Previewing Big 12 Teams in the Sweet 16 - Predictions and Commentary

THURSDAY

(2) Kansas St vs (6) Xavier - 9:37p ET

December 8, 2009. Manhattan, KS. Score: K-State 71 Xavier 56
There is no reason to think that this game will be any different. Sure, Xavier has gotten better, but so has K-State. In that first match-up Jacob Pullen scored 16 pts (14 in the second half) and was followed closely by Curtis Kelly's 15. Denis Clemente was held to 8 pts, his third lowest output of the season.

This time around, tough, I foresee the Pullen/Clemente guard combination pouring in 30+ total points. The Musketeers won't have enough fire power to respond and K-State will be playing again on Saturday.

FRIDAY

(3) Baylor vs (10) St Mary's - 7:27p ET

The face of the NCAA tournament's first weekend might very well be St Mary's Omar Samhan. The center averaged 201.5 ppg and 10.9 rpg during the regular season, as the Gaels went 11-3 in the WCC. But those who haven't been paying attention will notice a different center in this game, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh. Udoh's defense will be the difference in this one.

Forcing Samhan out of his game will make the Gaels run a different style of offense and will make them take ill-advised shots. This all leads to easy looks on the other end from either Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn, or the Bears' other center Josh Lomers.

It has been a nice run for St. Mary's, but Cinderella's slipper will crack against better Baylor team.

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