There’s not a projected dud in the bunch as the nation’s best conference tournament moves onto Day 2 at Madison Square Garden.
Second Round Games – Wednesday
All four favorites won their opening round games, though just two of the four were the higher seed. (In keeping with 2012 custom, I finished 2-2 in personal predictions and expect no better until we start anew in 2013. From 23-5 last year to sub .500 this year, but I digress…)
#9 Connecticut vs. #8 West Virginia – Noon: Kevin Jones lost to Marquette’s Jae Crowder for Big East Player of the Year Honors yesterday. He’s about to lose to Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond, and Shabazz Napier as the Connecticut train continues its collision course for one final Tournament matchup with arch-rival Syracuse Thursday night.
Point Spread/Score Prediction: Connecticut -2…UConn 78 West Virginia 69
#13 Pittsburgh vs. #5 Georgetown – 2 PM: The Panthers flexed their muscle vs. a green group from St. John’s in a Tuesday afternoon snoozer…the Hoyas offensive execution, help side defense, and team rebounding acumen will likely prove too much for the NIT-bound Panthers.
Point Spread/Score Prediction: Georgetown -5.5…Hoyas 70 Panthers 66
#10 Seton Hall vs. #7 Louisville– 7 PM: The Hall annihilated Providence last night, 79-47, but a win this evening vs. Rick Pitino’s Louisville squad is needed to cement an NCAA berth. Expect plenty of Selection Sunday angst, instead…
Point Spread/Score Prediction: Seton Hall -3.5 …Louisville 77 Seton Hall 75
#14 Villanova vs. #6 South Florida – 9 PM: At 12-6, talk of the Bulls missing the NCAA Tournament is ludicrous…but it will heat up if point guard Maalik Wayns can offer a repeat effort from Tuesday’s sterling 28-point, 6-rebound, 4-assist outing.
Point Spread/Score Prediction: Villanova -2.5 …Villanova 55 South Florida 54
Projected Quarterfinals Matchups
#9 UConn vs. #1 Syracuse (Noon) – WOW
#5 Georgetown vs. #4 Cincinnati (2 PM)
#7 Louisville vs. #2 Marquette (7 PM)
#14 Villanova vs. #3 Notre Dame (9 PM)
Each matchup above will be updated with predictions on Thursday morning as needed.