As quickly as stars are made in the NCAA Tournament, they can fade away. It's a fate that might await Siena guard Ronald Moore today.
Moore's heroics Friday night produced one of the best moments of the tournament, and as a reward the Saints get a shot at Louisville, the top overall seed in the field.
The Cardinals are 111/2-point favorites over Siena in a Midwest Region second-round game at Dayton, Ohio, and handicapper Kelso Sturgeon is not expecting another dramatic ending or upset.
Moore lifted the ninth-seeded Saints to a 74-72 double-overtime victory over Ohio State by hitting a 3-pointer in the final seconds of each overtime.
Siena, champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, closed as a 2-point underdog in the first round. Sturgeon said the Saints barely have a prayer against Louisville (29-5).
"The number on this game is an open invitation to take Siena and the points, but I shall decline," Sturgeon said. "This has blowout written all over it, and the reality of the situation and the figures say Louisville will win by 18 to 19 points.
"The Cardinals already have done the seemingly impossible by winning both the Big East regular-season and tournament championships. When a team can twice take the measure of the likes of Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Villanova and Syracuse, the message is loud and clear. This is one outstanding basketball team."
Louisville, 21-2 straight up since losing to UNLV on New Year's Eve, has no shortage of stars with Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and Samardo Samuels.
Sturgeon said several factors are against the Saints.
"Siena was exhausted at the end of its win over Ohio State, and my figures say it has enough gas left in the tank to slug it out with Louisville for 10 to 15 minutes, and that's it. First the focused mind goes, followed shortly thereafter by the body," said Sturgeon (kelsosportshandicapping.com).
"The Cardinals press full court for most of the game and will wear out this tired Saints team early and then turn the big dogs loose."
Louisville beat Morehead State 74-54 in its opener but led by only two at halftime.
"There will be no flirting with fate in this one. It will be a Louisville team in high gear from the get-go," said Sturgeon, who analyzes his play for an East Region game today in Dayton:
• Oklahoma State (+8) over Pittsburgh: The Cowboys are 8-2 in their past 10 games, and in their past three they have beaten Tennessee and Oklahoma while losing to Missouri in the Big 12 tournament final.
While the Panthers have superior talent, Oklahoma State is playing its best right now. The Cowboys have 11 losses, but were beaten by 12 or more points by only five teams, and those teams -- Gonzaga, Michigan State, Washington, Texas A&M and Texas -- all made the NCAA Tournament.
I have the utmost respect for Pittsburgh, but the Panthers are running into a team that is playing with great confidence. Pittsburgh probably will win, but it won't be easy.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907.