From 68 to 16: March Madness 2017 First Weekend Primer

7 of 17

Pod #2 – Buffalo, New York

Colors Location Record RPI
#4 West Virginia Mountaineers Blue, Old Gold Morgantown, WV 26-8 24
#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Blue, Gold Notre Dame, IN 25-9 23
#12 Princeton Tigers Black, Orange Princeton, NJ 23-6 50
#13 Bucknell Bison Blue, Orange Lewisburg, PA 26-8 63

#4 West Virginia vs. #13 Bucknell — Thursday, 2:45 p.m., CBS

Line: West Virginia (-16.5)

FiveThirtyEight: West Virginia (90%)

The Bison have won 17 of their last 20 games and have held their opponents to 67.4 points per game. The Mountaineers, however, score 82 points per game and they utilize the press to force the most turnovers per possession in the league.

#5 Notre Dame vs. #12 Princeton —Thursday, 12:15 p.m., CBS

Line: Notre Dame (-7)

FiveThirtyEight: Notre Dame (75%)

Princeton swept the Ivy League regular season and tournament titles without a loss and earned a 12-seed as a result. The Tigers exhibit some very strong Cinderella characteristics, such as shooting well from outside and not turning the ball over, and the Ivy League has had some excellent dancers in recent years. However, Notre Dame has been playing well in recent weeks, Bonzie Colson is averaging a double-double and the team commits only nine turnovers per game. This is one of the most intriguing 5 vs. 12 matchups. The two teams have some similarities and if they had drawn other matchups they would both likely be trendy picks to make a run.

Second Round Outlook

This pod is wide open. If Princeton or Notre Dame can hit its shots and win the turnover battle, they can make it to the second weekend. If West Virginia can force its opponents into mistakes with its press, they can advance. If Bucknell can lock down defensively, they can pull off the upset. The winner of this pod will likely make for an interesting matchup with Gonzaga, assuming the Bulldogs make it to the second weekend as well.