2016 NCAA Tournament Saturday Second Round Preview and Predictions

Tyler Ulis and the Wildcats will renew their rivalry with the Hoosiers for a trip to the Sweet 16

Day one of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament brought us a smattering of exciting upsets and fantastic finishes. From Arkansas-Little Rock's double overtime rally against Purdue to Yale's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, college basketball fans got to enjoy the type of moments that make March Madness so captivating. And that was just on Thursday.

 

What magical moments will unfold during the first day of second round action? Here's what we expect from Saturday's slate of games.

 

NCAA Tournament Saturday Second Round Games

Note: All times Eastern, some start times are approximate

 

No. 11 Wichita State vs. No. 3 Miami

TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Providence (South Region)

Preview: Wichita State made it six straight years that a First Four at-large winner has advanced to the Round of 32. Can the Shockers go even deeper into the Tournament?

 

That door is certainly open after Wichita State dominated Arizona in a 65-55 victory. The Shockers forced 19 turnovers and held the Wildcats to 19 first-half points. Wichita State suffocated the Wildcats with relentless defense and out-hustled them for loose balls and transition baskets. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker led the way, combining for 29 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals.

 

Miami barely survived an upset bid from No. 14 Buffalo. The Hurricanes prevailed 79-72 by attacking the rim and drawing fouls. Miami outscored Buffalo 36-24 in the paint and went 26-of-34 from the free throw line. Doing similar things against the nation's No. 1 scoring defense will be a much tougher task.

 

Prediction: Wichita State 70, Miami 64

 

No. 12 Yale vs. No. 4 Duke

TV: 2:40 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Providence (West Region)

Preview: Once again, the Ivy League has produced a Cinderella team. Yale used an efficient offensive performance to upset No. 5 Baylor 79-75. Now the Bulldogs have their sights on taking down defending national champion Duke.

 

The Blue Devils have faced questions about their depth. Duke's short bench handled the quick pace of UNC Wilmington well, pulling away after halftime for a 93-85 victory. Marshall Plumlee, who finished with a career-high 23 points, imposed his will defensively in the second half. The playmaking of Brandon Ingram also proved too much for the Seahawks to handle.

 

Yale will need to duplicate what it did on offense against the Bears to pull off a second upset. The Bulldogs hit their first 13 2-pointers of the game and shot 53 percent from the field overall. Makai Mason led the way with a career-high 31 points.

 

Prediction: Duke 75, Yale 67

 

Related: Yale Bulldogs vs. Duke Blue Devils Preview and Prediction

 

No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 4 Kentucky

TV: 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Des Moines (East Region)

Preview: Two longtime basketball rivals are meeting for the first time since 2012. Both Indiana and Kentucky come into this revival of their rivalry on the heels of impressive first-round performances.

 

Kentucky blocked an NCAA Tournament-record 15 shots en route to an 85-57 victory over Stony Brook. Indiana racked up its highest point total in a Tournament game since 1999 in a 99-74 win against Chattanooga.

 

Both teams draw their main strengths from their backcourt. Jamal Murray leads Kentucky with 20.1 points per game, while Tyler Ulis chips in 17 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. Yogi Ferrell is a dominant scorer and playmaker for the Hoosiers, averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 assists per game.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 77, Indiana 72

 

No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock vs. No. 4 Iowa State

TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT

Site: Denver (Midwest Region)

Preview: Arkansas-Little Rock outscored Purdue 21-7 over the final five minutes of regulation to force two overtimes and escape with an 85-83 victory. Now the Trojans will get to deal with an Iowa State team that loves to push the tempo.

 

The Cyclones blitzed Iona 94-81 behind 28 points from Georges Niang. It was a typical day on the court for Iowa State, which boasts an offense that can light up the scoreboard in a hurry and ranks third nationally in offensive efficiency.

 

Iowa State's ability to get up and down the floor will be tested by Little Rock. The Trojans prefer a methodical pace. Armed with the nation's no. 2 scoring defense, Little Rock could make it a tough 40 minutes for the Cyclones.

 

Prediction: Iowa State 71, Arkansas-Little Rock 68

 

Related: Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans vs. Iowa State Cyclones Preview and Prediction

 

No. 9 Butler vs. No. 1 Virginia

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS

Site: Raleigh (Midwest Region)

Preview: Butler built its March reputation as a giant killer. The Bulldogs have a chance to do it once again against Virginia.

 

Dealing with Virginia's suffocating defense will not be an easy task. The Cavaliers rank third nationally in scoring defense. They held Hampton to 32 percent shooting from the field in an 81-45 victory. Virginia, on the other hand, sunk the Pirates from the perimeter – hitting 12 3-pointers. Anthony Gill scored 19 points to lead a balanced offensive effort.

 

Butler will need its outside shooters to step up and keep Virginia off balance. That's what helped the Bulldogs rally past Texas Tech 71-61. Kellen Dunham finished with a team-high 23 points – including five 3-pointers – and led a 52 percent second-half shooting effort by Butler.

 

Prediction: Virginia 67, Butler 61

 

No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Kansas

TV: 7:45 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Des Moines (South Region)

Preview: It doesn't seem to matter where UConn is seeded. The Huskies just win NCAA Tournament games. They improved to 7-0 in the Big Dance under Kevin Ollie with a 74-67 victory over Colorado.

 

Keeping it going against Kansas presents a much more difficult challenge. The Jayhawks are a balanced group offensively and defensively and have won 15 straight contests. Kansas ranks in the top 20 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Perry Ellis leads the way for the Jayhawks with 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

 

Defense can be an equalizer for UConn. The Huskies held Colorado to 17 points over the first 17 minutes of the second half. They rank 12th nationally in scoring defense and it helps offset an offense that can be inconsistent at times. UConn will definitely need big games from Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton. The duo combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds in the win over the Buffaloes.

 

Prediction: Kansas 72, Connecticut 63

 

Related: Connecticut Huskies vs. Kansas Jayhawks Preview and Prediction

 

No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 3. Utah

TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, TNT

Site: Denver (Midwest Region)

Preview: Utah was the only Pac-12 team to survive on the first day of the Tournament. The Utes overcame 19 turnovers to beat Fresno State 80-69. Gonzaga presents a whole different challenge.

 

The Bulldogs have a talented frontcourt that can attack Utah inside and outside. Domantas Sabonis is strong around the basket and Kyle Wiltjer is deadly on the perimeter. Sabonis tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead Gonzaga to a 68-52 victory over Seton Hall.

 

Utah will counter with talented center Jakob Poeltl. The Pac-12 Player of the Year put up 16 points and 18 rebounds against Fresno State – out-rebounding the Bulldogs by himself. Poeltl shoots well from the field (Pac-12 best .649) and averages 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. It should make for a fun battle in the paint against Gonzaga.

 

Prediction: Utah 74, Gonzaga 70

 

Related: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Utah Utes Preview and Prediction

 

No. 9 Providence vs. No. 1 North Carolina

TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, TBS

Site: Raleigh (East Region)

Preview: Providence needed a basket with 1.5 seconds left to squeak past USC 70-69. Now the Friars get another shot at North Carolina after coming up just short against the Tar Heels in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

 

North Carolina claimed the ACC regular season and tournament titles behind a balanced offense that can hurt opponents all over the court. Brice Johnson is a dominant big man, averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Marcus Paige gives the Tar Heels a smart playmaker in the backcourt, averaging 12 points and 3.8 assists.

 

Providence will lean on Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn for its counter punch. Bentil averages 21.1 points per game and Dunn chips in 16 per contest. When the duo is on its game, few teams can hang with the Friars.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 80, Providence 73

 

Related: Providence Friars vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Preview and Prediction

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

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