Upsets are a hallmark of the NCAA tournament and it wouldn’t be March Madness without at least a handful of high seeds advancing deep into the marquee event.
It has been no different in 2014, with a handful of double-digit seeds making Cinderella runs and a few middle seeds outperforming expectations in a big way.
Let's take a look at the complete Sweet 16 schedule, plus highlight the latest odds for every game, check out my predictions for the winner of each and note a team primed to pull a big upset during the round.
|2014 NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16 Schedule and Predictions|
|Date||Regional Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Odds||Predicted Winner|
|Thu, March 27||(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Stanford -3||Stanford|
|Thu, March 27||(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin||7:47 p.m.||TBS||Wisconsin -3.5||Baylor|
|Thu, March 27||(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida||9:45 p.m.||CBS||Florida -5||Florida|
|Thu, March 27||(4) San Diego State vs. (1) Arizona||10:17 p.m.||TBS||Arizona -7.5||Arizona|
|Fri, March 28||(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Michigan -2.5||Michigan|
|Fri, March 28||(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||7:27 p.m.||TBS||Iowa State -1.5||Iowa State|
|Fri, March 28||(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||9:45 p.m.||CBS||Louisville -4||Kentucky|
|Fri, March 28||(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||9:57 p.m.||TBS||Michigan State -1.5||Michigan State|
|ESPN and ScoresandOdds|
All Your Bracket Essentials
Most Likely Sweet 16 Upset: Baylor over Wisconsin
The Baylor Bears look good enough to not only beat the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday, but also navigate out of the West region of the bracket and land in the Final Four come early April.
Do not let Baylor’s No. 6 seed deceive you—this team is for real and has plenty of talent all over the court. It has two senior scorers leading the way, as well as a towering big man and a plethora of role players that can get the job done.
Cory Jefferson is BU’s leading scorer and a dangerous low-post player. The senior forward may not have great size at 6’9”, but he works hard in the paint and has range out to the three-point line.
Speaking of range, there is no better sniper in this tournament than Brady Heslip, the senior guard who has been shooting a blistering 46.8 percent from deep this season.
Heslip may be best remembered for the nine three-pointers he netted in a tournament game back in 2012, sinking the Colorado Buffalos on the way to the school’s first Elite Eight run since 1950. This young man clearly rises to the occasion and is going to make the most out of this opportunity.
Take a look at his shot chart, courtesy of ShotAnalytics on Twitter:
There is also Isaiah Austin to account for, a 7’1” behemoth who averages 3.2 blocks per game and makes it extremely tough for the opponent to try and get anything going inside.
When these three, and the rest of the contributors, are all playing well and working together on defense, good things happen.
That much was evident when the Bears sprung a surprise zone defense on No. 3-seeded Creighton in the third round, a tactic that limited Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer, to just 15 points in an 85-55 rout.
Austin credited his side’s hustle for the dominant performance, as per Jeff Potrykus of the Journal Sentinel: "It's a team sport and all five people played hard. We were running out contesting shots and making everything difficult for everybody."
According to Tim Griffin, Jefferson revealed that the Bluejays were visibly frustrated by that zone look:
Wisconsin is going to have its work cut out trying to put points on the board and has already showed flaws during the tournament. The No. 2 seed Badgers allowed Oregon to build a 12-point halftime lead in a third-round showdown, but ultimately the Ducks defense collapsed and allowed the favorite to advance.
That sort of lazy, slow start will completely doom the Badgers’ chances of moving on to the Elite Eight. It will take 40 great minutes of basketball to beat Baylor right now and even then, there is no guarantee of a win due to the Bears’ great, consistent defense and relentless three-point attack.
Don’t be surprised in the least when Baylor, a team that just rounded into form in February but has since become one of the nation’s hottest teams, surges on to the next round.