Sweet 16 Predictions: Shockers You Won't See Coming

Josh SteinContributor IIIMarch 20, 2012

Ohio will look to continue their miracle run against the Tar Heels.
Ohio will look to continue their miracle run against the Tar Heels.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Upsets are what make this wonderful NCAA Tournament great. The Norfolk State and Lehigh miracles keep us coming back for more.

But now we're past the first weekend. We're past the pretenders and the teams that didn't deserve to be here. We move on to the teams the truly deserve to be here and will leave everything out there to get to New Orleans.

But even though the remaining teams are settled in, it doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities for some shocking results by the time the Thursday games are done.

Here are two upsets that could leave us in awe:


(13) Ohio Bobcats over (1) UNC Tar Heels, Midwest Region

The Ohio Bobcats have a great chance at becoming the first No. 13 seed to qualify for the Elite Eight. Their only obstacle is the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Bobcats are the real Cinderella team of the tournament, being one of two teams left that are mid-majors (the other being Xavier). They came in as the No. 13 seed, but have played well enough to be considered a top team.

Ohio is led by junior point guard D.J. Cooper. He leads the team in points and assists, averaging 14.9 points and 5.7 assists per game.

Ohio will be playing the Heels at the best possible time, going against an injured Kendall Marshall, or even a UNC team without their star point guard.

Marshall broke his wrist during his game against Creighton and had to get surgery on his non-shooting hand. With the limited work that Marshall can do if he even plays, Cooper will have a big advantage.

If you add in the obvious pain that one of UNC's other stars, John Henson, has in his wrist when he plays, Carolina could be the next victim in an upset-ridden tournament.


(11) NC State Wolfpack over (2) Kansas Jayhawks, Midwest Region

Yes, if my picks are correct, then we will have an 11 vs. 13 Elite Eight, which would be the first time in history that two double-digit teams met this far in the tournament.

But North Carolina State could do their part to make that happen. Calling the Wolfpack an 11 seed or Cinderella just doesn’t seem fitting because they’re better than that and they showed it against Georgetown.

C.J. Leslie was one of three players to score 14 for the Wolfpack along with Scott Wood and C.J. Williams. It wasn’t their best shooting night, evident by the 37 percent they shot from the field, but they were relentless in getting to the charity strike and knocking down the freebies.

They made 19 free throws, which was more than the Hoyas attempted. The Wolfpack can look at what Purdue did defensively as a blueprint of how to play against the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16.

The guards will have to step up again in the Sweet 16 against N.C. State for the Jayhawks, since Thomas Robinson is going to have his hands full against a stout Wolfpack frontline.

The Wolfpack’s confidence is at an all-time high, and I expect their balanced play to get them the upset victory over Kansas.