NCAA Tournament 3rd round preview, picks, and open thread - day games

Round 3: Saturday’s Games. Who do you have? Here's our look at today's games. The afternoon games will come in the next thread...

East Region

12.15 PM (4) Kentucky vs. (5) West Virginia

RK: On Thursday, the Mountaineers put up a day high 84 points against Clemson while Kentucky squeaked by Princeton. West Virginia can dominate the boards with Deniz Kilicli, Kevin Jones, and John Flowers, but I like Calipari to win the rematch of last year's Elite Eight. The Wildcats won with their star freshman Brandon Knight scoring just two points. Now that he has the nerves out, he should step it up another level with Terrence Jones. Look for Josh Harrelson as well inside to dominate the boards. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Princeton, one of his best games as a Wildcat.

PD: Between West Virginia's shoddy ballhandling - the sloppy stretches of Daryl Bryant and the sometimes unfluid motion of the forwards in the paint - I don't see the Mountaineers being able to contend with Kentucky's length and skill. Then again, Kentucky is young, and a little slim. Still, I expect the Wildcats to defend the interior a bit better than they did against Princeton and get some points from Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb.

The pick: West Virginia Mountaineers

Southeast Region 2.45 PM (2) Florida vs. (7) UCLA

RK: The Bruins nearly had one of the biggest collapses in tournament history against Michigan State on Thursday. However, the Bruins have developed a frontcourt that will challenge Florida inside with Tyler Honeycutt's scoring, Reeves Nelson's rebounding, and Joshua Smith in the paint. But, they struggle to hit their free throws, which will hurt them in a virtual road game in Tampa. I trust Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton more than Malcolm Lee and Lazeric Jones. Donovan gets it done!

PD: I don't know if anyone could pick the UCLA Bruins after they gagged away most of their lead against a mediocre Michigan State team. That game was disturbing to watch for UCLA fans - the inconsistency of the team is so jarring. I don't think Florida will back down to the Bruins' size inside; and Reeves Nelson's all-hustle game will be the x-factor. Could be a sloppy game. But if the Gators can defend without sending the Bruins to the free throw line, the game should be theirs.

The pick: Florida Gators

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