Hurts to swallow. Hiccups up to wazzu. Tongue feels oddly weird. A) That's what she said and B) these are all reasons I'm left with little else to do but sit awake at 6 am and start looking forward to today's great slate of games. It's every little boy's dream to be "sick" for these couple days, but I must say it's a tad less enjoyable than anticipated when actually sick. Hoping I find a few hours to sleep before now and 11 am CT, but if not this will serve me as my personal viewers' guide, allowing me to stray from the games that may cause me to inexplicably fall asleep on the couch.
Here's how I see the games, from least appealing to most appealing on this Day 2 of March Madness:
- (16) 1 Louisville v 16 Morehead St., Midwest 7:10 pm ET
A tuneup for Rick's guys, against a team who played 48 hours earlier no less. At least the folks at Morehead could just stay at Dayton all week.
- (15) 1 Pittsburgh v 16 E. Tennessee St., East 2:55 ET
Yet another 1-16 matchup for the fine folks in Dayton. At least they get to see their Buckeyes on the nightcap.
- (14) 2 Michigan St. v 15 Robert Morris, Midwest 9:50 ET
Izzo's group can show a lot in this one. Everyone is waiting for them to look ugly -- a massive win in this one would give them some momentum and rest before a big 2nd round game. A 10-15 point game would only amplify the haters.
- (13) 3 Syracuse v 14 Stephen F Austin, South 12:15 ET
I don't think this will be one of Boeheim's shorter tourney stays. But you just never know... the Orange looking for its first NCAA win since the Hakim Warrick/ "Does Billy Edelin actually play for us?" era.
- (12) 3 Missouri v 14 Cornell, West 3:00 ET
Don't be surprised if this is a close one. The Big Red will try to play this at a snail's pace. Isn't it past due for the Ivy League to get a win?
- (11) 4 Xavier v 13 Portland St., East 7:25 ET
The Musketeers just don't lose these types of games.
- (10) 4 Wake Forest v 13 Cleveland St., Midwest 9:40 ET
It seems like you either love or hate this Demon Deacon team. I tend to stray more to the "hate" side. Their coach kinda looks like Rod Blagojevich and is named Dino -- if those aren't 2 signs to temper your enthusiasm, I don't know what are.
- (9) 3 Kansas v 14 North Dakota St., Midwest 12:30 ET
The Bison immediately become America's darlings if they win this shocker. The line is only 10 points by the way! Somebody knows something we don't. Kansas has overacheived all year, maybe the Jayhawks are due for some Bison blues again.
- (8) 6 West Virginia v 11 Dayton, Midwest 3:00 ET
Huggins could quickly make us forget about his underwhelming tourney resume at Cincy. I like Dayton, but don't like them one bit in this matchup.
- (7) 6 Marquette v 11 Utah St., West 12:30 ET
The Aggies haven't beaten anyone worth a damn yet this year. Meanwhile, I think the pendulum has swung from earlier this season and people are completely undervaluing Marquette sans Dominic James. Everybody seems to ignore that the Eagles were going to have a hellish time at the end of their schedule anyway, with or without James. You never know what to expect here, though, with the 10:30 am local start.
- (6) 8 Oklahoma St. v 9 Tennessee, East 12:25 ET
A virtual pick'em of two pretty unpredictable squads. Expect a lot of headbands as always with Bruce Pearl's crew. An opportunity to lose to Pitt awaits.
- (5) 8 Ohio St. v 9 Siena, Midwest 9:40 ET
Siena is the team you love as a #13 seed, but hate as a #9 seed. They shocked Vandy last year, but they won't sneak up on anybody this year, much less the ever-improving Buckeyes in Dayton.
- (4) 5 Utah v 12 Arizona, Midwest 7:10 ET
The team that shouldn't be there versus the team that shouldn't be a #5 seed. As much controversy as the 'Cats stirred with their NCAA bid, it immediately landed them favorites in this game. Since realizing they have only beaten the two Oregon teams away from the road, Utah has become Vegas's pick. I have no idea what to expect in this one, so it gets a high ranking, but really do I care?
- (3) 5 Florida St. v 12 Wisconsin, East 9:55 ET
The antithesis of the Utah-Arizona game. I LOVE Wisconsin as a #12 seed and LOVE Florida St. as a #5 seed. Unfortunately, they gotta play each other. I like the winner of this to beat Xavier. I just have no idea who wins this. Look for the Big Ten to garner some respect when Wisky's defense shuts down the Toney Douglas and the Noles.
- (2) 7 Boston College v 10 USC, Midwest 7:20 ET
DeMar Derozan vs. Tyrese Rice. Tim Floyd and his seventh-grade circus. Bubble teams are angry at USC's timely run, can they maintain it for a cold weekend in Minneapolis?
- (1) 6 Arizona St. vs. 11 Temple, South 2:45 ET
Forget the first round. James Harden vs. Dionte Christmas might wind up being the best matchup of scorers we see all tournament long. Harden came up short in the Pac-10 tourney final, while Christmas carried the Owls on his shoulders to win the 2nd straight A-10 tourney. A poor man's Kevin Durant, Christmas will likely put up 20-25 if he struggles and 35+ if he's on his game. Harden will represent with maybe the most solid beard in the college game. Get your popcorn (and antacids) ready. Don't disappoint, fellas.