Sweet 16 2012: Predicting Teams That Will Punch Elite Eight Tickets on Thursday
When the tournament gets back and running on Thursday, eight teams will be playing for a spot to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately, half of them will not go on. Fortunately for fans of these schools, their teams will absolutely live to fight another day.
The problem with Wisconsin is that it has a ceiling in terms of points scored. Yes, the Badgers play good defense, but if they allow more than about 60 points, they're in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, the Orange just have too many weapons.
Look for Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters to lead the show, with Scoop Jardine also playing a prominent role. In total, Syracuse has five players averaging more than eight points a game, and they can't all be contained. That will be Wisconsin's undoing in this one.
Prediction: Syracuse 64, Wisconsin 58
What is the best remaining team in the East?
As tough as Cincinnati is, it does not have the inside presence to play with Jared Sullinger while still containing Deshaun Thomas and William Buford.
We saw in the Big East tournament that Cincinnati had a hard time matching up with Louisville, and that's putting it nicely. As good as the Cardinals are, they do not have anyone on the inside that matches Sullinger.
When you combine him with the aforementioned Thomas and Buford, you're looking at somewhere between 45 to 55 points from three players. Cincinnati will have a hard time going over about 60, so that makes things difficult for the team. Too difficult for this one, and Ohio State will win easy.
Prediction: Ohio State 78, Cincinnati 62
This is a classic match that just shows why the seeding is correct. Louisville is a good team, but Michigan State is just a little better in all aspects of the game. Think of this like a battle between a B student and A student. One is good, but the other is just a touch better in every area.
On top of that, I just don't see anyone on Louisville that can contain Draymond Green. It will be a good game for most of the contest, but the Spartans will pull ahead in the final minutes, moving one step closer to the Final Four.
What is the best remaining team in the West?
Prediction: Michigan State 73, Louisville 64
Without exception, no team has been more impressive than the Gators in this tournament. Most other teams have at least had to sweat a little bit in one of their games, but the Gators have not. They'll have to sweat this one, but will take the game.
If you're looking for a difference-maker, keep an eye on Bradley Beal. Kenny Boynton is the leading scorer, but I see Beal coming through making the difference in what will be a close game, getting the Gators over in the paint, while scoring about 15 points in the process.
This will be the best game of the day, but the Gators have too many weapons and will provide Thursday's only upset.
Prediction: Florida 74, Marquette 71
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