NCAA Tournament 2013 Predictions: Projecting Winners of Sunday's Games

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2013

Can Doug McDermott lead Creighton past Duke?
Can Doug McDermott lead Creighton past Duke?Rob Carr/Getty Images

The quest for the Sweet 16 wages on Sunday as some of the nation's top teams compete to move on to the next round of the NCAA tournament. 

With some intriguing matchups like Kansas vs. North Carolina and Indiana vs. Temple on the docket, it's time for some predictions. 

Here are my projections for the rest of Sunday's games. 

No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 9 Temple, CBS, 2:45 p.m. ET

Indiana's path to the Sweet 16 has been pretty easy so far, as the Hoosiers destroyed James Madison, 83-62, in the opening round. 

Seven-footer Cody Zeller is far and away the Hoosiers' best player, and the giant will be looking for a better performance than his 11-point output against JMU. 

Temple counters with a smaller, but equally impressive superstar of their own in Khalif Wyatt. The 6'4" guard averages over 20 points per game and dropped 31 against North Carolina State in a 76-72 victory. As good as Wyatt is, it'll be a tough task for Temple to defend Zeller and the rest of Indiana's offense. 

Prediction: Indiana wins 70-59

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 North Carolina, CBS, 5:15 p.m. ET

The Jayhawks face a tough test in No. 8 North Carolina Sunday evening. Led by athletic big man James Michael McAdoo, the Tar Heels are on a quest to become the second team to knock off a No. 1 seed. McAdoo will have to be at his best as the Jayhawks boast one of the nation's premier players in freshman Ben McLemore. 

A likely top-five pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore has emerged as Kansas' best player in his debut season. It will be interesting to see how he performs against another gifted athlete in McAdoo. 

Prediction: Kansas wins 63-59

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 11 Minnesota, TNT, 6:10 p.m. ET

Billy Donovan's team enters Sunday fresh off a dominant second-half performance against Northwestern State. After an inconsistent first half, the Gators rolled to a 79-47 win over the Demons, setting themselves up for another shot at the Sweet 16. 

Patric Young and Erik Murphy are two talented big men who can take over the game for the Gators, so you can bet Minnesota will be keying on the future NBA players. 

In the battle between Tubby Smith and Donovan, it'll be the Gators coming out on top. 

Prediction: Florida wins 61-54

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 7 San Diego State, TBS, 7:10 p.m. ET

Few teams are on a roll like Florida Gulf Coast, but can they continue their magical run? San Diego State allows just 60 points per game, so can FGCU's unique attack get the best of them? 

FGCU coach Andy Enfield loves to rotate in a bunch of players and keep the opponent off balance. The Aztecs will have to get a big games from Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley to avoid becoming the second straight team upset by the Eagles. 

Prediction: San Diego State wins 62-60

No. 13 La Salle vs. No. 12 Ole Miss, truTV, 7:40 p.m. ET

This game all comes down to Ole Miss superstar Marshall Henderson. 

An extremely gifted, but erratic player, Henderson has the ability to drop 25 points on any given night. At the same time, he shoots just 38 percent from the field and attempts over 10 three-pointers a game. 

Henderson has been playing very well of late, but what version will show up against La Salle Sunday night? The Rebels need their top player to be on his game if they have want to earn a spot in the Sweet 16. 

Prediction: Ole Miss wins 72-70

No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7 Illinois, TNT, 8:40 p.m. ET

The Hurricanes' solid backcourt of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott will have to take over this game if Miami hopes to earn its first Sweet 16 berth since 2000. 

Larkin and Scott form one of the nation's best dynamic duos, but Illinois can counter with the talented Brandon Paul. However, Paul won't have as many easy looks against Miami's cat-quick guard combo, meaning the Illini will have to move the ball to create open looks. 

Miami has drained 24 three-pointers in its last two games, so Illinois must be able to defend the perimeter.

Prediction: Miami wins 66-56

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Creighton, TBS, 9:40 p.m. ET

Few teams boast the star power of Duke, and Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee should take care of business against Creighton. 

That trio can do it all and is nearly impossible to stop. 

Creighton's best, and perhaps only chance at pulling the upset rests on superstar Doug McDermott. The Bluejays' leading scorer is a lethal three-point shooter (49.7 percent) and uses his 6'8" frame to crash the boards. 

Duke can counter with the duo of Plumlee and Kelly, but the Blue Devils can't remain fixed on just McDermott as Grant Gibbs is an underrated playmaker.  

Prediction: Duke wins 76-72

Stay on top of your game with the latest live tournament bracket, or print out a PDF bracket if you're old school.

Make sure to follow all the exciting NCAA tournament action with March Madness Live.


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