Previewing each Sweet 16 game
Let's break down the games in the round of 16.
KENTUCKY OVER INDIANA
The Wildcats will be fired up for the rematch of a game won by the Hoosiers by a point in Bloomington. Christian Watford hit the buzzer-beating shot, but the Kentucky defense will be prepared. Indiana committed 22 turnovers in a win over VCU. It could be a major factor against the Wildcats' stifling defense. Terrence Jones looked more like a second lieutenant sitting on the bench in the loss to Indiana; he is much more important now. Anthony Davis was in foul trouble in the first meeting too.
BAYLOR OVER XAVIER
It has been a rollercoaster season for the Musketeers. This was a top 15 team in the preseason poll, so they are where they belong. Kenny Frese had a big game against Lehigh, but now he goes up against a physical frontline. Perry Jones III has to step up after scoring just nine points in the first two games of the tournament. Brady Heslip was brilliant vs. Colorado, hitting nine-of-12 trifectas. He may not get as many good looks against Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons.
MICHIGAN STATE OVER LOUISVILLE
What a coaching matchup with two Goliaths, Tom Izzo vs. Rick Pitino. These are two future Hall of Famers, each with championship rings already. Lots of rigatoni and linguine for this game! Pitino has to find a way to slow down Mr. Versatility, Draymond Green. Louisville has Peyton Siva as the catalyst playing well. Tough game won by the Spartans.
MARQUETTE OVER FLORIDA
Jae Crowder has been dominant in the tourney with 42 points and 29 rebounds in two games. Marquette's defense will come out and challenge Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker on the perimeter. Buzz Williams' team is tenacious and will advance.
SYRACUSE OVER WISCONSIN
Can Wisconsin slow down Syracuse's ability to score in transition? On offense, the Badgers have to shoot better than the 10-for-33 on trifectas; that is what they did against Vandy. The Orange 2-3 zone and athleticism is too much. James Southerland and Dion Waiters are each averaging 15 points per game in the tournament and depth favors 'Cuse. Ben Brust and Jordan Taylor can keep Wisconsin in this one if they are hot from long range.
OHIO STATE OVER CINCINNATI
Isn't it amazing to have four schools from the same state (with Xavier and Ohio) are in the Sweet 16? I think these teams should play every year as a regional rivalry, a la Kentucky-Louisville. Jared Sullinger will be too much inside for the Bearcats to handle. Deshaun Thomas has developed into a big-time performer with 49 points and 19 rebounds in the first two tourney games.
NORTH CAROLINA OVER OHIO
Tar Heels frontline is too much as Tyler Zeller leads the way. It is good to have John Henson back. The Kendall Marshall injury makes this game more interesting. The Bobcats are 10-1 in their last 11 games and have hit nine or more trifectas 13 times this season. North Carolina has to slow down D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt.
KANSAS OVER NC STATE
Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor lead the way against a hungry Wolfpack team that has had several players step up. Mark Gottfried has to be a little concerned about a 19-for-31 performance on the foul line against Georgetown. The Jayhawks rallied from 11 down to beat Purdue. A key here is the glass after the Wolfpack had a 41-33 edge against the Hoyas. Going against Robinson and Jeff Withey should be tougher.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Hibbert: Should have pushed to be on floor
- Pack's Rodgers: Urlacher favorite opponent
- Pacers say they'll stand up to physical Heat
- Vick says he's still NFL's fastest quarterback