NCAA Tournament

Saturday’s NCAA Tournament third-round previews

EAST AT PITTSBURGH

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No. 1 Syracuse (32-2) vs. No. 8 Kansas State (22-10)

, 11:15 a.m.

The Orange’s offense was out of sync in the UNC Asheville escape. Was that their scare or a continuation of uneven play that has marked the team during the last few weeks? Kansas State will be physical and go to the boards hard. If Rodney McGruder comes up big again — and gets more help on the offensive end — K-State can have its biggest NCAA Tournament moment since the 1981 team took down second-ranked Oregon State.

Prediction:

Syracuse 64-62

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No. 2 Ohio State (28-7) vs. No. 7 Gonzaga (26-6),

1:45 p.m.

Few were more impressive on the first day than the Zags, who zigged West Virginia by 23. Ohio State Coach Thad Matta said that Gonzaga reminds him of a Big Ten team with its physical play. The Buckeyes dominated board play against Loyola, Md., 45-23 and will need to bring a similar effort to avoid the upset.

Prediction:

Ohio State 78-73

AT ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

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No. 4 Wisconsin (25-9) vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt (25-10),

5:10 p.m.

Vandy’s John Jenkins came up huge with 27 against Harvard, and now he challenges one of the nation’s top defensive teams. The Badgers suffocated Montana in a 73-49 victory and made 10 of 19 threes in the process.

Prediction:

Wisconsin 67-62

SOUTH AT PORTLAND, ORE.

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No. 4 Indiana (26-8) vs. No. 12 VCU (29-6),

6:10 p.m.

If it’s a free-throw shooting contest, the Hoosiers should win. They hit 76.3 percent. The Rams pulled off one of the most impressive second-round victories, outlasting Wichita State. Contrasting styles here. Indiana will push it when it can; VCU prefers a more deliberate pace.

Prediction:

Indiana 70-65.

AT LOUISVILLE, KY.

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No. 1 Kentucky (33-2) vs. No. 8 Iowa State (24-10),

6:45 p.m.

The Cyclones hammered defending national champion Connecticut, but can Royce White, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds against the Huskies, be as effective against Kentucky? Scott Christopherson made all three of his three-pointers on Thursday, but Kentucky’s defense won’t be as generous.

Prediction:

Kentucky 78-65

AT ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

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No. 3 Baylor (28-7) vs. No. 11 Colorado (24-11),

7:40 p.m.

The teams are familiar with each other. Baylor beat the Buffaloes in Waco last year when both were Big 12 members. The Bears are going to need more than two points from Perry Jones III. How does Colorado lose its top two players from last year (Alec Burks and Cory Higgins), a year in which it didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament, and get there this year? By joining the Pac-12 and winning the league tournament.

Prediction:

Baylor 75-66

WEST AT LOUISVILLE, KY.

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No. 3 Marquette (26-7) vs. No. 6 Murray State (31-1),

4:15 p.m.,

The Golden Eagles were among the most impressive second-round winners, pounding BYU by 20 behind Jae Crowder’s 25 points and 16 rebounds. Murray State got a boost from former coach Billy Kennedy, now at Texas A, who was at the Yum Center to watch the Racers roll past Colorado State.

Prediction:

Marquette 84-79

AT PORTLAND, ORE.

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o. 4 Louisville (27-9) vs. No. 5 New Mexico (28-6),

8:40 p.m.

Louisville guard Peyton Siva loves being in Portland. He’s from Washington and has plenty of friends and family cheering him on at the Rose Garden. He had 17 points and six assists against Davidson. New Mexico came up big against everybody’s upset-special team, Long Beach State, overcoming a deficit with 5 minutes to play.

Prediction:
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