NCAA Tournament has been a big story as of late. My NCAA Bracket was broken on day one, like 95 percent of poles for ESPN and Yahoo! Sports. However, only a handful of perfect brackets remain, and those people may not keep their luck going for much longer. Day two was a day we had a lot of help for our NCAA Bracket, mainly because it was mostly a chalk day. While Day One was filled with tons of surprises, it was a least nice to our psyche that Day Two ended up going as expected, for the most part.
However, we could once again take a beating today on Day Three. March Madness lived up to its name on Day One, so you’d imagine that with the same cast, we could see yet another exciting day of games today. The NCAA Bracket for Day Three goes a bit like this.
UCLA vs UAB
Two teams who won by the skin of their teeth on Day One in UAB and UCLA could put on a noteworthy game. The only problem is that this is literally a toss up game. UAB rebounded well and played excellent defense against Iowa State. Yet they only won by one point. So you’d imagine that if they cannot find a go-to guy down the stretch, they won’t win this game. UCLA on the other hand got in here potentially on a technicality. So do we really expect them to win? Probably so. A 14 seed has never beaten an 11 seed in the third round (or second for those that hate the play-in round one crap). That said, if history is to remain intact, UAB will not beat UCLA.
Kentucky vs Cincinnati
I don’t think we need to go over this one, as the Wildcats have proven how elite they are this year. Will Kentucky lose to an up and coming 8 seed team? Probably not. Kentucky could very well run into some excellent teams in the next few rounds. However, this game shouldn’t be an issue for them at all. So expect Kentucky to win this one.
Arizona vs Ohio State
Really, this is possibly one of the toughest one of the day. Both are playing excellent basketball and it wouldn’t make sense to think this would not be a tough win for either team. However, Arizona is a Final Four worthy team, at least Elite Eight worthy. That said, will Ohio State take them down? I say no, go chalk.
Xavier vs Georgia State
Georgia State is considered by many to be the Cinderella of the ball. There is a hope that they can go on to beat a number of teams to a deep NCAA March Madness run. While many NCAA Brackets had Georgia State winning their first game, very few had them going by this third round contest. Xavier is playing excellent basketball and could very well be the kind of team that will give us a blowout. However, there is something to be said about the toughness and heart of Georgia State. State took down a great Baylor team, and Xavier may not be as talented as that team. So we very well could see another upset today.
Utah vs Georgetown
A number four versus a number five. These type of games are impossible for most. The main reason is because it can go either way really. Georgetown looks like the best pick. They can put up points very quickly, especially through three-pointers. Utah is not the greatest defense in the world, but the one thing they can do is score. The sad issue is that they didn’t show this on Thursday. That said, they will need to put up points today. I don’t think they can put up enough though, which is why Georgetown walks out the winner in my book. Most NCAA Brackets have them going in as well.
Villanova vs NC State
Nova has put on a show all year, which helped them get a number one seed. However, NC State is by no means a bad team sitting with a number eight seed, as they have beaten Duke and Louisville in the regular season. The only issue is, can they pull off the upset? It is unlikely. If you have an NCAA Bracket, chances are you picked Nova to go pretty far. It was probably pretty safe. They have the type of team that could not only go to the Final Four, but also the championship game. Nova not only looks dangerous, but they probably can pull off a blow out today.
North Carolina vs Arkansas
North Carolina has played well all year long, but so has Arkansas. Interestingly, Arkansas was the last team to beat Kentucky in the regular season. Sadly, they were not lucky enough to win against them this time around. That doesn’t make them a bad team, however. In fact, the Razorbacks are a very good team. Arkansas’ defense is one of the best in the nation, but North Carolina is great on offense. The key to this game will be to see both sides going at it. The issue is, while it could be low scoring, it comes down to the best team. North Carolina is the number four seed over Arkansas’ five. However, I say take five — defense does win championships.
Notre Dame vs Butler
This is the kind of game you’re going to want to pay attention to. Why? It is going to be the best game of the day if both play up to their potential. Notre Dame is considered by many to be the only team that Kentucky might see on their run that could take them. Meanwhile, Butler has some serious firepower to work with. The main issue is, Butler is not the greatest on offense. They can score for sure, but they aren’t special there. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is one of the best offensive teams in the nation. So Butler will have to defend well and get hot on the floor scoring to have a chance. If not, the Irish can get buckets quickly and they won’t stop most of the time once they start. If you have an NCAA Bracket, there is a high chance you have Notre Dame winning. Stay with that pick.
If you thought Day One put the “mad” in March Madness, then you should love what Day Three brings. We’re probably in line for some upsets and surprises. An NCAA Bracket surely isn’t safe today. However, chances are your bracket died on the first day with most others in the country anyway. So sit back and enjoy a day full of great games.
[IMG Credits: FoxSports.com, sltrib.com, oakhillhoops.com]