By: Monte Perez
The NCAA Tournament has really become a lot like the NFL. There are a few upsets here and there but the Sweet 16 is usually the “Who’s-Who” in College Basketball. The two remaining Cinderella’s are the 11 seed Syracuse Orangemen and the 10 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs, both are national powerhouses. 98.7% of march madness office pools had Michigan State winning in the first round, they lost.
The ACC in college basketball has become what the SEC is in college football…Dominant.
6 teams from the ACC are still dancing in the tournament. Below is a preview of all the Sweet 16 games.
#3 Miami Hurricanes vs. #2 Villanova Wildcats.
The Wildcats took a major step forward getting to the Sweet 16. For the first time this decade, Villanova made it past the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend under head coach Jay Wright. Miami is in the Sweet 16 for the first time in the programs history. Seniors Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan have been dynamic in the first two games. Rodriguez is averaging 26 PPG and McClellan is scoring 19 PPG.
Prediction: I like the Miami’s backcourt to lead the Hurricanes to a close victory 78-75.
#3 Texas A&M Aggies vs. # 2 Oklahoma Sooners.
The Sooners are led by guard Buddy Hield, he single handedly carried Oklahoma to a victory over VCU. Hield scored 36 points and had 7 rebounds. He never shy’s away from the big shot and wants the ball at crunch team. If you missed the Texas A &M, Northern Illinois second round game, you missed a classic. The Aggies made a dramatic comeback and won in double overtime.
Prediction: I like Oklahoma, they have the size, athleticism and scoring to play with any team in the country. Sooners win 84-75.
#5 Maryland Terrapins vs. #1 Kansas Jay Hawks.
Kansas defeated the UConn Huskies Saturday 73-61.The reigning Big 12 champions handed Kevin Ollie his first NCAA tournament loss as a head coach. Wayne Selden Jr. had 22 points and seven rebounds and Perry Ellis had 21 points and eight rebounds. Maryland is led by Melo Trimble, he leads the team in points (14), assists (5) and steals (1.3). This is a well balanced team. Four other Terrapins are averaging double digits. Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon averages 11 points per game. He can score in bunches and carry the team when he gets hot.
Prediction:Bill Self has one of the most skilled and versatile teams in the country. I like Kansas to win 87-73.
(Picture Taken From Google Images)
#4 Duke Blue Devils vs. #1 Oregon Ducks.
The defending National Championships are in another Sweet 16. Coach Mike Kryzyewski continues to reload, not rebuild. Coach K became the first head coach to win 90 NCAA Tournament Games. Duke is led by Grayson Allen (21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game) and Brandon Ingram (17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game). Against Yale, Allen and Ingram combined to score 54 of the team’s 71 points and both played all 40 minutes. They’ve now played 159 out of a possible 160 minutes over the first two tournament games. Marshall Plumlee has been a presence on the glass and has provided scoring punch as well. The problem with Duke is the only have 6 players who average over 10 minutes per game.
The Oregon Ducks are a #1 Seed for a reason. The Ducks have a very balanced attack, with Dillon Brooks (16.6 PPG), Elgin Cook (14.4 PPG) and Tyler Dorsey (13.7 PPG). The Ducks want to push the ball and wear you down on defense.
Prediction: Allen and Ingram are the best 1-2 punch in the country but If they get in foul trouble, Duke has no depth. My heart tells me Duke but my mind says… Oregon wins 77-72.
#4 Iowa State Cyclones vs. #1 Virginia Cavaliers.
This is one of the most intriguing matchups in the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers have been one of the best defenses in the country, year in and year out under head coach Tony Bennett. The Cyclones are 13th in the country averaging 82.1 points per game and fifth in effective field goal percentage (57.1%).. Georges Niang is the leader of the Cyclones. The senior forward is averaging 20.2 points per game.
(Picture Taken From Bling Images)
Prediction: In a battle of offense against defense I always pick offense. To quote the Movie Anchorman, They have done studies you know… 60% of the time it works every time. I am going with an upset… Iowa State wins 77-73.
#7 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Both of these teams are coming off last seconds wins in the round of 32. Last year the Badgers made it all the way to the championship before losing to Duke. Head coach Bo Ryan retired and Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky are now in the NBA. Yet, Wisconsin is back in the Sweet 16. Almost every so called “expert” said this team was a year a way… But they keep finding ways to win. The Fighting Irish are led by head coach Mike Brey. He has become a phenomenal “in game” coach. Just watch Notre Dame run a play after a time out, they almost always get an open shot.
Prediction:Both teams rely on their system. Players have been interchangeable over the years. That is a compliment to each program. I like ND’s talent. They win 71-65. (But don’t count out Wisconsin, they are the cardiac kids of this tournament)
#11 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. #10 Syracuse Orangemen.
Most of the country doesn’t know about Gonzaga because they don’t get a lot of TV coverage and they play on the west coast. The Bulldogs are loaded with talented players. Senior forward Kyle Wiltjer is averaging 20.7 points per game and Domantas Sabonis is one of the best front line players in the country,averaging 17.1 points per game.
After Starting the ACC 1-4 the Orangemen are making their 14th Sweet 16 appearance.
Prediction: Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has a winning percentage of .811 (466-110) With a week to prepare for the Orangemen’s match up zone, the Zags will be ready. I like Gonzaga to win this game 83-74 and would not be shocked if they made the Final Four. Few is a great coach on the rise.
#5 Indiana Hoosiers vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels.
This is going to be a high scoring, super fast past game. The Hoosiers are 11th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 118.7 points per 100 possessions and the Tar Heels are 5th in that category scoring 119.9 points per 100 possessions. North Carolina can struggle at times shooting the three. They were last in the ACC in 3-point shooting percentage. Indiana is coming off an impressive signature win (73-67) over John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Prediction:Indiana has been waiting for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. I don’t know how long they will last but I like them in the upset. Indiana beats North Carolina 88-84.
(Picture Taken From Google Images)
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