NCAA Bracket 2011: Sweet 16 Analysis and Predictions

Magnus JohnsonCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2011

NCAA Bracket 2011: Sweet 16 Analysis and Predictions

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    This year's NCAA Tournament has been one of the most entertaining I've ever seen.

    There have been numerous buzzer-beaters, close finishes and great upsets, including Butler's win over No. 1 seed Pitt.

    Heading into the second weekend of the tourney, we've got eight fantastic matchups to look forward to in the Sweet 16. Let's break them all down.

East: 1. Ohio State vs. 4. Kentucky

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Ohio State: 

    Second-round blowout vs. UTSA

    Third-round blowout vs. George Mason


    Second-round close win vs. Princeton

    Third-round close win vs. West Virginia

    Key Player: Brandon Knight

    Prediction: Kentucky defeats Ohio State in a close game, led by Brandon Knight's 30 points and 10 assists. OSU's Jared Sullinger gets 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it isn't enough to avoid an upset at the hands of the Wildcats.  

East: 2. North Carolina vs. 11. Marquette

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    North Carolina:

    Second-round easy win vs. Long Island

    Third-round close win vs. Washington


    Second-round easy win vs. Xavier

    Third-round close win vs. Syracuse

    Key Player: Harrison Barnes

    Prediction: UNC defeats Marquette in an easy win behind Barnes' 30 points. Marquette doesn't have anything left in the tank after their win over Syracuse. 

West: 1. Duke vs. 5. Arizona

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    Second-round blowout win vs. Hampton

    Third-round close win vs. Michigan


    Second-round close win vs. Memphis

    Third-round close win vs. Texas

    Key Player: Nolan Smith

    Prediction: Duke defeats Arizona in a great game behind Smith's 20 and Singler's 20. Derrick Williams has 20 for 'Zona along with 10 rebounds, but after great plays at the end of each of their first two tournament games he doesn't come through at the end of this one.  

West: 2. San Diego State vs. 3. Connecticut

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images


    Second-round easy win vs. North Colorado

    Third-round OT win vs. Temple


    Second-round blowout win vs. Bucknell

    Third-round easy win vs. Cincinnati

    Key Player: Jeremy Lamb

    Prediction: UConn defeats SDSU in a close game behind Kemba Walker's 20 points and Jeremy Lamb's five three-pointers. SDSU puts up a good fight, but Kemba and Lamb are too much for them on the offensive end.  

Southwest: 1. Kansas vs. 12. Richmond

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    Second-round easy win vs. Boston University

    Third-round easy win vs. Illinois 


    Second-round close win vs. Vanderbilt

    Third-round easy win vs. Morehead State

    Key Player: Marcus Morris

    Prediction: Kansas defeats Richmond in a blowout behind Marcus Morris's 30 points and his brother's 20. They bring Richmond back down to earth and end their Cinderella season. 

Southwest: 10. Florida State vs. 11. Virginia Commonwealth

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Florida State:

    Second-round Close win vs. Texas A&M

    Third-round easy win vs. Notre Dame


    First-round easy win vs. USC

    Second-round easy win vs. Georgetown

    Third-round easy win vs. Purdue

    Key Player: Chris Singleton

    Prediction: Florida State defeats VCU in a great game. Singleton has 20 points in just 15 minutes of playing time, helping FSU end VCU's Cinderella season. 

Southeast: 4. Wisconsin vs. 8. Butler

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images


    Second-round easy win vs. Belmont

    Third-round easy win vs. Kansas State


    Second-round close win vs. Old Dominion

    Third-round close win vs. Pitt

    Key Player: Jordan Taylor

    Prediction: Wisconsin defeats Butler in a blowout behind Taylor's explosion for 30 points and 10 assists. Butler can't make it quite as far as they did last year.  

Southeast: 2. Florida vs. 3. BYU

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


    Second-round blowout vs. UC Santa Barbara

    Third-round close win vs. UCLA


    Second-round close win vs. Wofford

    Third-round easy win vs. Gonzaga

    Key Player: Jimmer Fredette 

    Prediction: BYU defeats Florida in a close contest behind a big game from Jimmer. Florida just doesn't have the defense to contain the Jimmer Show. 

Elite Eight and Final Four

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    Elite Eight:

    East: Kentucky over UNC

    West: UConn over Duke

    Southwest: Kansas over Florida State

    Southeast: BYU over Wisconsin

    Final Four:

    UConn over Kentucky

    Kansas over BYU

    National Championship Game:

    UConn 76, Kansas 72

    MVP: Kemba Walker