Sweet Sixteen Predictions and Analysis

Sweet Sixteen Predictions and Analysis
Mar 22, 2007, 10:06 am
-Unlike last year, most of the higher seeded teams have made it through to the Sweet Sixteen. #7 seeded UNLV is the lowest seeded team. Last season we had several teams seeded that low or lower. In saying that, Southern Illinois, Memphis and Butler join UNLV as non major conference teams who have made it this far, so in looking at it that way that is only one less than we had last season. It’s just that most of the non-major conference teams had better seeds this year. Xavier and VCU are non-major conference teams who were seconds away from joining the party as well.

THURSDAY, March 22, 2007

-4. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS VS 1. KANSAS (pick-Kansas). As good as Southern Illinois’s defense is, they should be able to keep this close and even have a shot at winning, but Kansas just looks to be too much for them all around. Still, both teams have played very well in the tournament and SIU has actually beaten better teams to get to this point, so an upset is possible.

-3. TEXAS A&M VS 2. MEMPHIS (pick-Texas A&M). TAMU plays very strong defense and are much better than anyone Memphis has been able to beat all year. They looked very strong in their first two round games and the fact that they’re playing in San Antonio should really be a boost as well. After not showing all that many signs of caring, the TAMU faithful have really gotten behind the basketball team these past two seasons. Memphis looked very impressive in a decisive win against Nevada in the second round, and I do believe they have a shot at winning this one as well, but it’s close to a home game for TAMU and that will make it more difficult.

-3. PITTSBURGH VS 2. UCLA (pick-Pittsburgh). UCLA’s defense has been very strong throughout the tournament, but that alone isn’t going to be enough to beat a very good Pitt team. Both teams survived huge second round scares. UCLA won an ugly game against Indiana and Pitt needed overtime to take care of VCU. Pitt has never been past this round, but I believe they’ll get it done today, even if the game is out in San Jose.

-5. TENNESSEE VS 1. OHIO STATE (pick-Ohio State). Like several teams in this year’s Sweet Sixteen, both of these teams survived huge scares in the second round. Ohio State needed overtime to get past Xavier, and Virginia was a last second shot away from tying Tennessee. These two met earlier this season, and Tennessee nearly pulled off a huge win at Ohio State, but just couldn’t get over the top. Both teams are very athletic, but OSU can also play a half-court game. They also appear to be better on the glass and I believe that will give them an advantage.

FRIDAY, March 23

-5. BUTLER VS 1. FLORIDA (pick-Florida). I’ve been picking against Butler the whole tournament and have been wrong every time, but I really don’t see them pulling another one out of the hat against the best team in the country. Florida did get a scare from Purdue in the second round, and Butler definitely has what it takes to give them a scare and possibly pull off the upset, but Florida is just too good and too experienced for me to pick Butler, or anyone else, to beat them.

-6. VANDERBILT VS 2. GEORGETOWN (pick-Georgetown). Vanderbilt won a double overtime thriller to get here whereas Georgetown had a little bit of an easier time with Boston College, but still got a scare. Still, Georgetown clearly looks like the better team. They are talented and have more weapons, especially in the post and I just think they have too many strengths for Vandy to answer.

-7. UNLV VS 3. OREGON (pick-Oregon). UNLV has had an incredible season, but for whatever reason seem to be remaining under the radar. Oregon is on an absolute tear right now not just in the NCAA Tournament, but all throughout the Pac Ten Tournament as well. Their speed could give UNLV problems if they aren’t able to slow it down. The first two teams UNLV beat weren’t as quick as the Ducks, nor were they as red hot as the Ducks.

-5. USC VS 1. NORTH CAROLINA (pick-North Carolina). USC really surprised me with how well they played against a very good Texas team, and could pull off a big upset if they play like that again. North Carolina just appears to be too strong, though. They won the ACC Tournament and have looked very good in their first two NCAA Tournament games. They also have a very deep bench and just appear to have more talent all the way around.

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