The second day of the round of 32 will complete the Sweet Sixteen picture in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Oregon, Syracuse and Oklahoma seem like the safest teams among the higher seeded ones on this day. Xavier, Maryland, Villanova and Texas A&M should be worried about an upset, just like Notre Dame.
#7 Iowa vs #2 Villanova: After some horrendous shooting by Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, Iowa know that it can’t rely on just offensive rebounds to get them through against a strong Wildcats team, trying to get into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2009. Daniel Ochefu is probably going to be the one in charge of making things difficult for Uthoff. Handling him and Adam Woodbury (who won the game for Iowa on Friday) and mostly keeping the Hawkeyes out of the paint should do the trick for ‘Nova, who might be also playing in something of home court advantage.
#14 Stephen F. Austin vs #6 Notre Dame: As much as the turnovers and wildness of their game against West Virginia can be attributed to the Stephen F. Austin being in the round of 32, Travis Walkup scoring 33 points might have even been a bigger reason. They have the defense that can slow down the Fighting Irish, who have been inconsistent all season long. But without Walkup (or someone else stepping up), this might come down to a shot or two at best for the Lumberjacks.
#10 VCU vs #2 Oklahoma: This is all about Oklahoma, or more accurately, the way the Rams can bother the Sooners. Oklahoma can outscore anyone quickly, so perimeter defense is the essential key for VCU, along with slowing down Buddy Hield, and forcing Ryan Spangler, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard to do some scoring instead. If that doesn’t work, it’s hard seeing the Rams keeping up with a team that is basically playing a home game.
#15 Middle Tennessee vs #10 Syracuse: Sometimes it’s less about analytics and numbers, and more about heart and the magic of March. But seriously, if Middle Tennessee can’t figure out how to open up that system zone the Orange love to play so much and improve their free throw shooting which has been woeful for most of the season, their impressive win against Michigan State is going to be forgotten.
#13 Hawaii vs #5 Maryland: Many feel this is an upset waiting to happen because how badly Maryland behave under pressure, even with a lead in their hands as it slowly melts away. If Stefan Jankovic has a good game in both scoring and moving the ball to open shooters, Hawaii might generate enough pressure to make the Terrapins sweat and lose their cool.
#11 Northern Iowa vs #3 Texas A&M: Another Texas team for the Panthers to try and upset. The method is simple: Shoot from the halfway line and hope for the best. But seriously, it’s going to be about four guards who try to attack the rim and hit open threes. Good interior defense from Tyler Davis is going to make it hard for North Iowa to implement their plan a second game in a row.
#10 Wisconsin vs #2 Xavier: A game of one team that wants to score and the other who wants to play it slow and safe. If this game remains in the region of 100-110 combined points, it’s good for the Badgers. If the pace goes up, it’s hard to see them keeping up with a much more talented and athletic Musketeers team.
#8 Saint Joseph’s vs #1 Oregon: While the Hawks have this fearless, aggressive attitude going for them, anything but an insane day from beyond the arc is going to result in Oregon advancing. They’re probably too big, long and athletic to get manhandles on the offensive glass, and Chris Boucher or Elgin Cook might be too much to handle for Saint Joseph’s.