Saturday Madness Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Saturday, March 21.
Michigan at Oklahoma, 5:50PM ET
Morgan State tried a WWE-style takedown on Blake Griffin without much success. Next it's Michigan's turn to stop Oklahoma's burly forward.
Will the Wolverines try a full nelson? A piledriver? Maybe a folding chair to the back of the head will do the trick.
Nah, Michigan will probably try something more conventional against Griffin, perhaps a few double teams or collapse on him with a zone - and hope it works.
``Oh, boy, it's really hard,'' Michigan coach John Beilein said of slowing down Griffin. ``The individual (defender) has got to be very tough and then you have to play great team defense around him.''
Ameer Ali's attempted body slam of Griffin was one of the stranger moments of the NCAA's first round. It happened Thursday night when the two players got tangled in the second half of Oklahoma's 82-54 rout over Morgan State.
Purdue at Washington, 5:40PM ET
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - No way Justin Dentmon is overwhelmed with being one step from the regional round of the NCAA tournament. He's overcome far too much for that.
``His story is as remarkable as anyone's,'' Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Washington's 23-year-old senior and second-leading scorer grew up in Carbondale, Ill., without knowing his troubled father. He did not meet him until Dentmon was a teenager and the man was in jail.
He overcame living without money. His mother, Stephanie Dentmon, gave birth to him when she was 13. He is still so close to his legal guardian, Charlie Jones, that the Illinois state trooper was in Seattle two weeks ago to be with Dentmon and his mom for his final home game at Washington.
Dentmon also overcame a learning disability that initially made him ineligible to attend Illinois State, as he'd signed to do while bypassing interest from current Purdue coach Matt Painter and hometown Southern Illinois. He went to prep school in Massachusetts to get his grades high enough to qualify, then he sought out Romar, for whom Dentmon had wanted to play when Romar was coaching Saint Louis.
Western Kentucky at Gonzaga, 8:10PM ET
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Western Kentucky has goals that reach beyond the NCAA tournament, and utmost among them is to be consistently considered one of the nation's top mid-majors.
After an unexpected run in last year's tournament and a first-round upset of Illinois, the 12th-seeded Hilltoppers will play in the second round against Gonzaga, a team that represents exactly what they hope emulate.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs are making their 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. In that span they've played to the second round seven times and made it to the round of 16 four times. In 1999, they burst onto the national scene as the scrappy underdogs among the last eight teams standing.
Western Kentucky felt some of that spotlight last season with a tear to the regional semifinals. As the 12th seed, the Hilltoppers first defeated Drake 101-99 on Ty Rogers' 30-foot buzzer-beater, then beat San Diego 72-63 before falling 88-78 to UCLA.
It isn't as if the 'Toppers, as they're sometimes called, came out of nowhere. They've been to the NCAA tournament 21 times. They've made it five times this decade.
Posted: 3/21/09 10:18AM ET