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March Madness Sweet Sixteen Picks
Updated: August 2014

 

An Arizona-Duke matchup would feature two of the best freshman in the country. Duke’s Jabari Parker led the Blue Devils in scoring (19.3 per game) and rebounding (8.8 per game) while Arizona’s Aaron Gordon is the Wildcats second-leading scorer (12.1 per game) and leading rebounder (7.8 per game). The two schools met earlier in the season, a 72-66 win by Arizona on Nov. 29. This time around, the talent of Duke and not having talented scorer Brandon Ashley gets the best of the Wildcats and Duke advances to the title game.

Their opponent will be determined by a rematch of the 2000 national title game, Michigan State and Florida. The Spartans won the title that year, but Donovan and the Gators came back to win back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. Their superior leadership and experience lead them back to the title game where they take on, and defeat, the Duke Blue Devils to capture the 2014 national championship.

 

Sweet Sixteen play will begin Thursday with the East Region and West Region semifinals. There are several great match-ups including Indiana-Syracuse and Michigan State-Duke. The fan favorite will be underdog Florida Gulf Coast University making its first tournament appearance ever and having become the first No. 15 seed to make the round of 16. Here’s a look at the regional semifinals.

THURSDAY, MARCH 28TH
NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES, CA
(9) Wichita State (28-8) v. (13) LaSalle (24-9)
Two of the biggest surprises of the tournament thus far will square off for a shot at the West Region final. The Shockers have lived up to their name taking care of Pittsburgh, 73-55, in the second round and disposing of No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 76-70, last Saturday. Wichita State is big and physical and is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. The Shockers have been out-rebounded only four times all season. Cleanthony Early (13.6 ppg, 5.1rpg) and Carl Hall (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) lead Wichita State. On the other end are the Explorers of LaSalle featuring tremendous guard play among Ramon Galloway, LaSalle’s leading scorer averaging 17.0 per game, Tyrone Garland (13.0), and Tyreek Duren (15.0 ppg). The LaSalle guards won’t be enough for an angry Shocker team… Wichita State 73, LaSalle 69.

 

March Madness Sweet Sixteen Promotions

 

NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES, CA
(6)Arizona (25-7) v. (2) Ohio State (26-7)
The student meets the teacher as the Wildcats take on the Big Ten tournament champions in the round of 16. Sean Miller, a former Thad Motta assistant at Ohio State, leads Arizona to meet his mentor and the Deshaun Thomas-led Buckeyes. Thomas averages 19.5 points per game and 6.2 rebounds. After struggling midway through the season, OSU has won their last 10 in a row. Mark Lyons (14.8 ppg) and Solomon Hill (13.4 ppg) lead Arizona, a team on a mission after being bounced from the Pac-12 tournament. Both teams are physical, but Ohio State is better… Ohio State 66, Arizona 60.

NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS VERIZON CENTER - WASHINGTON, DC
(3) Marquette (25-8) v. (2) Miami (29-6)
In the East Region, Vander Blue leads Marquette against coach Jim Larranaga’s Miami squad enjoying its best season in school history. Hurricanes’ guard Shane Larkin averages 14.6 points and is tough to defend. Blue, who scored on a driving layup in the final seconds to help the Golden Eagles avoid elimination against Davidson, has enjoyed one of the finest tournaments of any player. Blue lead Marquette in scoring with 14.3 points per game. The problem for Buzz Williams’ Eagles will be defending 6-11 Kenny Kadji on the inside. Miami continues… Miami 71, Marquette 62.



2013 March Madness SWEET SIXTEEN Predictions


NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS VERIZON CENTER - WASHINGTON, DC

(1) Indiana (29-6) v. (4) Syracuse (28-9)
Most definitely one of the most anticipated match-ups of the tournament, the swarming Orange 2-3 zone looks to knock off the region’s top seed. The Hoosiers and coach Tom Crean have been ranked No. 1 throughout much of the season and are considered a favorite to reach the NCAA final. Orange coach Jim Boeheim and his physical guards led by Michael Carter-Williams (7.7 assists per game) will pressure the Indiana backcourt. If the Hoosiers can attack the Orange zone, they will advance. Look for Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo to have a big game… Indiana 69, Syracuse 61.

FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH
NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS LUCAS OIL STADIUM - INDIANAPOLIS, IN
(12) Oregon (28-8) v. (1) Louisville (31-5)
The Ducks have worn the chip on their shoulder well getting upset wins over both Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to get to the Sweet Sixteen. E.J. Singler (11.6 ppg) and Carlos Emery (11.0 ppg) lead Oregon, but the Ducks problem is their opponent. The Louisville Cardinals have entirely too much talent and are playing at a level that the Ducks just aren’t quite at yet. The Cardinals haven’t lost since Feb. 9th (the five-overtime thriller at Notre Dame) and don’t look for them to anytime soon. Louisville comes at opponents in waves with Russ Smith (18.1 ppg) and Peyton Siva (5.9 apg) playing some of their best basketball of the season. We get closer to an Indiana-Louisville showdown… Louisville 90, Oregon 68.

NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS LUCAS OIL STADIUM - INDIANAPOLIS, IN
(3) Michigan State (27-8) v. (2) Duke (29-5)
Two perennial contenders meet up again and Spartans’ coach Tom Izzo will likely force Duke’s Mason Plumlee to contend with 6-9 Derrick Nix and use Michigan State’s physicality to his advantage. Keith Appling and Gary Harris are two street-ball-type guards that will force the action and MSU rebounds like crazy. Harris will have his hands full trying to defend Duke’s Seth Curry who, like Plumlee, averages 17.0 points a game. If Plumlee plays big, the Blue Devils move on… Duke 78, Michigan State 74 .

NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS COWBOYS STADIUM - ARLINGTON, TX
(4) Michigan (28-7) v. (1) Kansas (31-5)
One of the more intriguing match-ups of the tourney, Kansas must tackle a Wolverine team that is hot right now. After falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tourney, Michigan has stormed through their first two opponents by a combined score of 149-109. Point guard Trey Burke (19.2 ppg) is one of the nation’s best and both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III present match up problems. Kansas counters with experience and a pretty good point guard of their own in Ben McLemore (16.4 ppg). Seven-foot senior Jeff Withey had 16 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocks as the Jayhawks beat North Carolina last Sunday. Kansas moves on… Kansas 68, Michigan 67.

NCAA TOURNAMENT - REGIONAL SEMIFINALS COWBOYS STADIUM - ARLINGTON, TX
(15) Florida Gulf Coast (26-10) v. (3) Florida (28-7)
The most surprising team of the tournament faces an in-state opponent, not yet a rival, Florida. FGCU plays an up-tempo style of basketball that has fans jumping on their bandwagon. Led by Sherwood Brown (15.3 ppg) and Brett Comer (6.3 apg), the Eagles are a tremendous passing team and are very good in transition - FGCU averages 23 points per game in transition. The Gators counter with great floor balance, aggressive defense and a half-court offense that could slow down FGCU. Looks like the run ends… Florida 77, FGCU 66.

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