As we enter the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament play, only two Big East teams remain. The UCONN Huskies and the unlikely Marquette Golden Eagles are the last two teams standing. The #3 UCONN Huskies will take on the #2 San Diego State Aztecs in Anaheim. The Aztecs have a clear home court advantage, but Las Vegas doesn’t see the game that way. Vegas has the game as a straight up pick’em and this has the build to be the best game tonight. The scrappy #11 Marquette Golden Eagles have upset #6 Xavier and #3 Syracuse en route to their Sweet 16 match-up against the #2 North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels had a tough second round game against the Washington Huskies. The Golden Eagles have relied on tenacious defense and have felt both Syracuse and Xavier to under 63 points each. Will the Big East make it the Elite 8?
This is probably the most evenly-matched Sweet 16 match-up. New Yorkers know about their hometown hero and potential Naismith Player of the Year, Kemba Walker. Walker scored 33 points en route to the Huskies eleven point win against the Bearcats in the second round. The Huskies are the nation’s hottest team, winning seven straight games which included a five-game Big East winning streak. The Huskies will face the highest stakes to date when they meet the 34-2 Aztecs in Anaheim. San Diego State coach Steve Fisher is a seasoned coach who will have his veteran squad ready to go. San Diego State is an older team than UCONN is and are playing with a home court advantage.
Pick: San Diego State
As the tournament progress, teams that have near ‘home court’ advantages have a huge advantage over their opposition. Add in the fact that America has been caught up Kemba Walker mania and I think the Huskies lose a really tight game.
#2 North Carolina Tarheels vs. #11 Marquette Golden Eagles
The Marquette Golden Eagles are one of the Sweet 16’s most surprising teams. After upsetting both Xavier and Syracuse, the Golden Eagles will head into Newark, NJ with a ton of confidence. The Golden Eagles ferocious guard play and tenacious defensive will give the Tar Heels problems. The Tar Heels enter this match-up as 4.5 point favorites. The trio of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson will look to take advantage of an undersized Golden Eagle squad.
Pick: North Carolina
I think this game will be extremely close. Marquette is a scrappy team, but I think this game comes down to coaching. There’s no denying that Marquette coach Buzz Williams will have his team ready to go, but Roy Williams is one the nation’s best. With no clear home court advantage for either side, I’m taking the team who has the best coach and best player on the floor.