Round of 64
(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Manhattan/Hampton
The Jaspers will likely topple Hampton in the first round, but their fun ends there. The real question is whether Kentucky will double Manhattan's score.
(8) Cincinnati vs. (9) Purdue
The Boilermakers have not faced a team this season that limits second chance opportunities and causes such disruption to opposing offenses the way Cincinnati does. Look for the Bearcats to control the tempo and fluster Purdue's backcourt.
(5) West Virginia vs. (12) Buffalo
The Mountaineers rely on forcing turnovers to create offense, but Buffalo takes excellent care of the basketball. The Bulls not only led both Kentucky and Wisconsin at halftime, but they have now rattled off eight consecutive wins en route to becoming MAC champions.
(4) Maryland vs. (13) Valparaiso
The Terps have one of the premier backcourts in the country. So long as they don't let Valpo pound them too badly on the glass, they should be marching on to the next round.
(6) Butler vs. (11) Texas
Both teams excel at rebounding and defense. Whoever is more successful at limiting their opponent's offensive opportunities will win this game. With Butler sliding and Texas's tournament starting last week, look for the Longhorns to advance.
(3) Notre Dame vs. (14) Northeastern
Northeastern may keep this one close if it can rebound like it has all season long, but if Notre Dame continues to shoot the way it did in the ACC Tournament this one won't even be close.
Pick: Notre Dame
(7) Wichita State vs. (10) Indiana
Indiana's three point shooting will need to be on if the Hoosiers want any chance of advancing. But behind tournament-tested veterans Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton, look for the Shockers to put Indiana away down the stretch.
Pick: Wichita State
(2) Kansas vs. (15) New Mexico State
In a similar tale to last season, injuries have wounded Kansas' frontcourt. As New Mexico State, who is riding a 13 game winning streak, is one of the top rebounding teams in the country, Kansas may be in store for a greater challenge than most anticipate.
Round of 32
(1) Kentucky vs. (8) Cincinnati
The Bearcats' defense may keep it close for a while, but ultimately Kentucky's offense will generate a run that Cincy is incapable of matching.
(12) Buffalo vs. (4) Maryland
Guard play is at a premium in this one. Buffalo's Shannon Evans, who has scored double-digit points in all but five games this season and averages about five assists per game, faces off versus the two-headed monster of Melo Trimble and Dez Wells. Maryland's backcourt proves too much for Buffalo to handle as the Terps advance.
(11) Texas vs. (3) Notre Dame
The nation's top two-point scoring offense in Notre Dame faces off against the nation's top two-point scoring defense in Texas. But with such a size advantage, the Longhorns dominate the glass and alter shots at the rim.
(7) Wichita State vs. (2) Kansas
Once again, Kansas' banged up frontcourt plays a factor. Wichita State's excellent rebounding and interior defensive ultimately highlight the Jayhawk's frontcourt deficiencies.
Pick: Wichita State
(1) Kentucky vs. (4) Maryland
Melo Trimble needs to have the game of his career, both scoring and facilitating, if the Terps have any hopes delivering the Cats their first loss. But Kentucky's frontcourt proves too dominant and the Cats move to 37-0.
(11) Texas vs. (7) Wichita State
The Longhorn's Achilles heal this season has been their ability to take care of the ball. Wichita State's ability to create turnovers proves too costly for Texas and the Longhorn's magical run ends in the Sweet Sixteen.
Pick: Wichita State
(1) Kentucky vs. (7) Wichita State
Oh how the roles have reversed. This time last year, the Shockers sat undefeated on the one-line, only to be eliminated in thrilling fashion versus the eight seeded Wildcats. The two deliver another instant classic, but Kentucky's size and depth lead to the same result as 2014.