NCAA Bracket 2019: Full Weekend Tournament Schedule and PredictionsMarch 28, 2019
Sixteen college basketball programs are left with aspirations of winning the 2019 NCAA men's basketball tournament.
A majority of the Sweet 16 participants established themselves among the sport's elite teams at the start of the regular season.
However, there are a few teams capable of springing upsets with the focus centered on the top programs.
As for the top teams, all four No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds are still alive, which is a huge increase from the six teams seeded first through third who made it to the Sweet 16 a year ago.
2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket
Sweet 16 Schedule
Thursday, March 28
West Region: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Florida State (7:09 p.m., CBS)
South Region: No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Purdue (7:29 p.m., TBS)
West Region: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (9:39 p.m., CBS)
South Region: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 12 Oregon (9:57 p.m., CBS)
Friday, March 29
East Region: No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 LSU (7:09 p.m., CBS)
Midwest Region: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Auburn (7:29 p.m., TBS)
East Region: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech (9:39 p.m., CBS)
Midwest Region: No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Houston (9:59 p.m., TBS)
Duke Steamrolls Virginia Tech
Friday is when the dominant Duke team we've been waiting to see emerges.
Outside of the second half against North Dakota State in the first round, the Blue Devils haven't overwhelmed an opponent with their talented freshmen in the Big Dance.
With Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Co. motivated to prove they're the best team in the nation, they'll trounce a familiar opponent in Virginia Tech.
Barrett and Reddish combined to score 38 points in the regular-season meeting with the Hokies, which came in the second game after Williamson went down with an ankle injury.
By adding Williamson, who has 57 points so far in the Big Dance, the Blue Devils have a scoring trio that will give the Virginia Tech defense nightmares.
Duke should be able to achieve a ton of success by driving into the paint after struggling to deal with the size of UCF's Tacko Fall in the second round.
If Tre Jones attracts attention when he cuts into the paint, he'll be able to dish off to Barrett or Williamson for high-percentage shots.
The volume of shots taken in the paint will also take the pressure off the Blue Devils to force shots from three-point range.
As a team, Duke shoots 30.2 percent from beyond the arc, and although Virginia Tech will try to make it shoot three-pointers, Mike Krzyzewski's men will be smarter with the ball and work it inside.
By limiting most poor shots from deep, the Blue Devils will erase the possibility of long rebounds, which can then be turned into transition baskets by the Hokies.
Although the Hokies beat Duke in the regular season without star guard Justin Robinson, they didn't fare well against other ranked opponents, as they were 2-6 against ranked foes in ACC play, with the other victory being the infamous 47-23 win over NC State.
In those six losses, Virginia Tech conceded an average of 76.3 points, and Duke has scored more than that average in 22 of its 28 wins with Williamson in the lineup.
Oregon Scores Upset Over Virginia
Few teams participating in the Sweet 16 are as hot as Oregon.
The Ducks closed their regular season with eight straight wins, including four victories in four days at the Pac-12 tournament, and they extended that run to 10 games by beating Wisconsin and UC Irvine in the first and second rounds.
The remarkable thing about Oregon's streak is it won eight of those games by double digits, including its first two NCAA tournament contests.
Dana Altman's team might not blow out top-seeded Virginia, but it will cause all sorts of difficulties to the Cavaliers on both sides of the court.
Offensively, the Ducks are able to hit opponents from all angles with a few different players who can knock down three-point shots and big men who can challenge Virginia in the paint.
Payton Pritchard will once again be the key to the Oregon offense, as he recorded 37 points and 15 assists against Wisconsin and UC Irvine.
If Pritchard doesn't have an open look, he can swing the ball to Louis King or Paul White for a three-point attempt, as the duo combined to shoot 5-for-7 against Wisconsin and went 6-for-14 from beyond the arc in the win over UC Irvine.
King and White are also capable of slashing to the hoop to join Kenny Wooten and Francis Okoro around the rim.
Oregon also has an impressive guard coming off the bench in Ehab Amin, who does everything on both sides of the ball and came to life on offense in the second round with 12 points.
Defensively, the Ducks have the length that could frustrate the Cavaliers, as four of their starters are listed at 6'9" or above.
If Oregon continues to play as a cohesive unit on both sides of the ball and frustrates Virginia from the first minute, it will be the first No. 12 seed to make the Elite Eight since Missouri in 2002.
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