TORONTO - Saturdayís slate of games wasnít bad, but Sundayís should be excellent. Here are four not to miss:
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Arizona: Bramptonís Tristan Thompson gets another big challenge, with potential top 5 NBA pick Derrick Williams leading a solid Wildcats squad. Williams is an awesome inside-out player, but he hasnít faced a defender like Thompson yet this season.
The crowd will be firmly behind Arizona, Thompson canít possibly duplicate his phenomenal performance against Oakland, but the Longhorns seem to have found their game (particularly star forward Jordan Hamilton (19.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG in past four games) and are looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in 10 years.
Surprisingly Thompson and Hamilton both said Saturday theyíd return to school next year despite 1st round potential, but everybody says that at this time of year.
"I'll come back another year for him," Thompson told reporters of his friend and incoming star recruit Myck Kabongo of Toronto. A loss would make a return more likely, but Texas probably gets by.
No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Marquette: The Golden Eagles were full marks for their upset over No. 6 seed Xavier, but Syracuse will be a much tougher opponent.
The Orange is not as good offensively as a season ago, but has all the pieces to make a long run. Montrealís Kris Joseph has been contributing in multiple areas, Rick Jackson is a load down low, Scoop Jardine has been solid and the teamís vaunted zone defence is difficult to break down. Marquette is one of the better passing teams in the NCAA Ė 19th in per-game average, Torontoís Junior Cadougan is second on team Ė so should be better at beating the zone than most.
Keep in mind, Marquette stunned Syracuse 76-70 in late January, so donít think the upset canít happen.
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 1 Duke: There is no love lost between these two programs thanks to the recently-revived early-90ís Fab Five era rivalry.
Without any seniors, Michigan has served notice that it is on the rise, but the defending champs should take this one, particularly since star freshman Kyrie Irving looked good in his return to action on Friday.
A win would give Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski his 900th career win. It wonít be easy Ė Michigan has played fellow top seeds Ohio State (three times) and Kansas close in four losses this season and blew out Tennessee by 30 points in its tournament opener.
No. 7 Washington vs. No. 2 North Carolina: This is a blowout on paper, but donít forget that the Tar Heels didnít make the tournament last year so Washington has more big-game experience.
The Huskies also have fearless guard Isaiah Thomas who can light up the scoreboard.
North Carolina has too much size and skill to lose this one, but they wonít destroy Washington like they have other opponents.