NCAA Basketball: 49 Down, 16 Teams Remain, Who Will Advance?
With 16 teams remaining, only three are Cinderella teams. Well, technically two...I don't see Villanova as a Cinderella even if they are a 12 seed. They play in a power conference.
Besides that, here are my picks of winners in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 to advance from each region to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
(1) North Carolina vs. (4) Washington St.
UNC is able to overcome the Cougars swarming defense to advance to the Elite 8.
Lawson and Hansbrough will prove to be too much for the Cougars as Hansbrough goes for his usual 20 and 10 nights and Lawson contributes with eight-plus assists.
Washington St. keeps this a low scoring game but in the end UNC is the No. 1 overall seed for a reason and they will prove it in the final minutes of this close contest.
(2) Tennessee vs. (3) Louisville
Tennessee is able to quiet the critics in this one and win another close contest that will be more of a 3-point shootout than a defensive outing.
Pitino is a big game coach, but I think Bruce Pearl will have his team ready for this one.
Neither team is great from the free throw line but if I had to choose I would say Tennessee is the better free throw shooting team.
Lofton and the boys from Tennessee pull away in the final moments and advance to face UNC in the regional finals.
Regional Finals East Region:
(1) North Carolina vs. (2) Tennessee
Tennessee proves not to count them out in a surprising upset win over the heavily favored Tar Heels.
Tennessee is too good from the outside. Although UNC plays good defense they will give up a lot of open looks from behind the three-point line.
Tennessee clinches it in the end with free throws from Lofton to advance to San Antonio with an upset over UNC.
(1) Kansas vs. (12) Villanova
In a game that is close for a half and then broken open in the second half, Kansas wins this one.
I expect them to do what they did against UNLV—play it close in the first half and then come out with a fury in the second half as they pull away from Nova.
Nova has a young team and that will prove to be the downfall in what will be the biggest game of some of these young players lives thus far.
Kansas advances to the Regional Finals.
(3) Wisconsin vs. (10) Davidson
The slipper seems to be coming off of the Cinderellas once the sweet 16 hits.
Curry is a pure shooter and can light it up from anywhere, but it won't be enough as Wisconsin wins this one by not letting anybody else on Davidson take over the game.
Wisconsin can afford Curry to go for 30, but if anybody else on Davidson gets a lot of points there could be trouble for the Badgers.
Wisconsin advances to the Regional Final to face Kansas.
Regional Final Midwest Region:
(1) Kansas vs. (3) Wisconsin
I think another No. 1 seed goes down here also.
I have Wisconsin defeating Kansas to advance to San Antonio and a meeting with Tennessee.
Kansas is very good but I think a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon because of the Big 12 conference tournament. We all saw what happened to Pitt after people jumped on their bandwagon.
Wisconsin's defense can slow a game down and can take a team right out of it. Kansas will fall into this trap and Wisconsin wins a relatively low scoring contest in advancing to the Final Four.
(1) Memphis vs. (5) Michigan St.
Many people have this going in Michigan State's favor, but I disagree.
Memphis is the most underrated No. 1 seed in the tournament. I see them winning this game and actually shooting decently from the free throw line.
If Memphis can shut down Neitzel then they are a sure thing; if Neitzel catches fire Memphis could be in for a long day.
I still have Memphis advancing to San Antonio.
(2) Texas vs. (3) Stanford
Stanford struggled in their last game against Marquette but I think that's what they needed to prepare for Texas.
I have Stanford advancing to the Regional Final to meet with Memphis.
The Lopez twins will dominate inside and Stanford's guard play defense will stifle Texas and their star guards.
Stanford wins another close one and advances to face Memphis.
Regional Final Midwest Region:
(1) Memphis vs. (3) Stanford
Memphis once again proves critics wrong in winning this game and advancing to the Final Four.
Memphis is an extremely physical team. Stanford is as well, but Memphis will be able to bully Stanford around at times. They also possess the power to annoy one of the twins, throwing them off their game.
This one comes down to free throws but Memphis is able to hit most of them and advances in a close entertaining game.
(1) UCLA vs. (12) Western Kentucky
Another Cinderella goes down as UCLA wins this one in what I feel will be the least exciting game of the bunch.
UCLA will finally come out and play hard and show why they are a Championship Contender.
The Bruins prove to be too much as they pull away before halftime and never look back. UCLA advances to the Regional Final.
(3) Xavier vs. (7) West Virginia
In what many people surprisingly had in their brackets, this matchup may not be such a surprise after all.
I see WVU continuing their run through the tourney with Bob Huggins and win this game to advance to the regional final to face UCLA.
Joe Alexander should be able to exploit the smaller Xavier team. Drew Lavender for Xavier is a hell of a player though and will definitely keep the Musketeers in this one.
West Virginia's three-point shooting will prove to be too much for Xavier to matchup with and WVU will advance in this one.
Regional Final West Region:
(1) UCLA vs. (7) West Virginia
UCLA will definitely have a home court type of advantage in this one with Phoenix being so close to California.
West Virginia has played the Bruins tough in past matchups between the two squads, but Kevin Love will be too much for West Virginia to match.
I even see Josh Shipp finally breaking out and having a big game for the Bruins.
UCLA wins this one and advance to San Antonio for a meeting with other No. 1 seed—Memphis.
Breakdown of Picks:
Sweet 16 Winners:
Regional Finals Winners:
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