Sweet 16 Predictions, And Beyond

And, like Gonzaga and Arizona, I don't think they'll have to play one of the top four teams left in the event until the title game. But they realized they could approximate Duke's talent if not its skill, and in a one-and-done setting belief is a powerful thing. Staying in the East Regional, it was an incredible weekend for SC, which got the benefit of a home state crowd on the way to beating Marquette and Duke for its first NCAA Tournament wins and first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1973.

The 2017 NCAA Tournament still needs two more weeks to decide its champion, but midnight came early for Cinderella yet again.

Do you remember who won the NCAA Tournament in 2013? I did not see that kind of domination coming, and I'm not sure that it last.

No. 3 Maryland then defeated No. 6 West Virginia in the Big Ten's second game of the afternoon, 83-56.

"The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one", wrote Chesterton, an English author who died in 1936, three years before the first NCAA Tournament. They'll have to get past the point guard-less No. 11 Xavier to get to the Elite 8, and once there, they will square off with either Gonzaga or West Virginia. Scores 65 points in one half against Duke? I'll give the honor to Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson.

Mike: I agree with Jeff. Colson did what he's done all year, he's made plays for the Irish, but his teammates' play was not up to the standard in the Second Round against West Virginia. For perspective on that margin, the 13 seeds lost by an average of 10.8 points, the 14 seeds by an average of 14.3 points.

Justin: Butler isn't an easy draw, but perhaps Carolina can gain some momentum after a close call against underdog Arkansas. Of the first 48 games of the tournament, half of them fit that description. Transfers don't help. Neither does a committee that's preferred middling major conference teams over strong, experienced mid-majors that stumble in their high-pressure conference tournaments. And I have the Bruins and Zags - West Coast stand up! - meeting in the national title game with the victor being the same victor I had winning the national title on Selection Sunday - Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins. Last Sunday we all said UNC needs Joel Berry and Justin Jackson to shoot well to make a run deep into the tournament.

Penn State Faces Pivotal Matchup in Opening Round of Big Ten Tournament
The senior's three-point play with 34.6 seconds before halftime sent MSU into the locker room leading, 38-27. Ward's jump ball foul - something that basically never happens - threw a wrench into things early.

Wrote Sankey in a Monday email: "It is encouraging for the SEC to have three teams competing in the Sweet Sixteen, and we came just short of having four".

Oh, I will. At this point, I've got nothing left.

I'm in a bracket pool with 73 entries and of those, only seven did not have either Villanova or Duke reaching the Final Four, and all of them had the two teams making it to the Sweet 16.

Kentucky's 2016 Mr. Basketball, Carson Williams (Owen County) hit United Kingdom for 21 points and nine rebounds. The Hokies went one-and-done in its first tourney since 2007, falling 84-74 to a grossly underseeded Wisconsin team.

Yeah. Just keep telling yourself that, Mr. All-ACC-Final-Four.

"The league isn't very tough", one ACC assistant told ESPN. But this season I think that narrative shifts. The ACC tournament in Brooklyn was a showcase of excellent basketball, or so it seemed. Seeing as the conference underperformed in the first weekend, those doubts have every right to surface. When Wichita State has the basketball budget of a Big 10 team, and teams can rebuild on the fly with graduate transfers, and it's more common than ever for small-conference players to transfer "up" to bigger programs, the result is a historic degree of parity in college basketball - something Duke's Mike Krzyzewski foreshadowed before the tournament. North Carolina is the lone remaining ACC team in the NCAA Tournament and even they had to rally from behind late to get past Arkansas in their second round game on Sunday. I'm sticking to my gut with this region, and that includes my prediction that Arizona will win the national championship.

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