NCAA Bracket 2012: Predicting Which One-Seeds Will Survive Sweet 16

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18: Brandan Kearney #3, Brandon Wood #30, Derrick Nix #25, Travis Trice #20 and Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans run to the bench for a timeout against the Saint Louis Billikens during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 18, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The second round cost the field two-seeds Duke and Missouri. The third round stole two three-seeds, Florida State and Georgetown.

But thus far, the one-seeds remain unscathed.

Is this the round that the tournament erases the chalk at the very top of the bracket? Will a team or two be upset?

Or will the chalk hold heading into the Elite Eight?

Let's make some predictions.

 

East Region: Syracuse Orange vs. Wisconsin Badgers

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange drives in the second half against Will Spradling #55 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For my money, this is the most likely upset this round. The Badgers play stifling defense (52.9 points per game allowed, best in the nation), slow the pace of the game to a veritable crawl and rarely turn the ball over (9.0 turnovers per game, second best in the nation).

Plus, the Badgers have shooters that can beat Syracuse's 2-3 zone by shooting over the top of it from three.

This is a touch matchup for Syracuse, who generally is able to cause turnovers (9.4 steals per game, third in the nation) and use their superior athleticism and depth to push the ball on turnovers throughout the game and steal easy buckets.

If Syracuse can't push the tempo and fall into a snail's pace in the half-court game, the team could be in trouble against Wisconsin. That said, I believe the Orange's superior athletes will carry the day.

Prediction: Syracuse

 

Midwest Region: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Ohio Bobcats

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 18:  (L-R) Kendall Marshall #5, John Henson #31, Reggie Bullock #35 and Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate in the second half while taking on the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2012 NCAA
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Even if Kendall Marshall doesn't play, I just don't see North Carolina falling to Ohio. I don't see how Ohio can hang with the Tar Heel bigs Tyler Zeller and John Henson.

If Ohio can cause a lot of turnovers and deny the ball on post-entry passes, they'll have a fighter's chance, namely if Marshall doesn't play.

If Marshall plays, it will take a stinker for Ohio to beat the Heels.

Prediction: North Carolina

 

South Region: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats talks with his players during a timeout in the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Here's why Kentucky will win:

1. This game isn't being played in Indiana.

2. Anthony Davis (who got in foul trouble in the last meeting) and Terrence Jones won't score a combined 10 points like the last meeting. They'll do much better than that the second time around.

3. Kentucky won't turn the ball over 16 times—they average 11 per game.

4. The Wildcats are the best team in the country, and Indiana can't beat a Kentucky team playing its A-game.

Prediction: Kentucky

 

West Region: Michigan State Spartans vs. Louisville Cardinals

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18: Brandon Wood #30 and Travis Trice #20 of the Michigan State Spartans talk on the court against the Saint Louis Billikens  during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 18, 2012 in
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Can the Cardinals keep the Spartans from making this article all chalk?

I don't think so. This will be a tough, hard-fought matchup, as both teams play solid defense. The problem for Louisville is that they aren't a very good shooting team in the first place, while the Spartans hit 48.2 percent of their shots, tied for 14th best in the nation.

Good looks will be hard to come by. The difference between these two teams is that Michigan State hits them at a far higher percentage than Louisville does.

Prediction: Michigan State

 

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