This is probably the second toughest bracket in this year’s tournament. Xavier has been consistently good all year, but two of the hottest teams in the entire field in Michigan and Gonzaga are waiting to challenge the Musketeers. Plus you can’t forget the defending National Champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels, either.

(1) Xavier vs. (16) N.C. Central – I expect the experience factor to pull N.C. Central through the play early in game, but from there, it will be lights out when they meet Xavier. Xavier 85  N.C. Central 57

(8) Missouri vs, (9) Florida State – The Seminoles have a ten-man rotation and they play an uptempo style that can wear a team out. The Tigers are a very good team that defends well and shoots the rock well from behind the three-point line. Missouri 77  Florida State 70

(5) Ohio State vs. (12) South Dakota State – This will be a great match between two of the best offensive players in the country. Keita Bates-Diop vs. Mike Daum is a high-powered matchup are two offensive scoring machines. Surprisingly South Dakota State has an experience edge, as they were in last year’s tournament. Daum will need to have a monster game for the Jack Rabbitts to have a shot. Ohio State 88  Soth Dakota State 81

(4) Gonzaga vs. (13) UNC Greensboro – I know everybody’s trendy pick in this bracket is Gonzaga, but don’t sleep on Greensboro! UNCG is one of the best defensive teams in the country and if star Francis Alonso has a monster game they will have a chance. However, I think Gonzaga pulls away at the end of the game. Gonzaga 69  UNCG 57

(6) Houston vs. (11) San Diego State – Whichever team wins this game has a real shot to make a run in this tournament. The thing that makes SDSU such a tough team is their scoring balance and solid bench production, making them hard to defend, though their outside shooting isn’t always consistent and that is where this game will be decided. Can SDSU put the ball consistently in the basket? The Cougars have beaten Cincinnati and Wichita State during the season and they play an uptempo pace. I like SDSU in the upset in this one. SDSU 72  Houston 68

(3) Michigan vs. (14) Montana – Will the Wolverines continue their hot play after a long layoff? It shouldn’t matter in this game because the Wolverines are just too strong for Montana. Michigan 89  Montana 64

(7) Texas A&M vs. (10) Providence – I think that the Aggies are seeded way too high and the Friars are just a better team. Providence 73  Texas A&M 64

(2) North Carolina vs. (15) Lipscomb – Before you write this game off, remember UNC did lose to Wofford this season. The Bisons have won 12 of there last 13 games and they play at a high tempo and score points in bunches. With that being said, I think that UNC learned their lesson against Wofford already. UNC 96  Lipscomb 69