Thursday’s NCAA tournament matchups


East Regional

Kentucky (32-2) vs. East Tennessee State (20-14): Kentucky hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game in three years, but that streak is about to end. East Tennessee is athletic and defense-minded but doesn’t have the size to hang with these ‘Cats.

Marquette (22-11) vs. Washington (24-9): Washington wants a fast pace; the Huskies were held to fewer than 70 points eight times and lost five of those games. Marquette wouldn’t mind a game in the high 60s.

Texas (24-9) vs. Wake Forest (19-10): Texas was 17-0 and ranked No. 1 before crumbling. Wake Forest ended the season by losing five of six.

New Mexico (24-9) vs. Montana (22-9): Montana was a surprise Big Sky tourney winner, and everyone knows G Anthony Johnson is the reason. Expect the Lobos to do everything they can to contain him.

South Regional

Notre Dame (23-11) vs. Old Dominion (26-8): Notre Dame caught fire late after an injury to F Luke Harangody forced it to become more deliberate. The Irish stayed that way even after Harangody returned.

Villanova (24-7) vs. Robert Morris (23-11): Villanova lost five of seven down the stretch, but the Wildcats shouldn’t lose this one. Robert Morris plays good defense and should hang around for at least a half.

Baylor (25-7) vs. Sam Houston State (25-7): Both teams want a fast pace but Baylor is better defensively because of 6-foot-10 F Ekpe Udoh. In its seven losses, Sam Houston State gave up 90.1 points per game — almost 27 more than it allowed in its wins.

Richmond (26-8) vs. No. 10 St. Mary’s (26-5): St. Mary’s plays solid defense, but it hasn’t seen a guard duo like the Spiders’ Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez.

Midwest Regional

Nevada Las Vegas (25-8) vs. Northern Iowa (28-4): Northern Iowa allowed more than 68 points just twice this season and held 11 opponents to 50 or fewer. The Panthers have good size, which has to worry Lon Kruger, whose UNLV team is outrebounded by almost one per game.

Georgetown (23-10) vs. Ohio U. (21-14): Ohio plays good defense but has a tough time maintaining offensive consistency. Georgetown C Greg Monroe should feast on the OU frontcourt.

Kansas (32-2) vs. Lehigh (22-10): The last time Kansas played a Patriot League team in the NCAA tourney, it lost to 14th-seeded Bucknell in 2005. No danger of that this time.

Tennessee (25-8) vs. San Diego State (25-8): Both teams win with defense. Rebounding could tip the scales San Diego State’s way.

West Regional

Brigham Young (29-5) vs. Florida (21-12): BYU is deadly from beyond the arc (41.9%) and the line (a nation’s-leading 78.7%).

Vanderbilt (24-8) vs. Murray State (30-4): Murray State isn’t big, but the Racers are physical and should give Vandy’s big guys some problems. Murray also shoots 38.8% from beyond the three-point arc.

Kansas State (26-7) vs. North Texas (24-8): Kansas State always plays good defense. That’s bad news for a North Texas team that is sloppy.

Butler (28-4) vs. Texas El Paso (26-6): UTEP is much better when it can force an up-tempo game, and Butler likes to keep it slow. Butler has to be worried about UTEP’s size.

MCT News Service