By Jon Rothstein
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BEST GAME: CINCINNATI VERSUS FLORIDA STATE
A rugged showdown between two of the more physical teams in the country should be a terrific battle. The Bearcats are starting to get monumental play from senior big man Yancy Gates but the Seminoles’ quartet on the baseline of Okaro White, Bernard James, Xavier Gibson, and Jon Kreft will be all over him from the opening tip.
BEST CHANCE FOR AN UPSET: SAINT LOUIS OVER MICHIGAN STATE
Maybe I’m just saying this because I rolled the dice on the Billikens to go to the Elite Eight but I really think Rick Majerus’ team has a chance if they limit Michigan State on the offensive glass — something that won’t be easy with Draymond Green, Derrick Nix, and Adreian Payne manning the baseline for Sparty.
BEST INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: MICHAEL SNAER AGAINST SEAN KILPATRICK
Both players have similar games and either can be the best player on the floor or one that really struggles. Look for the winner of this duel to determine who advances in the game between Cincinnati and Florida State.
FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS
1. SOUTH FLORIDA WILL BULLY THEIR WAY TO THE SWEET 16
The Bulls physicality will overwhelm Ohio.
2. SAINT LOUIS WILL SHOCK MICHIGAN STATE
Many people in basketball circles call Rick Majerus a mastermind. On Sunday, he’ll prove again why.
3. NC STATE’S RUN ENDS AGAINST GEORGETOWN
The Hoyas are simply too big for the Wolfpack.
4. MICHAEL SNAER REGAINS HIS VINTAGE FORM VS. CINCINNATI
After going scoreless against St. Bonaventure, look for Snaer to find his rhythm against feisty Cincinnati.
5. NORTH CAROLINA SPRINTS PAST CREIGHTON
The Blue Jays can run — but not with the Tarheels.
FIVE UNDER THE RADAR NAMES TO KNOW
1. Dwayne Evans, Saint Louis
2. Mackey McKnight, Lehigh
3. Casey Prather, Florida
4. Victor Rudd, South Florida
5. Scott Wood, NC State