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NCAA First Four Preview Day 1

03/18/2014

While the NCAA Tournament may not officially start till Thursday, the First Four actually begins tonight.  Tonight we have two fairly evenly matched games tonight.  The first game is #16 Albany vs. #16 Mount St. Mary’s at 6:40 p.m. est on TruTV.  The other game pits #12 Xavier vs #12 North Carolina St.  at about 9:10 p.m. est on TruTV.  

1. #16 Albany vs. #16 Mount St. Mary’s 

This game features a pair of teams that were not supposed to be representing their conferences in March Madness.  Albany is representing the American East and and Mount St. Mary’s represents the Northeast Conference.  Both teams had to climb an uphill battle in order to get to where they are today.  They both finished in fourth place in their respective conferences.  The Mountaineers prefer to just shoot three-pointers the entire game.  Whereas Albany prefers to play by attacking the inside and driving towards the rim.  This game could play into Albany’s hands because by being a team that likes to attack the inside, they might be able to force Mount St. Mary’s to get into foul trouble capitalize that way.  Both teams are feeling great about themselves after coming out of nowhere to win their conference tournaments.  The question that will get answered tonight is which team will best be able to capitalize on that momentum.  

Prediction: I think that Albany will win this game tonight.  This game will come down to who will be able to best control the tempo and stay out of foul trouble.  This will be a close game and then Albany prevails in the last two minutes of the game due to the foul trouble of Mount St. Mary’s by the score of 62-55.  The winner will strive to become the first ever #16 seed to take down the #1 overall seed in the Florida Gators.

 

2. #12 Xavier vs #12 North Carolina St.

This is going to be the game of the night.  The game represents two average teams from some of the best conferences in basketball in the Big East in the ACC.  We will once again get to see a the rivalry of the Big East vs. the ACC.  I think that North Carolnia St. will win this game because since Dayton and Xavier were rivals in the A-10, I would expect for North Carolina St. to have a homecourt advantage tonight.  N.C. State has more momentum than Xavier after advancing to the semi-finals of the ACC tournament and I expect to see this momentum carry over into tonight’s affair.  

Prediction: I think that N.C. State has way too much going for it after advancing to the semi-finals of the ACC tournament.  I believe that this game will be highly competitive, but the ACC will prevail in this affair.  N.C. State will win by the score of 72 to 64.  Like the earlier game, I am predicting that this game will remain fairly close until the waning minutes.  However, North Carolina St. will win simply because of the home-court advantage discussed earlier.

 

I think that we will be in for a treat over the next two days.  These game are of higher quality than those in previous years.  The First Four is finally starting to become the premier event that the NCAA had hoped for when the expanded the tournament a few years ago.  Be sure to tune in over the next couple of days as the madness gets going tonight.

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