Sweet 16 Schedule: Bold Predictions for Friday's Sweet 16 Matchups

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2012

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 Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 18, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Friday's Sweet 16 matchups are very interesting because there are several lower-seeded teams with a strong chance for an extraordinary upset.

As we have seen throughout this NCAA tournament, the gap in talent between many of the lower seeds and elite schools isn't very wide.

Let's look at some bold predictions for Friday's Sweet 16 matchups.


Xavier dominates Baylor, wins by double digits

Baylor is a very interesting team because they can look like world beaters one night and just an OK team the next. They have very little consistency in their play.

If star forward Perry Jones, who is also very inconsistent, does not play well, then the Bears could easily lose to the Musketeers.

Xavier guard Tu Holloway is one of the best scorers left in the tournament and will be very difficult for the Baylor defense to stop.

Expect the Bears to be soundly beaten on Friday night.


North Carolina defeats Ohio by 20 or more points

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 Gr
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I understand that the Ohio Bobcats have played really well in this year's tournament and are a confident Cinderella team, but they will be completely overmatched by the Tar Heels in this game.

North Carolina's depth in the frontcourt will be too much for the Bobcats to handle. Forward John Henson will be a shot-blocking force that will dominate defensively for North Carolina, and center Tyler Zeller will also dominate at both ends of the floor.

The size and athleticism of the Tar Heel big men will overpower the Bobcats and prevent them from believing they can pull of a shocking upset.


NC State will upset Kansas

Kansas has lost to inferior opponents in the last two NCAA tournaments and have not faced a team with as many quality scorers as North Carolina State in March Madness.

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 18: Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks  celebrates their come from behind win over the Purdue Boilermakers during the second round of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center March 18, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Ph
Eric Francis/Getty Images

In the Wolfpack's upset win over Georgetown, NC State had four starters who scored in double digits. They have players capable of carrying the scoring load when others aren't playing well.

This kind of depth will really help the Wolfpack against the Jayhawks, who look like an elite school on many nights but also have the potential to look pretty average.

The Wolfpack's strong outside shooting will help them take down Kansas and march into the Elite Eight.


Sweet 16 schedule for Friday, March 23

Matchup Time (ET) Channel

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 1o Xavier

7:15 p.m. CBS
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 13 Ohio 7:47 p.m. TBS
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Indiana 9:45 p.m. CBS
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 11 NC State 10:17 p.m. TBS