SWEET 16 SET
After a fantastic first weekend in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the sweet 16 is set. Thus far a plethora of upsets have occured in the first week of this tournament. Oregon, Wichita State, La Salle, and Florida Gulf Coast University have all defied the odds to make it to the field of 16. Will these schools be able to keep their magical runs going, or will Cinderella's glass slipper shatter on the dreams of these small schools in this week's slate of games.
1. Louisville vs. 12. Oregon
Rick Pitino and Louisville are one of the favorites to win the entire tournament. Pitino has not won a title while coaching Louisville and may be due to finally win the big game for the first time since winning it all with Kentucky. The 12th seeded Oregon Ducks are no pushover Cinderella story. They defeated Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to get to this matchup. Pitino may have a date with destiny in the final four; however Louisville needs to come to play against this dark house 12th seed in order to reach their lofty goals in this tournament.
2. Duke vs. 3. Michigan State
This matchup has the potential to be the best game of the weekend. Coach K and Coach Izzo are two of the most successful coaches in March Madness history. After dominating their way into the sweet 16, these two historic institutions should be in line for a tight finish. It's just a shame there as to be a loser in this matchup. I would not be shocked if this game needed overtime to determine a winner.
9. Wichita State vs. 13. La Salle
These two schools have been two of the biggest Cinderella stores in this year's tournament, Wichita State defied the odds by beating number one seeded Gonzaga in the previous round of action. La Salle took down the number four seeded Kansas State in the opening round, and then defeated number 12 seeded Ole Miss to get to the sweet 16. One of these School's Cinderella story will continue to the elite 8. I think Wichita is a dangerous team coming off of their win over Gonzaga and may be poised to join this weekend's elite 8.
2. Ohio State vs. 6. Arizona
One game after Harvard won its first game ever in tournament history; their glass slipper was shattered by the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona will have a much tougher task in the field of 16 as they take on the number two seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. This game should be a tough gritty showdown of two schools who have achieved great past success in the tournament. However, the winner of this game gets the winner of Wichita State vs. La Salle. This could give rise to any an easy path to the final four to the winner of this game.
1. Kansas vs. 4. Michigan
Kansas is another school who is favored to go very far in this tournament. They will have their hands full with the number 4 seeded Michigan Wolverines. Michigan has a boat load of young talent including Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson Jr. The Wolverines were ranked number one overall at points during the season, and may just be the most dangerous school not to get a top three seed in this entire tournament.
3. Florida vs. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
For the first time ever there are three schools representing the state of Florida in the sweet 16. Billy Donovan and the Gators have one of the best teams they have assembled since their championship wins. However, the Gators may have their hands full with scrappy Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU made history by upsetting the number 2 seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the first round by ten points. They then upset San Diego State by ten in the second round. It does not get any easier for FGCU. If they somehow continue their amazing run by defeating the Gators, they would play the winner of Michigan vs. Kansas in the elite 8.
1. Indiana vs. 4 Syracuse
Indiana has been one of the top teams in the country all season long. However, they face a tough task in their matchup with the number four seeded Syracuse Orange Men. Syracuse is very battle tested coming out of the Big East. The Orange Men would love to keep their last season in the Big East going by handing Indiana a devastating loss in the sweet 16. This is a dangerous game for Indiana. They could be the next number one seed to go down if they let Syracuse hang around in this game.
2. Miami vs. 3. Marquette
The east bracket is the only bracket left with its top four seeds still alive. This should be a very competitive matchup. Jim Larrinaga has his Miami Hurricanes believing in themselves and playing great team basketball. I like Miami in this matchup. If Miami and Indiana win they will be the only one and two seeds to face each other in the elite 8 unless Duke and Louisville face each other in the Midwest regional final.
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