Monday, March 23, 2009
Updated: March 25, 1:02 PM ET
SportsNation's take on the Sweet 16
The 2009 NCAA men's tournament has been as entertaining as ever through the first and second rounds. But despite eight higher seeds being taken out and the ACC taking the biggest hit of all with five teams losing in the first round, this year marks the smallest tally of seeds (49) to ever reach the Sweet 16. Frame of reference? In 2008, it was 70. In fact, all the top three seeds in each region remain. But sooner or later, someone has to fall.
We've collected some of the most popular and interesting results from the first two rounds of play. See what your fellow citizens of SportsNation are expecting heading into the Sweet 16.
Note: Grey states represent a 50/50 voting split, and darker color shades represent higher percentages of votes.
Memphis Will Be A Winner In The West
The Memphis Tigers bring even more heat to the desert of Glendale, Ariz., as they roll into the Sweet 16 having won 27 straight. In the eyes of a SportsNation majority, the Tigers will continue their streak behind freshman of the year Tyreke Evans, take out No. 1 seed Connecticut and make it to their second straight championship game. Memphis is the only non-No. 1 seed picked by SportsNation to get to the Final Four.
SportsNation Wary About Pittsburgh's Chances
While SportsNation still picks the Panthers to win the East, that doesn't mean the voters are convinced the Panthers are hitting on all cylinders. Pittsburgh battled throughout its first-round game against 16th-seeded East Tennessee State, eventually winning by 10 points. In the second round, it beat eighth-seeded Oklahoma State by eight in a hard-fought game. So perhaps it is no surprise that every corner of SportsNation believes the Panthers are the most vulnerable No. 1 seed heading into the Sweet 16.
SportsNation Likes Syracuse In The Elite Eight
Sophomore sensation Jonny Flynn will help lead Syracuse against Blake Griffin and Oklahoma in a much-anticipated South semifinal. Two states picking the Orange that stood out are North Carolina and Washington, the homes of the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Syracuse's two potential Elite Eight opponents should the Orange meet SportsNation's expectations. The divide on this game falls along the Mississippi, with Oklahoma picking up states only west of the river.
Down Goes Duke, Says North Carolina
After playing through tough regular-season schedules in their respective conferences, both the Duke Blue Devils (ACC) and the Villanova Wildcats (Big East) come into the East Regional semifinal already battle-tested. While Villanova had an easy time in the second round with an 89-69 win over UCLA, Duke fought it out with Texas, winning by just five. Even Duke's home state of North Carolina is siding with Nova in this one.