Vermont vs St John’s
Vermont is looking to remain the favorite in the American East and make another NCAA tournament appearance. This team is led by Anthony Lamb who is capable of taking over the game offensively and on the boards. Further, the help around Lamb will determine the success in this game for Vermont. This starts with Everett Duncan with his ability to shoot from the perimeter. In addition, Stef Smith and Ben Shungu need to continue to produce for Vermont in the backcourt to contain Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa.
For St. John’s, LJ Figueroa is taking the next step as a scorer to be a lead wing. Also, Mustapha Heron must take his game to another level and be a more efficient player. Julian Champagnie must show great versatility in the backcourt with having great size he is a bonus on the boards. The presence of Anthony Lamb will lead Vermont to a win over St. John’s in a competitive game.
Prediction: Vermont 72 St. John’s 68
(20) Washington vs Tennessee
Washington is off to a great start with a marquee win over Baylor. Nahziah Carter showed the ability to be a go-to scorer on the perimeter. Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels will commute to develop as scorers and bring great athleticism defensively. In addition, Quade Green, however, must elevate his game to the next level being more of a threat offensively and being more efficient. They also need more depth with Jamal Bey and Elijah Hardy providing that ability to Washington to go to their depth effectively.
As for Tennessee, Jordan Bowden is taking over as the primary scorer for Tennessee. Furthermore, Lamonte Turner has been a great distributor and still has the ability to score effectively. Also, Yves Pond has shown the ability to become a bigger threat on offense to match his effort defensively. The interior defense of Tennessee will be key to their success in this game. The 2-3 zone of Washington will be too much for Tennessee to be effective offensively.
Prediction: Washington 72 Tennessee 67
Marquette vs Wisconsin
Wisconsin and Marquette continue their in-state rivalry on Saturday. Marquette is coming off a very good win against Purdue looking to keep their momentum. Further, Koby McEwen has developed into a secondary scorer next to take off some of the pressure on Markus Howard. Howard will continue to be a great scoring threat and a problem for defenses. Theo John brings very good toughness and fight for the team ability to great on the boards. The depth for Marquette is getting better with Jamal Cain and Greg Elliot’s contribution.
As for Wisconsin, the backcourt must continue to elevate this team with Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice leading the way. Next, Nate Reuvers must continue to develop into a dominant low post scoring threat for Wisconsin. Now, Aleem Ford will continue to be a wing threat for Wisconsin. Wisconsin will edge out Marquette in Saturday’s matchup.
Prediction: Wisconsin 76 Marquette 70
(19) Arizona vs New Mexico State
Arizona is off to a great start with a strong showing against Illinois. Now, Nico Mannion is taking control of Arizona offensively and showing great poise as the point guard. In addition, Josh Green is showing he is capable of shooting the ball at a high level and has the great size to be an effective driver. The biggest influence is with Zeke Nnaji who is giving great production in the frontcourt and has great touch around the basket. Further, Arizona is deep and is showing it’s capable of being a major threat nationally this season.
New Mexico State will be looking to win the WAC again in returning to the NCAA tournament. They are led by wing Trevelin Queen as a volume scorer. In addition, Terrell Brown is another player who brings consistency for New Mexico State. Johnny McCants needs to produce an interior option for New Mexico State. Arizona will be way too much for the New Mexico State team that’s not in the perfect form right now.
Prediction: Arizona 88 New Mexico State 72
(15) Florida vs Connecticut
Florida is coming off a tough performance against Florida State looking for a bounce-back game. Now, there must be more of an establishment to Kerry Blackshear Jr. as the offense must be run through him. Also, the backcourt must provide scoring with Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke and Tre Mann all finding ways to contribute. Next, Keyonte Johnson is showing his capabilities to be the primary offensive option on the wing. Furthermore, the depth of Florida needs to elevate with Scottie Lewis being more productive.
Dan Hurley is looking for major progress in year two after already losing to St. Joe’s. Now, Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert are leading the way for Connecticut in the backcourt. In addition, Akok Akok must prove to be a viable option in the frontcourt on both ends. Also, Tyler Polley and Josh Carlton have the potential to be a very solid frontcourt for Connecticut. Both teams are looking to bounce back, but the talent level of Florida will be too much for Connecticut.
Prediction: Florida 79 Connecticut 67
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