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BX Sweet Sixteen Rundown and Picks
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
March 27, 2008
-I'm currently 36-13 with my picks, which is a little below how I normally do, but if someone could get all of them right all of the time this wouldn't be any fun.


THURSDAY, MARCH 27TH

-#7. WEST VIRGINIA VS #3. XAVIER (pick – Xavier). Both teams looked impressive in their second round games, especially in the second half. Xavier has fallen behind early in their previous two NCAA Tournament games, and did the same in their final conference tournament game. If they want to win this game then it’s something that they cannot let happen again. West Virginia shoots the ball extremely well, especially from the outside, and also plays tough defense. Xavier has some pretty good shooters as well and also a good defensive team. Xavier does appear to be more athletic, and that could end up giving them an edge. It’s still an evenly matched game, though, and neither team can afford to not play up to their maximum ability if they want to win and advance.

-#4. WASHINGTON STATE VS #1. NORTH CAROLINA (pick – North Carolina). Both of these teams won their first two games without too much trouble, especially North Carolina, so the fact that neither team has really been in a close game is one of the things that makes this match-up so interesting. North Carolina has a ton of weapons, but the one thing Wazzu does extremely well is defend, and that alone should be able to keep them in the game, if not give them a chance to win it. The game is in Charlotte, which is a geographic advantage for North Carolina, but it isn’t the same as a home game. Wazzu has played in environments that are more hostile against teams that are arguably as good. I just think the Tarheels have too much talent for Wazzu to handle.

-#12. WESTERN KENTUCKY VS #1. UCLA (pick – UCLA). WKU should be able to run with the Bruins, but UCLA’s frontcourt will most likely end up being too much. WKU has had an incredible run and I have no doubt that they’re extremely confident. UCLA also struggled their last time out against Texas A&M, but I just don’t think WKU matches up all that well. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if UCLA won by a decisive margin. They haven’t played against too many teams that run the court like WKU does, though, so it’s possible that the Bruins could have a difficult time adjusting early on.

-#3. LOUISVILLE VS #2. TENNESSEE (pick – Louisville). Louisville has been as impressive as anyone in the tournament so far. They’ve just been blowing teams out. Tennessee has been struggling for the past several weeks. They’ve been winning, but not impressively and not against teams that are nearly as good as Louisville. Tennessee is incredibly athletic and they love to press and run the court, but Louisville is well coached, well disciplined, and has the weapons they need to stop it. Louisville is a pretty good pressing and transition team as well. There could be a lot of fouls in this game given the pace and the defensive styles each team plays, which works to Louisville’s advantage if the game is called evenly. I think the Cardinals will win and move on to the Elite Eight.


FRIDAY, MARCH 28TH

-#10. DAVIDSON VS #3. WISCONSIN (pick – Davidson). If Wisconsin can stop, or even contain, Steffan Curry then Davidson doesn’t have much of a chance. The thing is that no one has been able to do that all year. Georgetown and Gonzaga are good teams, and Georgetown plays great defense, neither team could slow down Curry. This would be a big upset if Davidson pulls it off, but I do think they can do it and I won’t be surprised if it happens. Wisconsin has played outstanding basketball in both of their previous games, and they appear to have a big advantage in the post. That could be an issue for Davidson, but Georgetown had the same advantage and the Wildcats found a way to get past them.

-#3. STANFORD VS #2. TEXAS (pick – Texas). Both of these teams had close calls in the second round. Stanford won a classic against Marquette, and Texas blew a big lead against Miami, FL, but still managed to hold on and win. I love the way Texas has played these past few weeks. Stanford has looked good as well, and I certainly wouldn’t be at all surprised if they won, but the Longhorns have just looked a little bit better. One area where Stanford may have an advantage is with their bench. Texas isn’t quite as deep and could be in trouble if the fouls start to pile up. It’s an evenly matched game and hopefully it will be a good one.

-#12. VILLANOVA VS #1. KANSAS (pick – Kansas). Villanova is certainly no stranger to top notch competition, but as well as they played in the first two rounds I just don’t think they have enough in the tank to get past Kansas. Kansas literally looks better all the way around. This one could turn out to be rather lopsided. If Kansas wins and advances to the Elite Eight and Davidson pulls the upset over Wisconsin, the Jayhawks could advance to the Final Four without having beaten anyone seeded better than #9th. I wonder if that’s ever happened before.

-#5. MICHIGAN STATE VS #1. MEMPHIS (pick – Michigan State). Michigan State’s defense is really tough, and as good and as talented as Memphis is I believe this is the round where they go down. I believe Michigan State matches up really well, and will be able to control the tempo of the game, which will play to their advantage if they can control Memphis’s transition game. Memphis also struggles from the line, which was an issue against Mississippi State, but will likely be an even bigger issue in this game.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

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