Now that part of the first round is over, we know some of the key matchups for the second round of March Madness. In this article, we will look at some of these matchups, and make our BetUs second round March Madness Predictions.
Matchup 1: Gonzaga vs Memphis
#1 Gonzaga was tested time after time against 16 seed Georgia State, but their size eventually became too much for the Panthers (Georgia State’s big man also was injured during the game, a devastating loss). Throughout the season, the Bulldogs have looked unbeatable at times. Through other parts of the year, they have looked vulnerable.
Highly regarded recruit Chet Holmgren and veteran big man Drew Timme have been the anchors of this team all year long. Combined, they average more than 31 points per game and combine for almost 16 rebounds as well. Gonzaga also gets points from a plethora of guards, as 5 players average double digits.
On paper, Memphis is actually built somewhat similarly to Gonzaga, as their leading scorers are also in the frontcourt. Freshman Jalen Duren and junior DeAndre Williams combine for 23.1 points per game, along with 13.9 rebounds. Then there is freshman wild card Emoni Bates, who has had trouble staying healthy this year. He is 6’9 and still high school-aged so, though he has tremendous talent, is still growing and can look a bit awkward at times.
The second round is notoriously hard for number 1 seeds, although it is unclear as to why. Oftentimes, some believe that it is a seeding issue. For example, many people have seen Loyola Chicago as being underseeded the last couple of times that they have won games in the tournament.
Simply put, Memphis played their way down into the nine seed by losing to teams like Georgia and Ole Miss. Memphis has the athletes and the defense to stop Gonzaga. I see the Tigers taking this one.
Matchup 2: Tennessee vs Michigan
While Gonzaga and Memphis might be built somewhat similar, Tennessee and Michigan are extremely different. For Tennessee, the scoring burden is carried by guards. For example, young sensation Kennedy Chandler averages just under 14 points per game, and also leads the team in assists. Conversely, Michigan is led in scoring by center Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson also leads the team in rebounding and is third on the team in assists.
This game should be interesting, as Tennessee will likely rely on their back court, while Michigan will likely pound the ball inside. This could lead to a high scoring game. Both teams will probably have to make adjustments throughout the game when it comes to their defense.
Let’s face it, Michigan will have to play close to a perfect game, and this will require a coach who is experienced, mature, and able to make quick adjustments. No offense to Coach Juwan Howard, but he hasn’t exactly shown himself to fit any of these categories quite yet. I see him getting outdueled by his counterpart Rick Barnes in this game. Pick Tennessee.
Matchup 3: Baylor vs North Carolina
Similar to the team last year that won it all, Baylor approaches each game with a balanced attack. They move the ball tremendously, which leads to them having four players averaging double digits, with a fifth averaging nine and a half points per game. This ball movement is led by James Akinjo and Adam Flagler, who combine for 8.8 assists per game.
North Carolina also spreads the scoring around. Like Baylor, they have four players averaging double digits. Star forward Armando Bacot anchors the team, leading them with 16.5 points per game, and also pulls down 12.5 rebounds each game.
Baylor has been the model of consistency this year, as opposed to North Carolina, who got crushed by Wake Forest, Tennessee, and Miami. Take Baylor in this game.