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2015 NCAA Tournament: Sunday Round of 32 Preview and Predictions

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If you were rooting for underdogs to advance through the NCAA Tournament, sorry, folks, you’re out of luck on Sunday.

Higher-seeded teams went 15-1 on Friday — the exception being No. 11 Dayton over No. 6 seed Providence — setting up a chalk-filled lineup Sunday.

Will the trend carry into the Sweet 16 or were all the upsets waiting for Sunday’s action?

NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Sunday Preview

All times Eastern

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Virginia

TV: 12:10 p.m., CBS

Site: Charlotte (East Region)

Preview: On the good side for Virginia, the Cavaliers put away Belmont in the round of 32, and Justin Anderson (15 points) came off the bench to have his best game since returning from injury. On the bad side, the Cavs allowed more than one point per possession for the fourth time in the last six games. That happened only four times in the first 28 games. Michigan State made things far too interesting late against Georgia but escaped with a 70-63 win. Given the way both of these teams have played recently, the final minutes will be dramatic. Virginia has been trending the wrong way while Michigan State is starting to put things together.

Prediction: Michigan State 64-61

No. 8 San Diego State vs. No. 1 Duke

TV: 2:40 p.m., CBS

Site: Charlotte (South Region)

Preview: The matchup for Duke, particularly in the offensive end, gets significantly tougher after the rout of Robert Morris. This will be a heck of a matchup in the offensive end for Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook. San Diego State ranks fourth in the nation in defensive efficiency and will face the No. 2 team nationally in offensive efficiency. The Aztecs also make a living on the offensive glass. Could this be another big moment for seven-footer Marshall Plumlee, who had his first career double-double in the first round win over Robert Morris?

Prediction: Duke 70-58

No. 7 Wichita State vs. No. 2 Kansas

TV: 5:15 p.m., CBS

Site: Omaha, Neb. (Midwest Region)

Preview: Thank you, selection committee. Wichita State has been begging for a shot at its in-state blue blood since their last meeting in 1993, and now the Shockers get to face Kansas with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. Shockers point guard Fred VanVleet was magnificent against Indiana, shutting down Yogi Ferrell late and shooting 9-of-18 from the field. Even if he has the same success against Frank Mason, Wichita State can’t afford another cold shooting day from Ron Baker, who was 0-of-5 from 3 against the Hoosiers. Kansas forward Perry Ellis is still working his way back from injury, scoring nine points in 23 minutes against New Mexico State in the round of 64. If he’s at full strength, the 6-foot-8 junior will be a tough matchup for the Shockers.

Prediction: Kansas 68-67

No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 3 Oklahoma

TV: 6:10 p.m., TNT

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Site: Columbus, Ohio (East Region)

Preview: The Flyers keep defying fatigue and their roster limitations. Dayton will play its sixth game in nine days when it tips against Oklahoma, and this is with a shortened roster due to attrition in the frontcourt. Oklahoma forward TaShawn Thomas is averaging 15.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in the last four games, and Ryan Spangler is a rebounding machine (10.8 boards in the last four games). That’s a tough matchup for an undersized Dayton team, but it would be tough to doubt the Flyers now.

Prediction: Oklahoma 66-60

No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 3 Gonzaga

TV: 7:10 p.m., TBS

Site: Seattle (South Region)

Preview: Iowa has our attention after a 31-point rout of Atlantic 10 regular season champion Davidson. The Hawkeyes held the offensively minded Wildcats to 52 points and 0.82 points per possession. Now, Iowa faces a Gonzaga team can score in bunches, too, though the Zags aren’t likely to launch 28 3-pointers like Davidson did. The key matchup may be in the defensive end for Gonzaga as 7-1 Przemek Karnowski tries to slow the 6-9 Aaron White, who is averaging 23.8 points in his last six games.

Prediction: Gonzaga 79-70

No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 1 Wisconsin

TV: 7:45 p.m., truTV

Site: Omaha, Neb. (East Region)

Preview: Wisconsin won’t have an easy trip to the Sweet 16 against one of the hottest teams in the country. The Ducks have lost once since Feb. 14 and that was Arizona in the Pac-12 championship. The Badgers will have to find a way to slow down Joseph Young, who is averaging 25.3 points per game since the start of February. Young grabbed 23 points in a nine-minute stretch alone against Oklahoma State. Wisconsin, the most efficient offensive team in the country, can match Oregon. The big question is who dictates pace of play. The Badgers rank 346th in tempo, while the Ducks rank 75th.

Prediction: Wisconsin 66-62

No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 4 Maryland

TV: 8:40 p.m., TNT

Site: Columbus, Ohio (Midwest Region)

Preview: Maryland has the unenviable task of prepares for West Virginia on a short turnaround. The Mountaineers are the nation’s No. 1 team in forcing turnovers thanks to their constant pressure. They’re also prodigious on the offensive glass. West Virginia’s round of 64 game against Buffalo was more dramatic than it needed to be, though, because of missed layups. The Mountaineers won’t have as much wiggle room against a top-40 defensive team.

Prediction: Maryland 65-63

No. 5 Northern Iowa vs. No. 4 Louisville

TV: 9:40 p.m., TBS

Site: Seattle (East Region)

Preview: Maybe Louisville will be relieved that the big man the Cardinals will face is not UC Irvine’s 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye. Although if that opposing big man is Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle — merely 10 inches shorter than Ndiaye — maybe Louisville will reconsider. Tuttle will have his work cut out for him against the Louisville defense, but the Panthers may need Paul Jesperson and Matt Bohannon to knock down 3s to open up the floor.

Prediction: Northern Iowa 62-59