Sweet 16 Predictions: Why the No. 1 Seeds Have Nothing to Worry About This Week

Ross DautelContributor IIIMarch 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

All four number one seeds are still alive and well as the NCAA Tournament resumes tonight with the Sweet 16. Two No. 1 seeds, Syracuse and Michigan State, will be in action tonight while the other pair of top seeds, Kentucky and North Carolina will continue their tournament runs tomorrow.

Let's take a look at all of the match-ups involving number one seeds and examine why all four of them will advance with ease:

No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 4 Wisconsin

Out of all four top seeds, Syracuse is probably the team with the greatest chance of falling short of the Elite Eight.

The Orange have played well in the absence of star center Fab Melo, surviving a scare from No. 16 UNC-Asheville before downing No. 8 Kansas State in convincing fashion.

But the one thing that sets Syracuse apart from its Sweet 16 opponent Wisconsin, is its zone defense. While the Badgers are an excellent defensive team, they at times struggle to score, averaging a modest 63.9 points per game, the 263rd highest total nationally.

The one thing zone defenses can do to teams is force them to hit shots. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they struggle mightily from the field, shooting just 42%. That anemic percentage doesn't bode well for them entering tonight's contest.

You can expect a good, well fought battle tonight between Wisconsin and Syracuse, but it will ultimately be the Orange's ferocious zone defense that will doom the Badgers.

No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Louisville

Jardine and the Orange will be just fine against Wisconsin
Jardine and the Orange will be just fine against WisconsinGregory Shamus/Getty Images

Few coaches have a better track record in the month of March than Tom Izzo. The long-time Michigan State coach once again has his Spartans playing their best ball when it matters most.

Draymond Green is a man on a mission and the senior will do whatever it takes to spur his team to victory.

Michigan State has made a habit of adapting to its competition. In the case of Louisville, a team that likes to up the tempo, the Spartans will be forced to match the high octane offense if it hopes to win.

The last time the Spartans and Cardinals tangled in the NCAA Tournament Izzo got the best of Pitino out-dueling the Hall-of-Fame coach in a 64-52 win in the 2009 Final Four.

Look for tonight's result to be similar as the Spartans cruise into the Elite Eight.

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 13 Ohio

Yes, North Carolina will likely be without floor general Kendall Marshall. But last time Roy Williams checked, he still had Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes.

That trio will be more than enough to outlast the overmatched Bobcats.

Ohio has been brilliant so far, netting back to back upsets on its way to the Sweet 16. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they simply don't have the height to hang down low with North Carolina's big men.

The Bobcats only player that's at least 6'10" is Ethan Jacobs, and he averaged less than two minutes per game in the 2011 regular season.

You can expect Zeller and Henson to own the paint from start to finish in tomorrow's matchup as the Tar Heels roll into the Regional Final.

No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Indiana

The Hoosiers already proved they can hang with the Wildcats. Indiana was one of only two teams to beat Kentucky during the year

However, that regular season matchup will play to the benefit of Kentucky, not Indiana.

The Wildcats will be extremely motivated to avenge their only loss during the regular season (their loss to Vanderbilt came in the SEC Tournament).

John Calipari will have his team ready and focused. Cody Zeller is a fine player down low, but he doesn't have the athleticism to hang with player of the year candidate Anthony Davis of Kentucky.

On paper, the Wildcats are the best team in the country top to bottom. Indiana already got the better of Kentucky on one occasion this season.

But, unfortunately for the Hoosiers, lightning will not strike twice.