PJ's Predictions: Round of 32, South & Midwest Regions
The second round, the South and Midwest Regions, promises excitement and upsets. Virginia had some deja vu in the first round, remembering what had happened the last year and changing the outcome. The excitement will continue as fans will be filled with the suspense of the games of the round of thirty-two.
Starting with the first matchup is Kentucky and Wofford. Wofford is not a favorite but they are very talented and, much like Virginia Tech, can shoot. PJ Washington’s injury will play a major role in this game, he will not play. This is a huge loss and gives Wofford a chance to pull off an upset, but Kentucky seems to be too talented for Wofford and, even without PJ, Kentucky should make it out of the second round.
The next game in these Regions is Villanova versus Purdue. These two teams are highly ranked but have struggled this season. The reigning National Champions lost three of their most talented players because they declared for the NBA draft. Villanova will go into the tournament with many young players and have struggled to win games. Purdue has also struggled to win games, injuries and ineffective game strategies have plagued the team. This matchup should be interesting but the more talented team is Purdue and they will pull out a close win to go to the sweet sixteen.
The matchup that will be the closest of the second round is Kansas and Auburn. Auburn struggled in the first game with New Mexico State but won it due to the late game free throws missed. They are still very talented and have proven to beat top teams. Kansas defeated Northwestern with ease in the first round, blowing them out, playing very great. However, they did not face the competition Auburn did in the first round and have struggled this year with beating top teams. They also have lost to unsuccessful teams like Texas, so they could play great or bad in this game, but Auburn will find a way to win it.
UNC versus Washington is a game to watch. Washington is a team that has been highly underrated and showcased that with their performance against Utah State. They have a chance at winning this game but it is not likely, because they just are not as talented.UNC is a very talented team, they have good veteran players, and a hall of fame head coach. However, they did struggle against Iona in the first half of the game. They will end up winning this game without a doubt but it will not be as easy as many think it will be.
This next matchup will be two teams who pulled off an upset in the first round. These upsets were not crazy ones but they still managed to beat a higher seed. Oregon, without Bol Bol, played great against an injured Wisconsin team. They struggled in the middle of the season but picked it up at the end heading into the tournament, and they are the team you do not want to face if you are a high seeded team. UC Irvine is a team that many do not know of. They are very talented but do not have as great of an organization as Oregon. They will fight to the end with Oregon but their season will end there as the Ducks pass them and move on to the sweet sixteen.
In the next matchup, the eleven seeded Ohio State will go head to head with the three seeded Houston. Ohio State pulled off a big upset in the first round over Iowa State winning by five. They showed great potential in the tournament and have a big chance to move on to the sweet sixteen, but to do this they will have to beat Houston. Houston is a team that played great last year in the tournament, they are very talented this year but have struggled at times. They will figure out a way to get to the sweet sixteen but it will not be very easy.
Virginia will face Oklahoma in the second round after their win over Gardner-Webb. Virginia struggled in that game, possibly due to the remembrance of last year’s tournament, but they have made it past the first round and with their highly talented team will face up against Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a team that has struggled over the year but came out in the first round and played great blowing out Ole Miss. Looking at Virginia’s poor first round performance, they have a chance to defeat them, but it will not be easy at all. However, Virginia will end up winning this game and making it into the sweet sixteen.
This last matchup will be a very interesting matchup. There is a team that played below their expectations, and a team that played above expectations. Tennessee played against Colgate and struggle for most of the game, but they figured out a way to win it. Then there is Iowa who pulled off the upset over Cincinnati, who got to play near their hometown. Iowa played great in this game and will look to compete against Tennessee too. Although Tennessee did not play great in the first round, they are just way more talented than Iowa and should win this game with ease.
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