Sunday, March 15, 2009
(4) Washington vs. (13) Mississippi State (in Portland) -- This is a ridiculous first-round draw for the Huskies. Didn't Mississippi State , led by Jarvis Varnado (right) just win the SEC Tournament, and the Bulldogs are a 13 seed while Siena is a nine seed? Washington gets to play in Portland but will not have an easy time advancing to the second round.
(6) UCLA vs. (11) Virginia Commonwealth (in Philadelphia) -- UCLA got no favors from the committee, going to Philly to play a VCU team that is capable of beating many major conference
teams. This will be an NBA showcase for UCLA's Darren Collison and VCU's Eric Maynor (right), both of whom could be taken in the first 20 picks. And if UCLA wins, it gets Villanova in Philadelphia.
(6) Arizona State vs. (11) Temple (in Miami) -- Not a bad game for the Sun Devils, who will give Temple problems with their versatility. Dionte Christmas (right) is one of the better players no one outside of the East has ever heard of, and his matchup with James Harden will be fun to watch.
(7) California vs. (10) Maryland (in Kansas City) -- The Bears were lucky to get a seventh seed given they dropped their last two games and three of their past four. They get a enigmatic Maryland squad that could make a Sweet 16 run or lose by 10 points in the first round. Regardless, it's a difficult game for a Cal team that has little in the paint to bang with the Terps. Greivis Vasquez (right) leads Maryland in points, rebounds and assists.
(7) Boston College vs. (10) USC (in Minneapolis)-- The Trojans are probably the No. 1 team a higher seed does not want to play because they are a talented club that is just finding it's groove. USC has to find somebody to stop Tyrese Rice (right) and the Eagles are a rugged team that's proven.
(5) Utah vs. (12) Arizona (in Miami) -- It's amazing the Wildcats even got into the tournament but then they got a pretty darn favorable game with the Utes, who lost at home to Cal in December. Utah features skilled big man Luke Nevill (right). The Wildcats looked lethargic in their first-round Pac-10 Tournament matchup against Arizona State, but if Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger play to their potential -- consistently -- they could be dangerous. But we have been saying that all season.