A bunch of teams from our Field of 65 are in action tonight, but there are only two must-watch games:
Davidson at Duke
The announcers for this game have been getting twice as much pub as the game itself over the past couple of weeks (is anyone tuning in to see Mike Tirico tonight?...didn't think so), but the importance of the game bracket-wise for both teams shouldn't be overlooked. Davidson was noncompetitive the last time it played a good opponent, losing by 18 at Purdue, and despite their preseason hype and impressive schedule, they have only one standout win on their resume (a win over West Virginia at the Garden). If they get blown out tonight (which is possible), their already tenuous seed will take a hit even if they go unbeaten again in the terrible Southern Conference. They are sitting on the nine line right now, and they might not get higher than that again if this one gets ugly. Duke, meanwhile, is trying to pad their resume as they head into the teeth of what is going to be a very tough ACC schedule. It'll be interesting to see how many points the Duke D can hold Stephen Curry to (prediction: 27) and how (or if) Davidson's D will be able to guard Duke on the perimeter. Expect a good show from Curry, an equally good one from Kyle Singler (who quietly is having an All-American year and is leading Duke in points, rebounds, assists, and steals), and about 7,000 references to the absent Dick Vitale - and a double-digit Duke victory.
Gonzaga at Tennessee
It’s hard to fathom, but Gonzaga hasn’t won a game since December 18th, and they don’t have a quality win to speak of since November 20th. That win, ironically enough, came again the Vols, who they face again tonight in Knoxville. Both of these teams need a win here – Tennessee didn’t look good at all its last time out against Kansas, and the Zags’ recent woes have been well-documented. There are some that have wondered out loud if Gonzaga is even bracket-worthy at this point, but those comments are a little bit of a stretch. Their OOC resume still has three good wins on it, and aside from a game against Memphis (which they should win) early next month, the rest of their schedule should be smooth sailing. On paper, these two teams are mirror images (great guard play and some athletic bigs) of one another, and when that’s the case, logic says to go with the home team (especially when they have a 37-game home win streak). We’ll take the Vols in a tight, one or two possession game.
Also receiving votes: DePaul at Syracuse, Louisville at South Florida, Marquette at Rutgers, Michigan at Indiana, Northwestern at Wisconsin, Charleston at North Carolina