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NCAA Tournament 2016: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for Sweet 16

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2016

NCAA Tournament 2016: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for Sweet 16

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    What happened to the madness?

    After the first weekend of the NCAA tournament featured nonstop action with upsets and wild finishes, the Sweet 16 was a return to calm. All eight games were won by the higher seeds, with six games decided by double digits. All four No. 1 seeds remain alive heading into the Elite Eight.

    No matter what teams they are rooting for, fans will likely hope for more drama in the upcoming rounds.

    Of course, there was still certainly some quality basketball from the winning teams in the Sweet 16 with individual performances that won't be easily forgotten. There were also some memorable finishes from Notre Dame and Syracuse, so take a look at the complete game-by-game recap of the third round right here.

     

    All in-game stats courtesy of NCAA.com.

No. 1 Virginia 84, No. 4 Iowa State 71

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Iowa State made its shots, yet it still wasn't enough to beat the near flawless play from Virginia.

    In most cases, shooting 52.9 percent from the field against a stout defense like this would be enough, but the Cavaliers were even better on the offensive end to earn an impressive win in a game they never trailed.

    The No. 1 seed jumped out to a 17-3 lead and dominated much of the first half with its usual impressive efficiency. The squad made over 60 percent of its shots in the first 20 minutes while earning assists on 15 of 17 made baskets.

    The Cavaliers continued to play well in the second half, although Georges Niang did everything he could to keep Iowa State in the game. He had 20 of the team's first 40 second-half points and helped cut the lead down to eight points.

    Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Niang picked up his fourth foul on a questionable call with about 13 minutes remaining in the second half. Although he only missed a few minutes of action, the scoring margin ballooned up to 15 in this stretch, and the score never got back to single digits the rest of the game.

    Virginia finished with 26 assists and just seven turnovers in what became a one-sided victory.

     

    Top Performers

    Niang couldn't be stopped for much of the game, finishing with 30 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists. 

    Mike Tobey was the surprising star for Virginia, totaling 18 points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end. The center averages just 6.9 points per game on the season but was huge in this one.

     

    X-Factor

    London Perrantes only scored six points, but he was still in complete control on the offensive end with nine assists and zero turnovers.

     

    Next Round

    Virginia moves on to the Elite Eight where it will face a double-digit seed, either No. 10 Syracuse or No. 11 Gonzaga.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 6 Notre Dame 61, No. 7 Wisconsin 56

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Demetrius Jackson was quiet for most of the game but made big plays in the final minute to help Notre Dame steal a victory from Wisconsin.

    The Fighting Irish trailed for the majority of the night and never had more than a two-point lead until the final minute. After Vitto Brown broke a tie with a three-pointer for Wisconsin with 26 seconds left, things looked bleak. However, Jackson cut down the lead with a layup and then took the lead on another layup after a steal in the backcourt.

    After V.J. Beachem extended the lead to three points on a pair of free throws, Jackson got one more steal on Bronson Koenig to seal the win.

    The game started out relatively ugly as Wisconsin was able to take just a 23-19 lead at halftime. The two sides combined to shoot just 29.1 percent from the field, 4-of-19 from three and both teams had scoring droughts of at least four minutes.

    Fortunately for everyone watching along, the action picked up in the second half with improved offense on both ends of the court.

    Although the Badgers appeared to do enough to escape with the win, two of their 17 turnovers ended up being the difference in the loss.

     

    Top Performers

    Beachem had a game-high 19 points, but Zach Auguste might have been the most important for Notre Dame. He missed a few easy ones early on, but he finished strong with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. His battle with Ethan Happ was a good one as the freshman tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late.

     

    X-Factor

    Jackson didn't have a strong overall game and started just 4-of-16 from the field. However, he was responsible for six of Notre Dame's last eight points plus two steals in the final minute to help win the game.

     

    Next Round

    Things will get even tougher in the next round as Notre Dame will face the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Indiana.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 10 Syracuse 63, No. 11 Gonzaga 60

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Syracuse ended the game on a 9-1 run to cap an impressive comeback in the final few minutes and secure a trip to the Elite Eight.

    Gonzaga held a 59-54 lead with three minutes remaining, but the Orange ramped up the intensity from there. A hard press created multiple turnovers, while extra effort on the offensive boards led to second-chance points in the final few possessions.

    After a controversial out-of-bounds call against Trevor Cooney gave Gonzaga new life, Tyler Lydon made the game-sealing block to help the Orange escape with the win.

    The Bulldogs had been one of the more impressive teams in the tournament coming in and appeared to be on track for another easy win early with a 21-10 lead 10 minutes into the game. They still looked comfortable near halftime up 29-22, but a 12-0 Syracuse run through intermission gave the Orange a five-point lead, and it was close from that point on. 

    All of a sudden, the team some believed didn't deserve a spot in the NCAA tournament is playing in the Elite Eight.

     

    Top Performers

    Michael Gbinije wasn't all that efficient but still came through when needed with 20 points for Syracuse. Gonzaga struggled with balance, but its top two scorers excelled. Kyle Wiltjer led the way with 23 points, while Domantas Sabonis finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds after scoring just four in the first half.

     

    X-Factor

    The Syracuse press was a major difference late, although Lydon deserves a lot of credit for his play on the defensive end. He finished with six blocks including one in the final seconds. Nailing the two free throws in the final seconds also didn't hurt.

     

    Next Round

    As well as Syracuse has played to this point, a matchup against No. 1 Virginia in the Elite Eight will represent the toughest test to date.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 1 North Carolina 101, No. 5 Indiana 86

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Indiana came into the game as one of the best outside shooting teams in the country, but it was North Carolina that couldn't miss on Friday.

    While the Tar Heels came into the game making just 31.4 percent of shots from three-point range, they looked like the Golden State Warriors, making their first seven shots from beyond the arc and 10 of their first 13. They finished 11-of-20 from deep, although the game was well in hand by the time the misses came.

    When North Carolina wasn't drilling shots from the outside, it was getting free chances from the charity stripe. Indiana was called for 27 fouls, and UNC finished 26-of-33 from the free-throw line. The No. 1 seed even got to the bonus before the first media timeout in the second half.

    The Hoosiers ended up making 13 three-pointers themselves, but it was mostly too little, too late, as they failed to cut the deficit to single digits throughout the second half.

    North Carolina was simply too dominant offensively with all five starters scoring at least 14 points in the win.

     

    Top Performers

    Marcus Paige set the tone of the game with 14 points in the first 10 minutes, finishing with 21 on 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range. He has had an inconsistent season, but this is a dangerous team if he is making shots. Brice Johnson also had a big showing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

    Yogi Ferrell ended his senior year with 25 points in a loss, while Troy Williams scored 21, 20 of which came in the second half.

     

    X-Factor

    Justin Jackson filled up the box score with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. At times he was also the best player on the offensive end, ending the night with 14 points.

     

    Next Round

    There will be a rematch of the ACC semifinals when No. 1 North Carolina takes on No. 6 Notre Dame. The last time these teams met, the Tar Heels left with a 78-47 win.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 2 Villanova 92, No. 3 Miami 69

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    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    The shooting was incredible from both sides, but Villanova showed it was the better team with a 23-point win over Miami.

    After the two teams combined to shoot 13-of-19 from three-point range in the first half, the impressive play continued into the second half. Miami shot 53.2 from the floor, but it still could not keep up with Villanova and its 62.7 shooting, including 10-of-15 from beyond the arc.

    Beyond the better shots, a major difference was the Wildcats' ability to get to the free-throw line, where they shot 18-of-19. Adding this to a 26-16 advantage on the boards (clearly there weren't a lot of missed shots), and it was easy for the No. 2 seed to pull away.

    Villanova came out ready to go with a 29-14 advantage in the early going, but a 12-0 Miami run kept things close in the first half. The second half was a different story, however, as the Hurricanes' varied defenses couldn't do anything to slow down the red-hot opponent on its way to a Sweet 16 win.

     

    Top Performers

    Kris Jenkins was as efficient as possible in his outing, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He shot 8-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from three, including a couple from especially deep. Meanwhile, Sheldon McClellan did his job for Miami with a game-high 26 points.

     

    X-Factors

    Ryan Arcidiacono is more than an X-factor as Villanova's most important player, but he provided a little extra in this one on the offensive end. He scored 13 points in the first nine minutes to set the tone and finished with 21 points in the win.

     

    Next Round

    Villanova will look at a chance to reach the Final Four if it can beat the winner of No. 1 Kansas and No. 5 Maryland.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 2 Oklahoma 77, No. 3 Texas A&M 63

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Oklahoma wasn't going to allow a miracle Texas A&M comeback in this round. The Sooners jumped out to a big first-half lead and never looked back in a dominant 14-point victory.

    A 14-0 first-half run turned a 26-22 Oklahoma lead into a comfortable 40-22 advantage, which it eventually became 45-26 at halftime. Texas A&M—which came back from a 12-point deficit in the final minute last round against Northern Iowa—was never able to get within single digits in the second half on Thursday.

    The Aggies struggled immensely on the offensive end, turning the ball over 10 times in the first half and finishing just 34.4 percent shooting from the field. They even struggled from the free-throw line where they finished 13-of-24. Leading scorer Danuel House ended his night just 4-of-13 from the field.

    On the other hand, Oklahoma didn't even need a big outing from Buddy Hield (17 points) and instead relied on balance with five players in double figures. Jordan Woodard took care of the rest with an excellent shooting night to lead the Sooners to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009.

     

    Top Performers

    Hield is usually a fixture in this spot, but it was Woodard who stole the show against Texas A&M. The guard finished with 22 points and five assists while shooting 8-of-11 from the field.

    On an Aggies team loaded with seniors, freshman Tyler Davis had the best day with 17 points and eight rebounds.

     

    X-Factor

    Isaiah Cousins had an awful shooting night (1-of-8) but finished with eight assists while helping spread the ball around to everyone on the floor. This helped transform a one-man team into a dangerous all-around offense.

     

    Next Round

    Oklahoma will reach its first Final Four since 2002 if it can beat the winner of No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 4 Duke.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 1 Kansas 79, No. 5 Maryland 63

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    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    Kansas showed that its current winning streak has not been an accident. 

    Maryland played well early and held a lead for much of the first half, going down just 36-34 at halftime. However, the Jayhawks' impressive defense and poor Maryland shooting allowed the favorite to get a little breathing room in the second. 

    The Terrapins had a few chances to cut the score down early in the second half, but a near-seven-minute drought without a field goal allowed Kansas to expand the lead to 16. Maryland ended the game shooting 40 percent from the field including just 5-of-25 from three-point range while never earning a second-half lead.

    Melo Trimble shot just 5-of-16 and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.

    Meanwhile, the Jayhawks won the rebounding battle 41-26 while stars Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr. combined for 46 points as the team secured its NCAA-best 17th game in a row.

     

    Top Performers

    Ellis was simply unguardable all game, pounding the ball inside and tallying 27 points in the win. A normally versatile scorer, all of his points came inside the arc and on a 7-of-7 effort from the free-throw line. Rasheed Sulaimon had 18 points for Maryland and unlike Trimble, he didn't need all that many shots to get there, ending the night 6-of-12 from the field.

     

    X-Factor

    Maryland center Diamond Stone is a potential lottery pick, but he barely saw the floor in this game while dealing with constant foul trouble. The result was no offensive balance for the Terps and limited interior defense.

     

    Next Round

    The Kansas win set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the South Region against Villanova, a team that has shot the ball lights-out all tournament long.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 4 Duke

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    This hadn't been a good tournament for the Pac-12, but Oregon proved it is still a great team with a decisive victory over Duke.

    The Ducks were simply too long and athletic for the Blue Devils, who feature an offense that usually spreads the floor and knocks down shots from the perimeter. However, they were held to just 7-of-22 shooting from three-point range while nothing was easy inside.

    On the other end of the court, Oregon did a great job of sharing the basketball with 22 assists on 32 made baskets, contributing to five players in double figures. When the Ducks weren't knocking down shots from the outside they were throwing down ferocious dunks over their undersized opponent.

    Oregon never trailed after the opening minutes and pulled away in the second half against a Duke team that has lacked depth all year long. The No. 1 seed built a double-digit lead shortly after halftime and never looked back while earning a trip to the Elite Eight.

     

    Top Performers

    Dillon Brooks was as good as ever, filling up the box score with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds. His only flaw on the day was going 0-of-3 from the free-throw line.

    On the other side, Brandon Ingram put on a show for NBA scouts in possibly his last game in college, scoring 24 points with five rebounds and two steals.

     

    X-Factor

    Jordan Bell had 13 points, but his true impact was on the defensive end where he didn't allow any open looks. He finished with four blocks and altered a bunch more while making things difficult for the Blue Devils.

     

    Next Round

    The entire left side of the bracket remains chalk with No. 1 seeds against No. 2 seeds in the Elite Eight. Oregon will take on Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in its matchup.

     

    -Update by Rob Goldberg

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