MIDWEST REGION, FIRST ROUND
Who: No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona
When: Friday, 11 a.m.
Line: Oregon by 14 1/2
Three things to watch:
Big game jitters: Iona hails from the East Coast, in New Rochelle, N.Y., to be specific, so travel is one thing, and though it went 18-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, it is not to be confused with a power conference such as the Pacific-12. So the pressure is on ... Oregon, naturally. That’s how the Gaels see it, and it’s true. The higher seeds with shorter road trips bear the greater burden.
Casimir cruiser: Redshirt sophomore guard Schadrac Casimir has endured all sorts of injuries, including double hip surgery and a hernia operation last offseason. He’s still rounding into full health, though he has played his best games lately. Iona needs him at his very best to offset Oregon’s fleet of runners.
Fast forward: Both teams prefer a breakneck pace, and two headliners will be Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Iona forward Jordan Washington. The faster team wins.