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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Okay, so when the dust finally settled following Friday night's games, NCAA Tournament Betting Favorites held a slim 18-17 ATS (against the spread) advantage with one pick 'em game tossed into the mix and did you realize that 10 of the lower-seeded teams had "survived-and-advanced" as the Round of 32 began play on Saturday with a #2 (Georgetown), a #3 (New Mexico) and a #4 seed (Kansas State) all kayoed and there was only one #5 seed still standing (see VCU).

And how 'bout the fact that five of the top eight seeds in the West already were gonesville even before we hit the Saturday menu - go ahead and shred those bracket sheets, folks! Now, here's the roll call for Sunday's action in the NCAA Tourney ...


At Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
#2 DUKE (28-5) vs. #7 CREIGHTON (28-7) - Let's just say the Dookies won't be cutting down any nets this year if they can't learn to display a "killer instinct" as Friday's 73-61 non-cover win against gritty-but-sloppy Albany proved this edition of Mike Krzyzewski's squad is still a tad immature. No doubt clever G Seth Curry (26 points against Albany) was a life-saver in that clash with some well-timed hoops but we want to know how effective Mason Plumlee will be in the paint against Creighton's veteran F/C Gregory Echenique whose 13 points and 7 rebounds in just 28 minutes was an overlooked key factor in Friday's 67-63 win/cover against Cincinnati. If Creighton can "steal" this one it might be at the foul line where the Jays drained 22-of-25 against Cincy with star-of-stars Doug McDermott perfect on his 11 FTs - up for the challenge of playing this National Player of the Year candidate, Blue Devils?


At UD Arena - Dayton, OH
#2 OHIO STATE (27-7) vs. #10 IOWA STATE (23-11) - Now what were the odds that the O-State Buckeyes would exit the Round II games having scored more points in a single game than anyone else? Thad Matta's crew put pedal to the floor and "out-Iona-ed" Iona in a 95-70 beatdown on Friday - yes, a season-high in points for the Big 10 guys - and now star F Deshaun Thomas (24 points against the Gaels) must impose his will here on an Iowa State side that's not shy about gunning it up. Hey, first team to 85 points win here?

At Sprint Center - Kansas City, MO
#12 OLE MISS (27-8) vs. #13 LA SALLE (23-9) - So here was the only true "bracket-buster" as these double-digit seeds not only stunned #5 Wisconsin and #4 Kansas State, respectively, but they did it with major gusto. The Ole Miss Rebels - who survived a rotten shooting start from yappy G Marshall Henderson to best the Badgers - now face the "First Four" team that's gobbled up a pair of "Big Dance" wins and may not be ready to get off the ride just yet. LaSalle shot 58 percent en route to a startling 44-26 halftime lead against K-State but almost spit the bit and now the Explorers must keep Henderson "subdued" here and LaSalle G Ramon Galloway needs to improve on his 6-of-15 FG line ... wouldn't you say?


At Sprint Center - Kansas City, MO
#1 KANSAS (30-5) vs. #8 NORTH CAROLINA (25-10) - Sorry, we won't bore you with more yarns about Carolina coach Roy Williams and his days gone by with Kansas but instead know this: The Tar Heels must be wise enough not to challenge Jathawks' shot-blocking star Jeff Withey here as that beanstalk swatted away seven shots in Friday night's rugged 64-57 non-cover win against Western Kentucky and perhaps you noticed that when Withey blocks shots it dramatically effects the momentum of the game. So, the Heels must fire away from the perimeter - yes, we were impressed with that 11-of-21 trifecta shooting in the uneven and often unsettling 78-71 win against Villanova the other night - and the ACC guys better board it better or Kansas' fresh star Ben McLemore will dart like a speeding bullet to the other end of the court ... just watch!

At Frank Erwin Center - Austin, TX
#3 FLORIDA (27-7) vs. #11 MINNESOTA (21-12) - One thing about Billy Donovan's here-and-now Gators: They can pretty much beat you at any speed as a fast pace in the first half the other night against Northwestern State turned into a veritable waltz in the second half and yet the SEC guys were equally effective en route to that 79-47 kick-butts-and-take-names-later win. Both guards Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton were strapped down in the first half with foul woes and so F Erik Murphy (18 points and 8 rebs) stepped it up but now it's all-hands-on-deck against a Minny bunch that shot 51 percent from the floor against a Ben Howland-coached UCLA team. Tell us right now if Minny's star G Austin Hollins is gonna stuff the stat sheet again (see 28 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists) and we'll tell you whether Tubby Smith's guys should make Sweet 16 reservations in Arlington!

At Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
#7 SAN DIEGO STATE (23-10) vs. #15 FLORIDA GULF COAST (25-10) - Has the partying and picture-taking stopped yet for the FGCU Eagles? The stunning 78-68 win against 13 ½-point fav Georgetown was no fluke as the Atlantic Sun Conference Tourney champs held Hoyas mega-star Otto Porter to just 5-of-17 shooting and that wild 21-2 second-run run showed this club can run/jump and put a hurting on an opponent faster than you can say Cinderella! The goal now is to get into the Sweet 16 and our Jim Sez advice to G Sherwood Brown (24 points vs. G-town) and friends is to make this a full-court tilt because San Diego State can simply suffocate you in a half-court game as evidenced by that 22-point second-half yield in the 70-55 win against Oklahoma. Hey, SDSU's Jamaal Franklin (21 points against the Sooners) - listen to game analyst Reggie Miller and look for your shot more!



At UD Arena - Dayton, OH
#1 INDIANA (28-6) vs. #9 TEMPLE (24-9) - The Hoosiers would like to speed up the pace of this game from the get-go and get into the 80s again (see 83-62 win against James Madison in Round II play) but Tom Crean's crew doesn't want to allow Temple star Khalif Wyatt (31 points in the mild upset win against N.C. State) a free-and-clear path to the hoop and so look for IU to run Wyatt into a ton of screens on "D" and try to tire him out. The game plan for the Owls is simple: Sit tight on defense and don't let G Yogi Ferrell (16 points with 6 assists against JMU) get his groove on here.

At Frank Erwin Center - Austin, TX
#2 MIAMI (28-6) vs. #7 ILLINOIS (23-12) - Now, the Hurricanes showed everyone how a #1 or #2 seed should play in their NCAA Tournament opener. The rollicking 78-49 win against two-TD underdog Pacific proved to be a veritable scrimmage and how about PG Shane Larkin doling out nine assists in the romp? No question that underrated Illini head coach John Groce will seek to "cut off the head" of this Miami attack and so Larkin could be facing full-court heat from a slew of fresh bodies but Illinois must prove it has the size up front to keep Miami at bay and here's where soft-handed big man Reggie Johnson could have a feast.

NOTE: Catch our early-bird look at the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 in the jam-packed Monday edition of Jim Sez!

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