Posted: Wednesday March 22, 2006 1:26PM; Updated: Wednesday March 22, 2006 7:16PM
SI.com's Gennaro Filice weighs in with his NCAA tournament predictions.
Sweet 16 -- Thursday, March 23
Atlanta, 7:10 p.m. ET
(1) Duke vs. (4) LSU
Geaux Tigers? Some forward-thinking LSU fans may disagree, because for LSU to topple Duke a big game from Tyrus Thomas is a necessity. And if he has an impressive performance on this type of stage, that could cement him as a definite top-five pick in the NBA draft, in which case the freshman would probably give up three years of remaining eligibility and ... geaux pro. Eh, whatever, an Elite Eight berth is worth it. Commissioner Stern, that's T-Y-R-U-S.
LSU 76, Duke 73
Oakland, 7:47 p.m. ET
(1) Memphis vs. (13) Bradley
Quick: Name the last No. 13 seed to make it to the Elite Eight. The answer: Nada U. -- no 13 has ever reached a regional final. Now, Bradley has been a special story, and this showing will serve as a mid-major rally cry for years to come, but looking at how dominant Memphis has been as of late, the Tigers have a better chance losing John Calipari to the NBA than losing this game.
Memphis 76, Bradley 65
Atlanta, 9:40 p.m. ET
(2) Texas vs. (6) West Virginia
The Mountaineers' record before Kevin Pittsnogle's son Kwynsie was born: 16-4. Their mark after Kev became Papa Pitts: 6-6. Somebody find this baby a good-luck diaper, stat! Texas edged West Virginia 76-75 back in November. But the Mountaineers' unorthodox offense lacks the shock factor the second time West Virginia faces a team. Unless the Mountaineers regain last year's form from beyond the arc, this one won't even be close.
Texas 74, West Virginia 64
Oakland, 9:57 p.m. ET
(2) UCLA vs. (3) Gonzaga
The battle of the Pacific time zone's finest is fittingly scheduled in an East Coast slot usually reserved for Roseanne, Will, Grace and the rest of your favorite syndicated superstars. So, East Coast biasers, is this late show worth your Friday productivity? Surely. Why not stay up to see the nation's longest winning streak end? UCLA's defense (and Gonzaga's lack thereof) will prove paramount in deciding how the West is won.
UCLA 78, Gonzaga 69