Sweet 16 2013: Highlighting Most Exciting Matchups for NCAA Tournament

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2013

Patric Young will try to lead the Gators to another Sweet 16 berth.
Patric Young will try to lead the Gators to another Sweet 16 berth.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Whether it's the in-state showdown between Florida Gulf Coast and Florida or the powerhouse matchup of Duke and Michigan State, the potential Sweet 16 matchups hold plenty of excitement as the round of 32 continues Sunday. 

Florida Gulf Coast has thrust itself into the national spotlight after a riveting upset of Georgetown in the first round. The Eagles, led by second-year head coach Andy Enfield, are just one win away from a berth to the Sweet 16. Talk about a bracket buster. 

With so many quality teams vying for those coveted 16 spots, let's take a look at the most exciting potential matchups in the NCAA tournament. 


No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan 

Michigan has coasted through the first two rounds of the tournament, making mince meat of South Dakota State and VCU. The Wolverines have shot the lights out of the gym, topping 50 percent in each of their first two victories. 

Led by Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan's offense is among the best in the nation. It's no coincidence that both players are the sons of former NBA stars, as Hardaway is one of the nation's craftiest playmakers, and Robinson is a natural finisher.

Combined with all-around stud Trey Burke, the Wolverines boast arguably the top trio of any team in the tournament. 

Although Kansas might have something to say about that. Anchored by freshman sensation Ben McLemore, the Jayhawks are incredibly efficient on offense and have a premier shot blocker in Jeff Withey. Watching McLemore, a likely 2013 lottery pick, go up against the likes of Robinson and Hardaway would be a sight to see in the Sweet 16. 


No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke 

Talk about two powerhouses. 

Duke's accomplishments could take up an entire page in itself, but the Blue Devils aren't resting on their laurels. This year's squad is bolstered by a terrific senior trio that's been through the rigors of March Madness before. 

Seth Curry is the conductor of one of the country's most potent offenses. A deadly three-point shooter and even craftier finisher at the rim, the younger brother of NBA star Stephen Curry has the rare ability to dominate a game one-on-one. 

Curry isn't alone, however, as big men Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are versatile scoring threats who aren't afraid to do the little things to win. 

Unlike Duke, Michigan State doesn't rely on experience. In fact, the Spartans' only major senior contributor is Derrick Nix. The Spartans don't have the firepower of the Blue Devils, but it'd be intriguing to see how coaching legend Tom Izzo would game plan for another legend in Mike Krzyzewski. 


No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast 

The Gators are no stranger to the Sweet 16. However, a matchup against Florida Gulf Coast would be an exciting sight for the Sunshine State. 

UF has always been the top dog in the state, but could you imagine the outcry if FGCU was able to upset the mighty Gators? 

Florida is one of the most talented and deep teams in the country, but they often struggle with consistency. Patric Young is a dynamic talent, yet the big man doesn't bring it night in and night out. Kenny Boynton can score the basketball, yet he shoots under 40 percent from the field and attempts over six three-pointers a game. 

Can Florida string it together for one last magical run? Or will the Eagles—who've already taken down a No. 2 seed—play spoiler again? Both teams will have to take care of business on Sunday, but a Sweet 16 showdown could ignite new interest in college basketball in the state of Florida. 


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