The East Region is officially insane. With the bubble as soft as it was for this NCAA Tournament, coupled with the few amount of upsets in the First Round, it was only fitting that the Second Round match-ups were as good as they were.
Eighth-seeded Wisconsin took out No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova in a second-round game Saturday, and No. 7 MI ousted No. 2 Louisville on Sunday. This region might actually end up with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds reaching the Elite Eight, and I think this could be the year the Zags finally reach the first Final Four in school history.
The top two seeds are alive in the West and South, while the Midwest lost second-seeded Louisville. This majestic league just sent one-third as many teams to the Sweet 16 as the football-first – and what appeared the football-only – SEC. All three are top 10 in the nation in that regard. That does not mean there haven’t been upsets or incredible moments, but the power conferences (outside the ACC) have really shown up this season, and with that, here are my Sweet 16 and beyond predictions.
“It’s like we deserved to go to the Sweet 16, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be”. Berry is North Carolina’s second-leading scorer with 14.4 points per game. Next up is Purdue, which has a plus-7 rebound margin this season to rank 13th nationally. Just how often will the Mountaineers be able to get into that press. And Florida? The Gators laid waste to East Tennessee State and Virginia on the path to Madison Square Garden.
Clutch player: Malik Monk, Kentucky.
Butler is shooting 47.1 percent (16 of 34) from beyond the arc in the tournament, well above its season percentage of.369. Arizona is a 7.5 point favorite against Xavier.
However, some may argue this Sweet 16 is also lacking; lacking teams that feel they were beaten by the refs in Northwestern and St Mary’s.
In fact, the ACC’s performance over the first week of the Big Dance was so abysmal that it’s likely to make everyone – or at least everyone who’s sane and not trying to garner attention for work purposes – think twice about making any sort of bold preseason proclamations about conference superiority anytime soon. “Because you’ve got to remember, this is a one-and-done”. They were 12 of 46 in the first two tourney games.
7 MI aims for an eighth-straight SU win when they take on No. 3 OR as 1.5-point betting favourites. I expect the Bruins to beat the Wildcats. “They’re a great team”.
Namely No. 3 UCLA vs.
Arizona and Xavier met in the 2015 Sweet 16, with the Wildcats winning 68-60 in a hard-fought game in Los Angeles.
Many counted out the Musketeers after guard Edmond Sumner sustained a season-ending knee injury in late January.
After being bounced in the first round in each of the past two seasons, the Bears look angry – and talented.
Senior guard Dusty Hannahs said there was no consolation in playing such a competitive game against the No. 1 seed Tar Heels.
It was supposedly a down year for the Big Ten. In between, No. 4 Purdue defeated No. 5 Iowa State.
It took a bit longer than we’re used to, but eventually this NCAA Tournament gave us the stunners we’re used to seeing this time of year.
Here’s a look at each regional heading into the Sweet 16. Miami went down in the first round to Michigan State on Friday, but that still left seven teams out of the final 32.
“Press” Virginia’s high-pressure, full-court defense is the key to any upset the rest of the way.
Nine ACC teams heard their names called on Selection Sunday, marking a conference record.
A recent Sports Illustrated study noted the number of players to make similar moves since 2012 has more than tripled. North Carolina lost to Georgia Tech.
Sumner averaged 15.0 points this season. They have played teams like SC and beaten them, and they are gaining steam again.