#16 UNC-Asheville v. #16 Arkansas-Little Rock
TIM: I’ve never been to Little Rock, but Asheville’s a heck of a town. I’ve never been there either, but I knew someone from there, and they were pretty cool. Also, UALR was a .500 team in a down year for the Sun Belt.
JOHN: How dare you insult the Sun Belt?! I’m going to pick UALR for three reasons: 1) To be different. 2) I don’t like picking any UNC, no matter where it’s located. 3) Bill Clinton.
#12 UAB v. #12 Clemson
TIM: How about it, John? Not only did I nail that Clemson would make the field unexpectedly before the season, but I also had them in a play-in game! There has been much gnashing of teeth over the selection of UAB, and with good reason. The Tigers are peaking, and strangely enough, I like Brad Brownell — 0-3 in Tourney games — as a coach a lot more than Mike Davis — one-time national runner-up.
JOHN: Man, remember that national title game? Such a boring one… Anyway, I like UAB because it always seems like the teams everyone frets over making the field end up winning a game or two more than they should. This doesn’t justify including the Blazers or anything, but it’s enough for the Tigers’ Tournament winless streak to continue.
#16 UT-San Antonio v. #16 Alabama State
TIM: I haven’t seen them play, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and call Alabama State a terrible team. The Hornets couldn’t win the SWAC — a truly terrible conference that was dominated this season by Texas Southern — and they’ve lost in the play-in game before. UTSA isn’t much better, but their nickname is the Roadrunners, so they’re more fun.
JOHN: Really, their nickname is the Roadrunners? It’s too bad Alabama State’s isn’t “the Coyotes”—that would be fitting. Anyway, I’m picking San Antonio because of the professional play of Tim Duncan and the scoring ability of Manu Ginobili—oh wait…
#11 USC v. #11 VCU
TIM: Is this game in LA or Richmond? Wait, it isn’t the first round of the NIT? VCU’s better than people think (even if its resume isn’t), and they’ll make Trojans 0-2 in the First Four.
JOHN: For understandable reasons, I don’t like the idea of picking VCU, so I’ll take the Trojans.