Second Round NCAA Tournament Game Intrigue Rankings

My first round intrigue rankings were a big hit and I enjoyed doing them so I thought I would try again here in round 2. Here is my (mostly objective/slightly subjective) ranking of second round games from most anticipated to least anticipated. The main factors considered were: the possibility of an upset, likelihood of a close game, and the existence of other story lines that enhance the appeal of a particular game. If I have the chance, I will create a second list and post it on the blog which ranks each of these games after they are played.

1(1) Illinois vs. (8) Loyola Chicago- Sun 12:10 (CBS): Bankers Life Fieldhouse– the Battle of Illinois, the Return of Sister Jean, up tempo vs. slow tempo; this game has too many storylines not to be # 1; however, I am slightly worried it won’t end up being very close.
2(7) Florida vs. (15) Oral Roberts- Sun 7:45 (TruTV)- Indiana Farmers Coliseum– the Golden Eagles will try to make history by becoming the second # 2 to make it to the Sweet 16
3(11) UCLA vs. (14) Abilene Chrstian- Mon 5:15 (TBS)Bankers Life Fieldhouse– this game will be a low-scoring rock right but I think the Wildcats may have the best chance of any of the current Cinderellas to win a second game.
4(5) Creighton vs. (13) Ohio- Mon 6:10 (TNT)- Hinkle Fieldhouse- the Bobcats have a real shot of replicating their 2012 performance and reaching the Sweet 16 as a 13 seed again.
5(5) Villanova vs. (13) North Texas- Sun 8:45 (TNT): Bakers Life Fieldhouse- Conference USA has looked so good in the postseason thus far as North Texas, Western Kentucky, and Louisiana Tech all pulled upsets off in the first round games of their respective tournaments.
6(4) Oklahoma State vs. (12) Oregon State- Sun 9:40 (TBS): Hinkle Fieldhouse– the Battle of OSUs with matching orange and black color schemes will be very interesting if the Beavers continue their red-hot pay.
7(2) Houston vs. (10) Rutgers- Sun. 7:10 (TBS)- Lucas Oil Stadium– can the Scarlet Knight magic continue?
8(2) Iowa vs. (7) Oregon- Mon 12:10 (CBS)- Bankers Life Fieldhouse- the Ducks are only a four point underdog but it will be interesting to see how they play after becoming the first squad in a 64-68 team NCAA tournament bracket not to play a first round game.
9(1) Gonzaga vs. (8) Oklahoma- Mon 2:40 (CBS)- Hinkle Fieldhouse- the Sooners proved they could play with the best of the best in their rugged Big 12 schedule; this game may end up being much closer than the experts think
10(1) Michigan vs. (8) LSU- Mon 7:10 (CBS)- Lucas Oil Stadium- another intriguing 1/8 battle where the 8 seed comes in as a very live dog.
11(3) West Virginia vs. (11) Syracuse- Sun 5:15 (CBS): Bankers Life Fieldhouse- Both of these teams have been shooting the lights out of arenas recently. Should be a fun battle.
12(3) Kansas vs. (6) Southern Cal- Mon 9:40 (CBS): Hinkle Fieldhouse- I don’t really understand why the 3 seed is an underdog in this game
13(3) Arkansas vs. (6) Texas Tech- Sun. 6:10 (TNT): Hinkle Fieldhouse- see comment above about Kansas/USC game
14(4) Florida State vs. (5) Colorado- Mon 7:45 (TBS): Indiana Farmers Coliseum– this could be a classic nip and tuck slugfest between two evenly matched, physical teamas
15(2) Alabama vs. (10) Maryland- Mon 8:45 (TNT)- Bankers Life Fieldhouse- I think Bama has too much firepower for the Terps to keep this one close for very long.
16(1) Baylor vs. (9) Wisconsin- Sun 2:40 (CBS): Hinkle Fieldhouse– the Bears just have too many athletes for the Badgers. I can’t see this game being close.
Illinois vs. Loyola-Chicago: Preview and prediction for March matchup -  SBNation.com

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