Friday's NCAA Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Friday, March 27.
Arizona at Louisville, 7:05PM ET
Arizona coach Russ Pennell will play this weekend by the book.
Rick Pitino's book.
He's savoring every moment in Indianapolis, from the open shootaround to the usually dreaded news conferences, fully understanding Friday night's game against top-seeded Louisville could be his first and only chance to lead a team into the regional finals.
So the man with the interim title spent Thursday blunting questions about his uncertain future by focusing on the present. Or what Pitino once described as the precious present.
Kansas at Michigan State, 9:35PM ET
The Kansas Jayhawks say they've grown as a team since a double-digit loss in January at Michigan State. They'll find out how far they've come when they face the Spartans again in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals on Friday.
Michigan State defeated Kansas 75-62 on Jan. 10 in East Lansing, Mich., after the young Jayhawks fell behind 37-18 at halftime. Kansas center Cole Aldrich said things should be different now.
``We've matured a lot,'' he said. ``It was our second road game, so we didn't quite understand everything about being on the road. We've learned so many different things from Coach (Bill Self) and really understood the game a little more.''
Kansas did just about everything wrong in that loss. The Jayhawks shot just 40 percent, got outrebounded 42-31 and got little production aside from Sherron Collins' 25 points.
But Kansas bounced back to win 13 of its next 14 games, and eventually, the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season title. Because of that success, Self doesn't plan to make any major changes in his approach for the rematch.
Gonzaga at North Carolina, 9:55PM ET
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -Josh Heytvelt and his teammates are ready to turn back the clock - to those days when Gonzaga was the dark horse that seemed to come out of nowhere every March.
``It's kind of nice to be the underdog,'' Heytvelt said Thursday. ``Most of the season we've had the bull's-eye on our back - through our conference and a lot of preseason games. There's a lot of hype for Carolina. The fans don't expect anything but a championship from those guys.''
Gonzaga was the higher seed for its first two victories in this year's NCAA tournament.
That's about to change in a big way.
Up next is top-seeded North Carolina, the preseason favorite to win the national title and one of college basketball's most storied programs. The Tar Heels are seeking their 99th NCAA tournament victory, which would break a tie with Kentucky for the most by any school.
For Heytvelt and the Bulldogs, this is all a little refreshing.
Posted: 3/27/12:39 AM ET