Hi’s Eye staffers pick Friday’s games

7 Cincinnati vs. 10 Iowa – 12:15 (CBS)

Adam’s Pick: Cincinnati

Many were surprised with the Bearcats only receiving a 7-seed given their success during the season, which included winning the AAC tournament. Iowa, on the other hand, ended their season on a sour note. Led by their defense, Cincinnati moves on and figures to cause more havoc for its next opponent.

8 Ole Miss vs. 9 Oklahoma – 12:40 (truTV)

Jared’s Pick: Ole Miss

Both teams limp into the big dance, with Oklahoma losers of 8 of their past 12 games and Ole Miss 5 of their past 7. The Rebels’ talented backcourt of Breein Tyree and Terence Davis should lead them past the Sooners, who struggle to find consistent scoring besides Christian James.

3 Texas Tech vs. 14 Northern Kentucky – 1:30 (TNT)

Adam’s Pick: Texas Tech

Despite their premature loss in the Big 12 tournament, Texas Tech seems primed to make a deep run this year due to their depth and tenacious defense. Northern Kentucky just doesn’t have the talent to compete with Jarrett Culver and the Red Raiders, so expect an easy win for Texas Tech.

4 Kansas State vs. 13 UC Irvine – 2:00 (TBS)

Sam’s Pick: Kansas State

UC Irvine dominated their conference this year, winning 30 games and their conference title. Nonetheless, the Anteaters will fall short to a dominant and tournament-ready Kansas State team. If Kansas State plays with the fire and tenacity that they showed glimpses of throughout the season, they will win this game.

2 Tennessee vs. 15 Colgate – 2:45 (CBS)

Jared’s Pick: Tennessee

A quick congratulations to Colgate, who finds itself in the Big Dance for the first time since the days of Adonal Foyle. A bad matchup awaits with Tennessee, however. Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield will be too much for the Raiders to handle, moving the Volunteers on to the round of 32.

1 Virginia vs. 16 Gardner Webb – 3:10 (truTV)

Jared’s Pick: Virginia

It can’t happen again, can it? As UMBC taught us last year, never deem anything impossible. Yet Virginia is one of the best teams in the country, riding a stifling defense and potent three-point shooting to 29 wins. Sorry, Gardner Webb: the glass slipper doesn’t quite fit.

6 Buffalo vs. 11 Arizona State – 4:00 (TNT)

Jared’s Pick: Buffalo

The Bulls return three of their top four scorers from last year’s tournament squad, which pulled off a stunning upset over Arizona in the round of 64. CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins are a formidable 1-2 punch and Buffalo has enough offensive weapons to trump its opponent.

5 Wisconsin vs. 12 Oregon – 4:30 (TBS)

Jared’s Pick: Oregon

Few teams are playing better basketball than Dana Altman’s Ducks, whose magic will be put to the test against a tough Wisconsin team. This one figures to be a defensive battle, with both teams holding opponents to less than 65 points per game. Ultimately, look for Payton Pritchard to hit the big shots and keep Oregon alive, completing the classic 12-5 upset.

8 Utah State vs. 9 Washington – 6:50 (TNT)

Adam’s Pick: Utah State

The 8-9 matchups are always a coin flip. Utah State has had arguably its best season in program history, led by Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta, while Washington was the top dog in the Pac-12. In the end, Utah State tames the Huskies and advances in an effort to be this year’s Cinderella.

1 Duke vs. 16 North Dakota State – 7:10 (CBS)

Jared’s Pick: Duke

Zion Williamson showed no rust returning from his knee injury last week, leading Duke to an ACC tournament title and taking home MVP honors. This is just a warm up game for Zion and the Blue Devils, who enter the tournament as favorites to win it all.

3 Houston vs. 14 Georgia State – 7:20 (TBS)

Sam’s Pick: Houston

After losing in the AAC final to Cincinnati, Houston will bounce back with a win against Georgia State. The Cougars only lost three games this season and it won’t be four any time soon. Georgia State will struggle against a talented Houston team led by dynamic scorer Corey Davis Jr..

5 Mississippi State vs. 12 Liberty – 7:27 (truTV)

Sam’s Pick: Mississippi State

Mississippi State held their own in the tough SEC, going 10-8 in conference play. They are led by guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, who averages 18.2 points per game. With this being only Liberty’s fourth appearance in the tournament ever, Mississippi State will win easily.

1 North Carolina vs. 16 Iona – 9:20 (TNT)

Jared’s Pick: North Carolina

Iona is becoming a tournament staple out of the MAAC, making their fourth straight appearance. They’re winless in those previous three appearances, and that trend is likely to continue against a talented North Carolina team. Look for Coby White to push the tempo for the Tar Heels.

8 VCU vs. 9 UCF – 9:40 (CBS)

Sam’s Pick: UCF

Although VCU had a strong season and has a history of success in the tournament, they will fall short to a talented UCF team. 7’6” center Tacko Fall will be hard to stop both on the boards and in the paint and should lead the Knights to victory.

6 Iowa State vs. 11 Ohio State – 9:50 (TBS)

Jared’s Pick: Iowa State

While the selection committee might have done the Buckeyes a favor by including them in the field of 68, the help stopped there. Led by Virginia transfer Marial Shayok, the high-flying Cyclones, fresh off a Big-12 Tournament Title, will prove to be too much for Ohio State to handle on the offensive end.

4 Virginia Tech vs. 13 Saint Louis – 9:57 (truTV)

Adam’s Pick: Virginia Tech

The Billikens of Saint Louis crashed the tournament with a win in the A-10 championship, but with a lackluster offensive attack will fall short against Virginia Tech. The Hokies are an efficient bunch, as they rank among the top shooting teams in the nation, and with star guard Justin Robinson slated to return from injury, will blow by the Billikens.