Sweet 16 Predictions: Breaking Down Matchups for Remaining No. 1 Seeds

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIMarch 28, 2013

Mar 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) reacts after making a shot and getting fouled in front of Syracuse Orange forward C.J. Fair (5) and Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) during the second half of the championship game of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a tournament full of surprises and upsets, but one thing rings true: the No. 1 seeds are rolling.

Outside of Gonzaga's upset, Louisville, Kansas and Indiana enter the Sweet Sixteen ultimately unchallenged.

The only close game between these three teams was Indiana's near loss to Temple. Outside of that, the top seeds continue to dominate the field.

Now that the first two rounds are over things get that much harder. The tournament is no longer filled with No. 16 seeds and easy wins.

Heading into this weekend's action we're breaking down the remaining No. 1 seeds Sweet Sixteen matches.

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon

Coming into March Madness as the top-seeded team in the country, it's no surprise that Louisville has dominated its first two opponents.

The Cardinals are averaging 80.5 points a game in the tournament and topped their first two opponents by a combined score of 57 points.

Louisville will square off with Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen. Despite the Duck's No. 12 seed, they're not a team the Cardinals can afford to underestimate.

Oregon has played lights-out defense throughout the tournament, holding opponents to 56 points a game. Senior forward Arsalan Kazemi has been a huge difference maker, racking up 33 rebounds in the tourney.

Despite how good the Ducks' defense has been, they've yet to face down an offense as explosive as Louisville.

Junior guard Russ Smith is averaging 25 points a game in the tournament, while shooting 54.8 percent. Junior center Gorgui Dieng has 20 points and is a perfect 9-of-9 from the field.

The Cardinals have two other players averaging at least nine points a game through the team's first two games.

Oregon has played some great basketball, proving it was more deserving of its low seeding. Even so, there's no doubt the Cardinals prove to be too much in the next round.

Louisville 70, Oregon 60

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan

Kansas looked to be in a lull to start the tournament, barely escaping first-round opponent Western Kentucky 64-57. The Jayhawks really turned things around in their next match, topping North Carolina, 70-58.

Michigan has looked unstoppable in the early going. The Wolverines are averaging 74.5 points a game through the first two rounds, and have topped their opponents by a combined 40 points.

Among the remaining teams, no one is playing better team basketball than Michigan.

The Wolverines have four players averaging double-digit points per game through the first two rounds, three of which have at least 20 shot attempts—the fourth has 19.

The Jayhawks haven't been nearly as team oriented, but have still found ways to move the ball around and put up points.

Defensively it's almost a draw, with both teams rebounding well in the tournament and limiting opposing offenses.

Worth mentioning is senior center Jeff Withey for Kansas, who has 22 rebounds and 12 blocks through the team's first two games.

Mitch McGary has been the guy to talk about on Michigan's side, as the freshman forward has 23 rebounds and is averaging a double-double a game in the tournament.

This is an even matchup, and both teams have been playing strong basketball. With that said, Michigan is playing great team basketball and has too many hot hands for Kansas to shut them all down.

Kansas 62, Michigan 67

No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 4 Syracuse

For a while there, it didn't look like Indiana would top Temple in the round of 32. But the Hoosiers battled back to win that game 58-52, and find themselves staring down Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Orange opened their tournament much hotter than expected, decimating Montana 81-34 in their first-round matchup. Things weren't as easy against California, but Syracuse still fought its way to the Sweet Sixteen.

Just as he was throughout much of the regular season, Cody Zeller has been an x-factor for Indiana in the tournament. The sophomore forward is averaging 13 points per game.

With that said, junior guard Victor Oladipo has been Indiana's savior, averaging 13.5 points a game on 52.6 percent shooting. It was his late three that helped put away Temple in the close win.

Defensively Indiana's played inconsistently in the tournament, but is still limiting opponents to just 57 points a game.

Syracuse's strong push in the Sweet Sixteen has been fueled by junior forward C.J. Fair, who has 31 points through the team's first two games.

The Orange have spread the ball around well, with four different players averaging double-digit points per game in the tournament.

At some point in the tournament these two teams have either looked unbeatable, or completely exposed through the first two rounds. Now the question is, who finds consistency first in this matchup?

Indiana was more consistent in the regular season, and Syracuse had issues beating tough opponents to finish the season. The edge falls to the Hoosiers.

Indiana 60, Syracuse 58 

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