The real NCAA Tournament doesn’t start for another couple of days, but we get some teaser action this evening with two play-in games, or “First Four” games, as the NCAA likes to call them. Tonight’s two East bracket contests could potentially have an impact on Virginia — it’s unlikely, but we’re still paying attention.
Here's how Wahoo fans should be cheering tonight. Check back later this week for a cheer guide for the rest of the East bracket.
Game 1: #16 Mount St Mary vs #16 University of New Orleans
Hoo To Root For: UNO
Why: Although no 16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed, it is bound to happen at some point. The Privateers (yes, we had to look that up) are a better team than MSM — not a lot better, mind you, but they are better. They struggling shooting, but they like to run and have a strong inside player in Travin Thibodeaux. Couple that with their decent defense and if Villanova has an off night, it seems like UNO could give them a game. On the other hand, MSM is a better shooting team, but they play at a much slower pace and are terrible on the inside. MSM is fun to watch though, as they are led by 5’5” jitterbug Junior Robinson, who probably has wet dreams about Isaiah Thomas. The Wildcats would be overwhelming favorites over either of these teams, but UNO has a slightly higher (yet still very small) chance of pulling the upset.
Game 2: #11 USC vs #11 Providence
Hoo to Root For: Providence
Why: For one thing, the Hoos have already beaten the Friars this year, and it wasn’t a particularly close game. Both teams would have to advance to the Elite 8 for it to happen, but the Hoos would love that rematch. Beyond that, Providence is simply a better team than the Trojans, and therefore have a better chance to knock off the SMU Mustangs in the actual first round of the Tournament. SMU is a very good shooting team, and Providence is a better defensive team.
You’ve still got time to sign up for STL’s Bracket Challenge here to win some cool koozies.