Midwest Region first round games
At Milwaukee: No.15 UC Santa Barbara (20-9) vs. No.2 Ohio State (27-7) – Evan Turner has been fabulous for the Buckeyes. From his game-winning three against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament to his 31-point, 11-rebound effort in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten tourney championship win over Minnesota, he’s been on fire. UC Santa Barbara has a nice player in Orlando Johnson, but he won’t be a match for Turner or William Buford or Jon Diebler or David Lighty.
At Spokane: No.13 Houston (19-15) vs. No.4 Maryland (23-8) – Houston is probably the biggest enigma of this tournament. But Aubrey Coleman (25.4) is a big time scorer. And Kelvin Lewis (15.3) is no slouch. If those two are on, Maryland will have its hands full. Speaking of the Terps, they’ve won 13 of their last 16 games. They also have four double-digit scorers. This one should be exciting, especially if neither team is paying attention on defense.
South Region first round games
At Jacksonville: No.9 Louisville (20-12) vs. No.8 California (23-10) – Rick Pitino’s boys were a little shaky down the stretch. A good game followed by a bad game, followed by a good game, etc… Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa are good, but inconsistent. You just don’t know which Louisville will show up. California, on the other hand, is out to prove the Pac-10 is a good conference. The Bears have won six of their last seven. And their coach Mike Montgomery is a veteran of the tournament, having led Stanford to the Final Four. Look for the Bears backcourt of Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher to give Louisville the business.