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Mercer (26-8) vs. Duke (26-8) | Time, TV: 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS

  • Why Mercer will win: The Bears fit the mold of a mid-major team capable of pulling off a big early round upset. They're a veteran-laden team — they start five seniors — led by a dynamic scorer, Langston Hall, who has scored 20 or more points 11 times this season. Coach Bob Hoffman and his players are not starstruck by Duke, and they won't be overwhelmed by the idea of playing in the NCAA tournament. They're confident (Hoffman said Duke was "not a traditional power conference team … they don't have multiple guys running in that are 6'11" or 6'10" in the center"), experienced against high-major teams and fully capable of pulling off a shocker.

  • Why Duke will win:Talent. The Blue Devils have one of the best one-two punches in all of the country with Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, who together average more than 35 points a game. Parker has been the nation's most impressive, versatile and skilled freshman all season long — as evidenced by the awards he's getting on a daily basis — and will step up on the big stage, just like he always does. Duke's guards will shoot better than they have been lately, and the Blue Devils defense will make enough stops to halt Mercer's enthusiastic upset bid.
  • History lesson:Parker has scored a double-double 14 times this season, which ranks as the most in Duke history by a freshman. Parker is also the school's first freshman first-team All-American.
  • Did you know?Mercer coach and Oklahoma native Hoffman was an assistant at Oklahoma under Kelvin Sampson. When Sampson left for Indiana in 2006, Hoffman became the interim coach and tried to get the head job for good. Instead, Oklahoma hired Jeff Capel, and Capel did not retain Hoffman. Capel is currently a Duke assistant.

2014 TOURNAMENT: Bracket Hub

SCHEDULE: Friday's full list of games

Nebraska (19-12) vs. Baylor (24-11) | Time, TV:12:40 p.m. ET, truTV

  • Why Nebraska will win:

    Few outside Lincoln, Neb., expected the Cornhuskers to be here when the season started. This is their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. The sophomore class, including first-team all-Big Ten selection Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields and Walter Pitchford, accounts for more than 60% of the offense and 55% of the rebounding. The Cornhuskers rely on their defense, which ranks 29th nationally in efficiency. They struggle with offensive rebounds and especially with defending inside the three-point arc.

  • Why Baylor will win:

    Scott Drew has had more talented teams at Baylor. But this team has great camaraderie, great length and several scoring options. The Bears, who started 2-8 in Big 12 play, have been a better team now that point guard Kenny Chery is healthy. Nine of Baylor's 11 losses came against NCAA tournament teams. Baylor has been out-rebounded only eight times in 35 games. The Bears are 24-5 when holding opponents under 50% shooting and 0-6 when allowing 50% or better.

  • History lesson:

    Baylor lost to the eventual national champion in four of its seven NCAA championships (1946, 1948, 2010, 2012).

  • Did you know?

    Baylor has won 94% of its games when leading at the half since 2011-12. The Bears are 59-4 when leading through the first 20 minutes in that stretch, including 16-2 this season.

Stanford (21-12) vs. New Mexico (27-6) | Time, TV: 1:40 p.m. ET, TBS

  • Why Stanford will win:

    This Cardinal team is well-tested. It has played 16 of its 33 games against NCAA tournament teams. It is 7-9 in those 16 games and 3-2 vs. top 25 teams. It will counter New Mexico's inside muscle with good shooting. Stanford has four starters averaging double figures in scoring, led by junior guard Chasson Randle with 18.7 points a game. He's shooting 48.5% from the floor, and the Stanford team is shooting 46.4 percent.

  • Why New Mexico will win:

    The Lobos have too much inside power for Stanford. The big men inside for the Mountain West tournament champions are senior Cameron Bairstow (6-9, 250) and junior Alex Kirk (7-0, 245). They have combined for 16.1 rebounds a game. Stanford has had fewer than 30 rebounds in three of its last four games, including 22 in a loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 semifinals. The Lobos were 13-2 at home this season in The Pit, but they also are 6-1 at neutral sites. Stanford was 3-3 at neutral sites.

  • History lesson:

    New Mexico has a score to settle with universities with lofty academic reputations. Last year as a No. 3 seed the Lobos were upset by Harvard. Now they face Stanford, which the New Mexico website notes is sometimes called the "Harvard of the West."
  • Did you know? Bairstow is a native of Brisbane, Australia. He honed his skills at the Australian Institute of Sport, which also produced NBA player Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors. Bairstow helped Australia to a silver medal at the 2013 World University Games.

VIDEO: East Region roundup

VIDEO: South Region roundup

Weber State (19-11) vs. Arizona (30-4) | Time, TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, TNT

Massachusetts (24-8) vs. Tennessee (22-12) | Time, TV: 2:45 p.m. ET, CBS

Louisiana-Lafayette (23-11) vs. Creighton (26-7) | Time, TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, truTV

VIDEO: West Region roundup

VIDEO: West Region roundup

Eastern Kentucky (24-9) vs. Kansas (24-9) | Time, TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, TBS

Oklahoma State (21-12) vs. Gonzaga (28-6) | Time, TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, TNT

George Washington (24-8) vs. Memphis (23-9) | Time, TV: 6:55 p.m. ET, TBS

Cal Poly (14-19) vs. Wichita State (34-0) | Time, TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS

Providence (23-11) vs. North Carolina (23-9) | Time, TV: 7:20 p.m. ET, TNT

Stephen F. Austin (31-2) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) | Time, TV: 7:27 p.m. ET, truTV

Coastal Carolina (21-12) vs. Virginia (28-6) | Time, TV: 9:25 p.m. ET, TBS

Why Virginia will win:

Kansas State (20-12) vs. Kentucky (24-10) | Time, TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, CBS

North Carolina Central (28-5) vs. Iowa State (26-7) | Time, TV: 9:50 p.m. ET, TNT

Tulsa (21-12) vs. UCLA (26-8) | Time, TV: 9;57 p.m. ET, truTV

ALL THE SECOND-ROUND NCAA TOURNAMENT ACTION

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