Colleges

JOE SULLIVAN

Handicapping Saturday’s NCAA games

gene sweeney jr./getty
Saint Mary’s was all over Virginia Commonwealth in its first-round win.

EAST REGION

at Buffalo

1. Villanova (32-2) vs. 8. Wisconsin (26-9), 2:40 p.m., CBS: Villanova’s players were practically yawning as they eased past Mount St. Mary’s; not exactly scintillating. Wisconsin showed some real grit in eliminating Virginia Tech. It was just the type of game the Badgers win — that is, not especially easy on the eyes. Look at it this way: Claude Julien probably likes the Badgers. To pull off the upset, they’re going to have to create the same type of situation.

at Orlando

5. Virginia (23-10) vs. 4. Florida (25-8), 8:40 p.m., TNT: Both teams played better than I thought they would in the first round. They were challenged by good mid-major teams and were able to overcome. London Perrantes carried the Cavaliers to victory. Florida needs to speed up the game; not sure it’s capable of making Virginia do that.

WEST REGION

at Salt Lake City

1. Gonzaga (33-1) vs. 8. Northwestern (24-11), 5:15 p.m., CBS: Northwestern is lucky to be here, because a Vanderbilt player didn’t know the score. But of such things surprising tournament runs are made. I still think the Zags are vulnerable, but Northwestern has to make sure its opponent doesn’t dominate inside and on the boards.

Advertisement

2. Arizona (31-4) vs. 7. Saint Mary’s (29-4), 7:40, CBS: The Gaels impressively countered the assault-and-battery approach of VCU in the first round; they’ll probably feel much more freedom against Zona. If the Gaels defend well enough, this has the possibility of being a tight game and even an upset.

at Buffalo

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

4. West Virginia (27-8) vs. 5. Notre Dame (26-9), 12:10 p.m. CBS: The Irish were kind of dull Thursday; they’d better be sharp against West Virginia’s press. I’m not sure they have the ballhandlers or the depth to deal with West Virginia’s high-pressure defense. Irish point guard Matt Farrell will be under attack; he needs to be strong.

at Orlando

3. Florida State (26-8) vs. 11. Xavier (22-13), 6:10 p.m., TNT: The Seminoles are an aggressive offensive team and will force the issue with the Muskies; not sure X can handle them defensively. Florida State needs to make sure X’s Trevon Bluiett doesn’t go off offensively.

MIDWEST REGION

at Milwaukee

4. Purdue (26-7) vs. 5. Iowa State (24-10), 9:40 p.m., TBS: The Boilermakers have a size advantage over everyone, and opponents have to deal with it. Iowa State lacks size, so the Cyclones have to turn this into a full-court game, looking for easy shots before Purdue can set up its defense.

SOUTH REGION

at Milwaukee

4. Butler (24-8) vs. 12. Middle Tennessee (31-4), 7:10 p.m. TBS: Middle’s first-round victory over Minnesota was no upset, and it won’t be when they win here. Two of Middle’s three best players, Giddy Potts and JaCorey Williams, did not play well against Minnesota. I don’t think that will happen again. The Blue Raiders are the second-most-underrated team in the tournament behind Wichita State.

JOE SULLIVAN

Joe Sullivan can be reached at jtsullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan