Picks for the Sweet 16
It is time to break down the Sweet 16, baby! Here are my picks and analysis:
The Cardinals won their first two NCAA tournament games by a total of 57 points. Russ Smith has been sensational, with 50 points and 10 steals in the two wins. Gorgui Dieng provides shot-blocking ability while Peyton Siva is doing a great job distributing the rock.
Oregon has been solid with diaper dandy Damyean Dotson averaging 20 points per game in the tournament while Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi has averaged 16.5 rebounds per game. The Ducks have proved they should not have been a 12-seed. Dana Altman has done a super job all season.
It will help Louisville that this game is in Indianapolis.
Duke will have to hit the trifecta to beat the Spartans. The Blue Devils did a nice job defending Doug McDermott of Creighton. Izzo versus Coach K, wow!
Pick: Michigan State
The Wildcats have been impressive in wins over Belmont and Harvard. Arizona shot 55 percent in the win over the Crimson, showing great offensive efficiency. For the tournament, the Wildcats are shooting 56 percent. Mark Lyons has hit 20 of 32 field goal attempts and totaled 50 points in the two wins.
Sean Miller used to work for Thad Matta; now he goes against him.
Pick: Ohio State
Wow, No. 9 versus No. 13 for a spot in the Elite Eight.
The Shockers are physical and have multiple scoring options. They stunned the world and Gonzaga. Cleanthony Early has been a big factor off the bench. It also helped to hit 14 of 28 trifectas against the Zags.
La Salle beat VCU and Butler in the regular season. Are the Explorers this season's VCU, going from the First Four to the Final Four?
Ramon Galloway has been outstanding for La Salle.
Pick: Wichita State
The Wolverines have an outstanding backcourt in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Now they're receiving frontcourt help from Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, who combined to make 31-of-39 field goals in the first two games of the tournament.
Kansas got a huge game from Jeff Withey against North Carolina, but can he do it again? Travis Releford had a big game against the Tar Heels too. Where has Ben McLemore been in the tourney? Rebounding could be a factor, and Kansas was solid in that area in the last game.
Before the tournament, if you told the Gators they would be playing FGCU in the Sweet 16, they would have loved it. FGCU has been the Cinderella story as the first 15-seed to advance this far. They have been loose and confident, but Florida will be ready. Mike Rosario had a big game against Minnesota, and he should come through again. Erik Murphy has been super too. The Gators defense has been tenacious.
This brings back memories of 1987, when Keith Smart hit the winning shot against the Orange. Victor Oladipo has come up with big plays all season long, and he hit the key shot against Temple. Does Syracuse have an answer inside for Cody Zeller? The zone will collapse on him, leaving open shots for Jordan Hulls.
The Golden Eagles have been the perfect example of survive and advance, winning two tournament games by a total of three points. Vander Blue had 29 points in the win against Butler.