Everything you need to know about Saturday's second-round games

Friday, 16 March 2018 18:11 Written by  Read 12 times
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Once again, the NCAA tournament delivered major upsets Friday. Will the round of 32 bring more? Below is a preview of Saturday's action:

All times ET

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 9 Alabama 12:10 p.m., Pittsburgh, East Region Player to watch: Alabama freshman guard Collin Sexton had a scintillating NCAA tournament debut with 25 points Thursday. Now, he goes up against the nation's second-ranked team.

What will keep Villanova from moving on: Sexton. If he goes nuclear, the Crimson Tide could have a shot.

What will keep Alabama from moving on:Jalen Brunson. And Mikal Bridges. And, well, you get the picture. The Wildcats have so much pop offensively. It will be difficult for Alabama's one star to overcome that.

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No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Rhode Island 2:40 p.m., Pittsburgh, Midwest Region Player to watch:Marvin Bagley III was completely dominant in Duke's opener, scoring 22 points to go along with seven rebounds. Bagley alone had 16 points in the paint to Iona's 14 paint points as a team. Bagley's draft stock continues to rise.

What will keep Duke from moving on: Rhode Island showed in the win over Oklahoma that it can guard, especially on the perimeter. The Rams also ranked eighth nationally in turnovers forced. If they can turn over Duke, which had 18 turnovers in the ACC tournament loss to North Carolina, then the Rams could put Mike Krzyzewski's club on its heels.

What will keep Rhode Island from moving on: Duke's offensive firepower. The Blue Devils are 16-0 when they score more than 85 points, and they have so many talented offensive weapons.

No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Buffalo 5:15 p.m., Boise, Idaho, South Region Player to watch: Buffalo guard Wes Clark was just awesome in the Day 1 upset of Arizona. He scored 25 points and made seven assists, repeatedly beating the Wildcats to the paint before either finishing near the rim or kicking out to a teammate for an open 3. Kentucky's primary focus defensively figures to be denying him dribble penetration.

What will keep Kentucky from moving on: Buffalo's 3-point shooting. The Bulls connected on 15 of 30 shots from 3 against Arizona. They also had four different players -- Clark, Jeremy Harris, CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins -- drain at least three shots from 3. If they stay hot, Kentucky will be in trouble.

What will keep Buffalo from moving on: Kentucky dominating inside. In their tournament opener, the Wildcats outscored Davidson 36-20 in the paint and went to the free throw line 32 times. Buffalo did a terrific job containing Deandre Ayton with double-teams inside. The Bulls will need a similar effort to make the Sweet 16.

No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago 6:10 p.m., Dallas, South Region Player to watch: Why not Donte Ingram, who has the biggest shot so far this tournament? The senior guard from Chicago is shooting 40 percent from 3. And he proved he can knock it down when it matters most.

What will keep Tennessee from moving on: Loyola spacing out the Tennessee defense and hitting 3s. The Vols are difficult to score against, ranking fourth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. But they can't get spread out and surrender open 3s to an opponent collectively capable of knocking them down.

What will keep Loyola-Chicago from moving on: Tennessee controlling the glass with its size. The Ramblers survived Miami, despite getting outrebounded by six. The Vols, however, were the second-best statistical rebounding team in the SEC, and cleaned up the glass against Wright State, 44 rebounds to 32. The Ramblers have to crash the glass.

Udoka Azubuike's return from injury will make him a big factor against Seton Hall. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Seton Hall 7:10 p.m., Wichita, Kan., Midwest Region Player to watch: Kansas center Udoka Azubuike practiced Friday and is expected to play 15-20 minutes against Rhode Island. He played only three minutes in the opener. The Jayhawks are a different team with Azubuike manning the inside.

What will keep Kansas from moving on: Second-chance points. Seton Hall led the Big East with 12.7 second-chance points a game, and Thursday, the Pirates scored 13 points off rebounds against NC State. Azubuike, however, obviously could help negate any Seton Hall rebounding edge.

What will keep Seton Hall from moving on: Kansas point guard Devonte' Graham taking over. Whether scoring or assisting, Graham had a hand in 58 percent of Kansas' offense Thursday, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He can control a game as prodigiously as any player in the tournament.

No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Ohio State 7:45 p.m., Boise, Idaho, West Region Player to watch:Keita Bates-Diop, who was dominant with 24 points and 12 rebounds in Ohio State's tournament opener. His matchup against Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams will be a tasty one.

What will keep Gonzaga from moving on: Overconfidence. After nearly going down Thursday, the Zags shouldn't feel overconfident. But they also obliterated Ohio State 86-59 earlier in the season. Coach Mark Few will have to hammer home to his team that these are not the same Buckeyes.

What will keep Ohio State from moving on: If Bates-Diop doesn't get help on the offensive end. Against South Dakota State, C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams chipped in with more than 20 points apiece. That kind of balance will be critical against Gonzaga, which has multiple go-to scorers.

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No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 6 Florida 8:40 p.m., Dallas, East Region Player to watch: All-Big 12 guard Keenan Evans scored 19 of his 23 points after halftime Thursday to lead Texas Tech to a comeback win over Stephen F. Austin. Evans missed time late in the season with a foot injury. But he looked like himself again in the second half.

What will keep Texas Tech from moving on: A lack of offense. Other than a pair of spectacular dunks, the Red Raiders were rather anemic offensively for most of the game, before closing the final five minutes with a 15-3 run. Against Florida, Texas Tech can't solely rely on its defense.

What will keep Florida from moving on:Chris Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen not making shots. In last year's NCAA tournament opener against Wisconsin, Chiozza hit the game-winning 3 at the buzzer, while Allen poured in 35 points. Thursday, the two combined to go just 5-of-17 from the field. Now, they face one of the top defenses in the country in Texas Tech.

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Houston 9:40 p.m., Wichita, Kan., West Region Player to watch: After one round, Rob Gray is the MVP of the tournament. He was unreal against San Diego State, pouring in 39 points, including the game-winning layup.

What will keep Michigan from moving on: Other than Gray, another slow start. Michigan trailed Montana 9-0 before dominating the rest of the way. The Wolverines could get away with that against Montana. They likely won't be able to against Gray and the Cougars.

What will keep Houston from moving on:Moritz Wagner waking up. The big German had just five points on six shots against Montana. But he can take over a game, as Michigan State found out in January. And he can match Gray, shot for shot.


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