March Madness Sweet Sixteen Preview
by Paul Grossinger
(Baltimore, MD )
Its time to look forward to another great weekend of March Madness! After all ten upsets in the Round of 32, it seems hard to predict who will win some of these matchups. Florida State vs. VCU? No one thought either one of them would even be here!
Still, it’s time for previews and predictions. This year’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen could become one of the most memorable in decades. Either Florida or VCU will make the Elite Eight, which is shocking, and upset darlings Richmond, Butler, and Marquette could join them. Knowing that, let’s take a look at this year’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen matchups:
Ohio State (1) vs. Kentucky (4): This battle of tournament heavyweights is the marquee matchup of this year’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen. It is a battle between the tournament’s most polished, veteran team (Ohio State) and its most talented (Kentucky). While Kentucky has won two good victories and seems to be peaking at the right time, I like Ohio State’s poise and, more specifically, Jared Sullinger’s low post dominance. Ohio State should win this one but, if Kentucky advances to the NCAA Elite Eight few will be truly surprised.
Kansas (1) vs. Richmond (12): Richmond did well to shock Vanderbilt in the first round and crush fellow upset darling Morehead State. That said, Kansas is a special team and they should get past Richmond without too much of a problem.
VCU (11) vs. Florida State (10): This game is hard to predict. Neither VCU nor Florida State was expected to be in the Sweet Sixteen this year. It’s a strange matchup: VCU is an emerging offensive team that just hung 94 points on Purdue while Florida State sports a top ten defense that held offensive juggernaut Notre Dame to 57 points. I like Florida State’s defense in this one but VCU is for real so nothing would surprise me.
Butler (8) vs. Wisconsin
(4): Butler is back in the Sweet Sixteen after back to back last second victories over Old Dominion and Pittsburg. Their victories were sublime; almost magical in a way. But Wisconsin is an offensive juggernaut capable of a deep run and I think Butler’s set of Cinderella victories will end here in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Florida (2) vs. BYU (3): I am a big fan of both these teams. Jimmer Fredette is an exceptional college player and no one will be surprised if he takes BYU on his back and carries them to the Elite Eight. But Florida is an exceptional defensive team that also has offensive talent and I think they will beat BYU by taking advantage of their lack of a low post presence.
SDSU (2) vs. UConn (3): I told my friend last week that if UConn makes it out of the first few rounds, they will have enough momentum to win the whole NCAA tournament. SDSU is a good team that belongs in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen but UConn is on a very impressive win streak and I expect star guard Kemba Walker to carry them to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Duke (1) vs. Arizona (5): After a last second defeat of Texas, Arizona looks ready for a run. Of course, they would be ready if they were facing another team because Duke, newly dominant with guard Kyrie Irving’s return, should railroad past them into the NCAA Elite Eight.
UNC (2) vs. Marquette (11): UNC, and star Harrison Barnes, are peaking at the right time. Back in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen after a terrible 2010 season, UNC appears ready to put an end to wild-card Marquette’s surprise run. But don’t count Marquette out….how many people saw them taking out Syracuse?
Well that concludes our Best Sports Blog previews. Check back for our NCAA Sweet Sixteen reviews and NCAA Elite Eight previews soon!