NCAA Tournament Scores 2012: What to Expect in Sweet 16

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 20, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 18:  Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts from the bench while taking on the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 18, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Head coach Roy Williams of the Tar Heels announced that Marshall fractured his right wrist after he was fouled in the second half.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

If the first week of the NCAA tournament has taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected, which madness will continue to ensue when the Sweet 16 kicks off on Thursday.

Expect the unexpected.

Wouldn't that mean the "expected" would happen since the "unexpected" is what we're expecting? Or, uh, the opposite? Or something like that?

Well, now that I've thoroughly confused myself, lets just get on with what "you're likely to see" in the Sweet 16.

 

A No. 1 seed will go down

While all top seeds will certainly be favored in their Sweet 16 matchups, they all have something working against them, too.

Kentucky, easily the favorite to win the national championship, matches up with Indiana. The Hoosiers, thanks to Christian Watford's theatrics, are one of only two teams to beat the Wildcats this season.

Syracuse probably has the best chance to advance. The Orange are still lacking size in the middle with the absence of Fab Melo, and Kansas State's 22 offensive rebounds proved that, but Wisconsin doesn't really play the type of game to hurt the Orange in that aspect. 

The Badgers do, however, shoot the three-ball really well, and that has the chance to cripple Syracuse's zone.

Michigan State isn't going to blow anyone out. Against Louisville, a team comfortable playing an ugly game just like St. Louis did, the Spartans will find themselves in a dog-fight.

Not only that, the Cardinals have better scorers than the Billikens did with Peyton Siva, Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith. 

And finally, North Carolina is nowhere near the same team if Kendall Marshall isn't able to go. The Tar Heels will still be able to control Ohio on the inside, but an upset is far more likely because with Marshall, the Heels will have a much tougher time getting out in transition like they love to do. 

 

The state of Ohio's dominance will end

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes support their team against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

One of the biggest storylines heading into the Sweet 16 is the fact the state of Ohio got four teams in, the most one state has ever had representing it.

That dominance won't continue.

First, I can say with confidence one Ohio school will advance and one will fall because the Buckeyes of Ohio State match up with Cincinnati. That much we know.

The other schools are going to have real trouble.

Xavier matches up with Baylor. While I don't think the difference between these teams is as big as their seeding suggests, I do think Xavier matches up horribly with Baylor.

Big seven-footer Kenny Frease was a big reason Xavier made it this far, but he's too slow to play against Baylor's athletic big men. He will be taken out of the game and that will be the X-factor. 

And as for the last Ohio team, uh, Ohio, the Bobcats have to play North Carolina. The Heels will likely, in my opinion, be Marshall-less, but they still have too much size for the Bobcats. 

The Sweet 16 may be one-fourth Ohio, but the Elite Eight will be one-eighth. 

 

Second-round picks will step up

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18:  C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack dunks the ball at the end of the first half after stealing it from Otto Porter #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's basketball tournament at
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

There are a lot of NBA prospects still playing who are projected to go in the second round or later, and they are going to step it up.

Just look at the impressive list of names.

C.J. Leslie has been NC State's most important player. Michigan State's Draymond Green has been the star of the tournament. Tyshawn Taylor has been disappointing, but he remains Kansas' second-best player.

Doron Lamb. Marquis Teague.

Darius Johnson-Odom. Jae Crowder.

Kris Joseph.

There are a ton of draft "afterthoughts" having great tournaments and improving their stock. These guys are showing that production is more important than potential, and the production will keep on coming in the Sweet 16.