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Quick Takes: Five tasty weekend matchups

March 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Between Thursday and Friday, three eleven seeds won.  We also had the usual 12 over 5-seed.  And yet, the first two days of the 2017 NCAA tournament feel rather chalky.  Maybe that’s because the twelve seed, Middle Tennessee State, was actually favored to win its matchup with Minnesota.  Also, were we surprised to see Xavier beat Maryland? Or Rhode Island trip up a less-than-healthy Creighton?  If there was a surprise, it’s USC.  The Trojans rallied from double-digit deficits twice, beating Providence in the First Four, and then SMU on Friday.

While the results might leave us a little hungry, the Round of 32 looks might tasty. My Quick Takes on the weekend’s top five matchups …

Gonzaga vs. Northwestern – We could rename this game: Ultimate Underdog vs. New Kids on the Block.  While Gonzaga is respected for its consistent excellence, the Bulldogs have never reached a Final Four and remain many people’s pick as first No. 1 seed to lose.  Thus, the pressure is squarely on the Zags, who struggled to score against South Dakota State (shooting 39 percent overall and 27 percent from 3).  The good news: Gonzaga no longer relies on its offense to carry the day.  Flipping the page, Northwestern might be the feel good story of the year. They survived a late rally by Vanderbilt to win their first-ever NCAA tournament game in their first-ever appearance. And who doesn’t enjoy those sidelines shots of Doug Collins and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, right? Read more…

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