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Bracketology 2009 Presented by BetUS.Com!

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Thursday March 19th, 2009
 
The greatest day of the sports year is set to begin in a matter of hours.  A slew of great match-ups bebin with the first tip, and last until the final tip well into the evening.  So who has the upper hand heading into today’s action?  Let’s take a look at the 16 games set to tip-off today.
 
12:20 #8 Butler v #9 LSU:  The tournament begin with one of the most unpredictable match-ups.  LSU dominated the SEC, but failed to close strong.  Losses to Auburn and an early exit from their conference tournament raise concerns.  Butler isn’t immune from the same concerns, as the Bulldogs were upset by a solid Cleveland State team in the Horizon League championship game.  However, the Bulldogs ability to win on the road this season is a reason to believe.  Wins at Xavier and Davidson, along with a three point loss at Ohio State are impressive to say the least.  I like the Bulldogs in a game that will surely go down to the wire.  Butler 64, LSU 62.
 
12:25 #2 Memphis v #15 Cal State Northridge:  The Tigers are favorites by many to advance out of this reagionNorthridge on the other hand, is happy to be here.  Memphis 90, CS-NR 56.
 
12:30 #8 BYU v #9 Texas A&M:  The Cougars were competitive in a strong MWC, but really failed to accomplish much of anything.  They did have a close loss at Arizona State (@ Phoenix Stadium that is…).  The Aggies on the other hand have been taking care of business.  At one point they were 4-7 in B12 play.  Then, they ripped of a slew of wins, and here they are.  I look for that momentum to continue, at least for one more round.  Texa A&M 71, BYU 64.
 
2:30 #5 Purdue v #12 Northern IowaAhh the dreaded 5/12 matchup.  UNI owns a win over a B10 this year, though it was over cellar dweller Iowa.  Purdue’s in-your-face defensive style is something the Panthers don’t get often, at least not at this level.  Purdue 58, UNI 51.
 
2:50 #1 North Carolina v #16 Radford:  Word is Ty Lawson will sit this one out.  A good move by Roy Williams, though it should keep the Tar Heels from crossing the century markUNC 88, Radford 69.
 
2:55 #7 Cal v #10 Maryland:   Two teams that were inconsistent throughout the second half of the season.  The Golden Bears faded a bit after starting the Pac10 season off as a potential high seed.  The Terps scored some big wins this season over Michigan State, UNC, and Wake Forest.  This will make it four.  Maryland 72, Cal 68.
 
3:00 #1 UConn v #16 Chattanooga: Some reward for beating Davidson and winning the SoCon…ouch…UConn 86, Chattanooga 55.
 
4:55 #4 Washington v #13 Mississippi State: An interesting match-up to in Portland.  The Bulldogs are playing great basketball.  Their run through the SEC tournament was the capper on a run that’s lasted a couple weeks now.  It’s a tempting upset pick, but not tempting enough.  The Huskies have impressed the second half of the year as well, winning the Pac10’s regular season.  It will be closer than the average 4/13 showdown, but not quite an upset special.  Washington 78, Mississippi State 77.
 
7:10 #7 Texas v #10 Minnesota:  A match-up of two teams that both disappointed the second half of the season.  The Gophers started out strong, going undefeated in the non-conference season, including a win over overall top-seed Louisville.  The Longhorns were once as high as a two seed before playing themselves onto the bubble in the season’s final weeks.  The winner won’t make it too much further, but this one goes to the ‘horns.  Texas 52, Minnesota 48.
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7:10 #7 Clemson v #10 Michigan:  Both team rely on the 3-ball, but go about it in different ways.  Clemson likes to push the pace and pressure the basketball.  Senior CJ Lee isn’t a scoring threat, but has earned the starting PG job by taking care of the basketball.  He’ll need to make smart decisions all game, and help the Wolverines slow the game to the methodical, borderline boring pace that helps John Beilien’s system succeed.  Michigan 56, Clemson 55.

7:20 #3 Villanova v #14 American:  Some teams get to play near home, the Wildcats finagled their way into playing at home.  They played their limit of three games at the Wachovia Center, playing the rest of their marquee games at the Spectrum, allowing them to stay in Philly this weekend.  The crowd will be pumped, and the team will surely deliver.  Nova 86, American 74.

7:25 #4 Gonzaga v #13 Akron:  There are a couple teams that could have come out of the MAC and given Gonzaga trouble.  The Zips aren’t one of them.  Gonzaga 64, Akron 52.

9:40 #2 Oklahoma v #15 Morgan State:  Blake Griffin may grab 50 rebounds in this one.  Oklahoma 78, Morgan State 48.

9:40 #2 Duke v #15 BinghamtonBinghamton makes their first tournament appearance, and should savor every moment until tip-off.  After that, it’ll get ugly.  Duke 95, Binghamton 60.

9:50 #6 UCLA v #11 VCUEric Maynor is a fantastic guard for VCU, and would likely give the Rams a nod over most six seeds.  Not against the Bruins.  Jrue Holliday and Darren Collison will be able to get into Maynor’s grill and disrupt his ability to take the game over.  A tough draw for the CAA champs, who had Sweet 16 potential if not for this draw.  UCLA 61, VCU 52.

9:55 #5 Illinois v #12 Western Kentucky – UPSET SPECIAL:  There aren’t a lot of things from 2008 I’m predicting to re-occur this season.  There won’t be a slew of upsets, there certainly won’t be 4 double digit seeds reaching the second round in the same site, as was the case in Tampa last year.  One thing will repeat though – the WKU Hilltoppers will pull another 12/5 upset.  With a new coach and plenty of new faces, the Hilltoppers still managed to dominate the Sun Belt.  Not to mention their early season upset over top seed Louisville.  The Illini are no slouch, but without PG Chester Frasier, will struggle at the worst possible time.  WKU 71, Illinois 70.

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