Sunday Madness Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Sunday, March 22.
USC at Michigan State, 5:00PM ET
In NCAA tournaments past, a matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-10 usually meant contrasting styles.
In the Big Ten, a pair of brass knuckles often would get you further than a silky smooth jumper.
In the Pac-10, freewheeling finesse was preferred to football on the hardwood.
But when second-seeded Michigan State plays 10th-seeded USC on Sunday in the second round of the Midwest Regional, don't expect any floating and stinging from the Pac-10 tournament champions. These two teams are a lot closer than the 2,200 miles that separates the two campuses.
The Trojans have made a renewed commitment to defense and rebounding since Tim Floyd took over as coach four seasons ago. The former Iowa State coach has injected this Hollywood squad with some toughness from the heartland, and it has never been more evident than in USC's six-game winning streak.
Marquette at Missouri, 4:50PM ET
Marquette coach Buzz Williams isn't so fond of the term ``career suicide.''
But how else to describe bailing out of a head coaching job - the job you worked your whole life for - after a single season to move into an assistant's role with no apparent future?
That's what Williams did. Yet somehow, he emerged in a better spot than where he started. Only two years after suddenly quitting at University of New Orleans to be an assistant for Marquette, Williams is the head coach of those Golden Eagles.
If he can direct sixth-seeded Marquette (25-9) to an upset over third-seeded Missouri (29-6) on Sunday, Williams will have a spot on the bench in the West Regional semifinals at the age of 36.
Wisconsin at Xavier, 2:20PM ET
Trevon Hughes knows results - not razzle-dazzle - come first at Wisconsin.
He provided both Friday night, hitting a game-winning shot to send the Badgers into the NCAA tournament's second round with a 61-59 overtime win against Florida State. The flashy game Hughes learned growing up in New York City didn't always play well before the folks in Madison, especially coach Bo Ryan.
``Coming out of high school I was pretty flashy, always wanting to try to make the crowd say 'ooh' and 'ahh','' said Hughes, who often found himself benched next to Ryan after being yanked from the game as a freshman.
``I had to make the good play. If I didn't make the good play, guess where I was at? Right next to him again.''
Ryan's message got through, and No. 12 seed Wisconsin (20-12) will play fourth-seeded Xavier (26-7) on Sunday in the West Regional.
Posted: 3/22/09 10:12AM ET