Your brackets are shot because you did not consider and ponder The Hoops Prophet’s upset warnings, so you didn’t ponder Florida Gulf Coast University, etc., ect., etc.. However here you can redeem yourself by at least taking the time to avidly read through the Sweet 16 matchups below and after pondering the keen insight analysis provided, well for cripes sakes you can ponder harder and then make your vote count on each game! So Sweet 16 Redemption is what you crave, and thus let’s get you to it:
Can Oregon Keep The Upset Magic Going Against Louisville?!
Louiville is everyone’s favorite even more so going into the Sweet 16. They have pummelled their first two opponents defensively and offensively. The best #1 seed with a great well seasoned coach in Pitino, now firing on all cylinders. Oregon is everyone’s favorite #12 seed upset pick the first two rounds, knocking off two #4 seeds. Oregon is also playing some real good basketball. Of course Louisville is the heavy favorite in this game, but can Oregon keep the upset magic going against an order of magnitude more potent #1 seed like Louisville?? Well, there are some things that might be in Oregon’s favor. First off Oregon is a solid high scoring offense and has averaged 71 ppg in it’s first two tourney games. And in the regular season they did get a win against now #4 Arizona scoring 70 points, which might indicate they can keep the team ppg totals high enough to win even against Louisville’s defense. That Louisville defense will put a lot of pressure on Oregon to not allow Louisville to press for steals and turnovers. Louisville got 31 steals it’s first two games while Oregon turned the ball over 36 times in it’s wins the first two games. Oregon can’t allow that or it’s disaster. After making sure to handle the rock, the next question with Oregon is can they play backcourt defense and frontcourt rebound well enough vs Louisville to slow down some of Louisville’s offensive output and impact? Who can cover Louisville’s Smith? That’s not a one man job, and is gonna take a tag team of Oregon backcourt attention and help, no doubt. But do that defensive thing, and Louisville can be beat, and another Oregon upset could be had!
Can Michigan State Get Respect Against Duke?
Michigan State would like to win this game because getting respect against Duke means a lot to their program going forward! Can Michigan State beat Duke? Will Coach Izzo Beat Coach K? The coaching dual is huge. Michigan State’s Coach Izzo is 1-6 vs Duke’s Coach K overall, however they are 1-1 when they’ve met in the NCAA Tournament. That makes this the defacto rubber game NCAA Tournament wise. And it’s probably even more important given that both programs kinda need to advance to keep the “ELITE” tag going strong after some program faltering and less than expected results in recent years. The big thing coaching wise is that Izzo can be prone to early game “choke” aka sticking with his Plan A too long, and not making early adjustments to a Plan B, until it’s too late. And you know Coach K is gonna spring something a little different on Coach Izzo early, because it’s worked in the past. SO if Izzo can stay away from that problem, then it’s down to the talent matchup. And the talent matchup is all about if MSU’s frontcourt of Nix and Payne can handle Duke’s frontcourt of Plumlee and Kelly defensively, with no foul trouble. Early fouls on these two could spell doom for MSU as the frontcourt gets markedly less impact and weaker with substitutes Guana and Costello. If Nix and Payne can hold their own, then the backcourt really should belong to MSU via Appling, Harris, Trice and Valentine. Oh, and Michigan State will need to get their running game going outta those four as well!
Will Wichita State Rebound It’s Way To Win Over LaSalle?
This is a dual Cinderella story game. Both LaSalle and Wichita State are unlikely Sweet 16 teams. Wichita State got there by pummelling Pitt and then dumping #1 seed Gonzaga, and that may not be as big a deal as it sounds given Gonzaga is certainly the weakest #1 seed of the tournament. Wichita State had to nail 5 three balls to do it. LaSalle probably had the more unlikely path, the harder path, winning two tough two point games against KSU and Ole Miss, both solid teams. What is obvious is the rebounding advantage that Wichita State has over LaSalle, and rebounding in the NCAA Tournament typically means game control and win. However LaSalle does have a talented and crafty group of guards, led by Galloway and Duren. The LaSalle backcourt is how LaSalle got to the Sweet 16 and great games must be had again by LaSalle’s backcourt to offset Wichita State’s huge rebounding edge and solid defense. By the way, given the fact that Wichita State 3 balled it’s way to a win over Gonzaga, the LaSalle backcourt will have to pay attention to the Wichita State shooters as well. That could mean no backcourt help for LaSalle’s bigs down low, as in no collapsing down, and that means LaSalle’s real game breaker item is gonna be if the LaSalle frontcourt can hold its own vs Wichita State’s frontcourt, defend in the paint and in particular keep them Wichita fellas off the boards?!
Will Arizona Be Ready For Ohio State?!
Arizona has probably had the easiest row to hoe to get to the Sweet 16 of any of the Sweet 16 teams. Two easy games. And while Arizona is a tough team, the two easy games and getting knocked out of the PAC 12 tournament may mean recent preparation via games has Arizona as not used to the stiffer competition of an Ohio State, who’s ten game win streak includes winning the Big Ten Tournament. On the surface this game appears to be Arizona’s team scoring potentials vs Ohio State’s toughness for rebounding and defense. There’s two defensive matchups to watch in this game, and the biggest one involves an Arizona defender. First off and most important can Arizona’s forward Hill stop the scoring of Ohio State’s forward Thomas, while maintaining his scoring. That is the most important matchup of the game, as Ohio State really needs Thomas’ scoring to move forward in the NCAA Tourney. A secondary matchup is can Ohio State’s defensive oriented guard Craft stop Arizona’s guard Lyons, which can put a crimp in Arizona’s team ppg. Conference corrected the scoring and rebounding capability of each team is similar. Maybe you’d have to give Ohio State the edge on defensive toughness and rebounding and Arizona the edge for team scoring. But this is two teams close enough so that the team stats extrapolation to this game are more dependent on each teams defense against the other rather than any talent/size/athleticism/skill advantage. Arizona does have worse regular season losses, while Ohio State’s losses have been to stronger teams and on paper more justifiable. Ohio State seems to be playing better of late, while Arizona is kind of hard to truly measure given their defensive lapses leading to their PAC12 Tourney implosion and easier NCAA path wins. This is probably the Sweet 16 game that is hardest to predict an outcome for. If it means anything inspirationally to either team, whoever wins this game is a Final Four lock given they play the winner of Wichita/LaSalle.
Can Michigan Coach Beilein’s Magic Bus Run Over Coach Self’s Kansas Monster?!
There’s a lot of pressure on Michigan Coach Beilien. This is Beilein’s sixth year and after five years of some pretty bad underachievement with truth be told better talent than he has this year, Michigan fans are hungry and want to see results. Real Michigan Fans want to see Michigan as a program return to an elite level, if at least for a year. That means Beilein must win this Sweet 16 game. All this hype and talk surrounding Michigan’s fine point guard Burke has mostly got it all wrong. What these national sportswriter novices do not understand is that Beilein’s Magic Bus uses a wing driven engine and not a point guard driven engine. Michigan’s NCAA wins, and frankly about every quality win Michigan has had, has been the result of Michigan’s wings Hardaway, Robinson and Stauskas, (who have all been hot on the wings and will need to continue to be hot), getting quality 3 ball shot selection. Note shot selection is even more important that actually making the 3 ball shot, because it’s the threat of making the 3 ball that really makes the Magic Bus hum via backdoors, midrange, and dare The Hoops Prophet say even in the paint big man scoring. Michigan has even won big games not hitting a 3 ball shot when the threat of the three ball opened up other scoring options (See MSU & 0-12 win). Burke’s role is NOT scoring PG, as Burke doesn’t need to be the first option for scoring, not even the 2nd or 3rd. What Burke needs to do against Kansas is handle the rock with low TOs, and make sure to create and distribute for his wings so that the other four are the main scoring threat. Burke will get his points in the flow this way, and not be inefficient forcing shots, which has led to the Michgan losses. Kansas’s inside game is going to require huge games out of Michigan’s McGary, Morgan and Horford in Beilein’s 1 big 4 small scheme. The good thing is that since Beilein only plays 1 big at time, and all are pretty equal in capability, there won’t be any foul problem loss of capability. Kansas’ big man strengths of Jeff Withey blocking shots and protecting the paint inside are really meaningless since Beilein certainly has no intention of using anything in the paint unless it’s an easy one. The key to this game will be how well Kansas defends the perimeter, and secondarily if Kansas overplays the perimeter, how well Michigan develops midrange and backdoor scoring options. Another big key will be if Michigan can negate Kansas interior advantage by running the floor 24/7 to get all the easy fast break and transition shotsthey can must before settling into their 3 ball perimeter based Magic Bus halfcourt offense!
Who Takes The Battle Of Florida?
Coach Donovan and the Florida Gators are a powerhouse program, while Florida Gulf Coast is an upstart Cinderella. It’s the Battle of Florida. Too bad they aren’t playing it in Florida! This game is clearly a game pitting two different styles. Florida’s halfcourt quality shot selection good shooting scheme against Florida Gulf Coast University’s run and gun full court game. Now no question that Florida is tapped to put a beat down on FGCU, and most analysts would say the Cinderella story is coming to an end. But that appears to be exactly the way the FGCU “Dunk City” fellas like it. And there are some reasons to think another upset is possible. Of course FGCU is a run and gun team that likes to get out on the floor and use the full court to get quality fast break and transition shots. To run and gun requires rebounding, and surprisingly FGCU on paper gets more rebounds per game than Florida. As well FGCU in their first two games vs Georgetown and San Diego State University held their own in the rebounding department. Holding their own vs Florida, particularly on the fast break initiating defensive board area, is the big key of this game. If FGCU can grab that rebound and make that outlet, then the advantage is theirs. Florida is an excellent shooting team, and a lot taller than FGCU, and that will put a lot of pressure on FGCU’s players to not get in foul trouble. FGCU wings Brown and Thompson are going to have good shooting games in the halfcourt as well. Florida of course will try to slow it down and overpower FGCU negating FGCU’s speed and quickness advantage. Any upset will be determined by how well Florida can resist falling into the trap of getting into a running game against FGCU.
Indiana vs Syracuse, Is Zeller Against The 2-3 Zone Or A Sore Shoulder The Biggest Factor?!
Most hoops analysts say Indiana goes as The Big Handsome goes, as in opponent teams that can stop Zeller can win. With that in mind one might think Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is made to order for doing just that, stopping Zeller’s 3 foot and in game. However if you look at Indiana’s losses more times than not it is a missing Jordan Hulls and his perimeter shooting missing that pops out as the reason for the loss. And shooter Jordan Hulls has a sore shoulder, noting a backcourt shooter that can nail perimeter shots is the death of the 2-3 zone. Syracuse will certainly work to keep Zeller off the boards and controlled in the paint, and that effort is a good thing, but the real question is can Jordan Hulls nail 3 balls that require the 2-3 zone to come out, thereby opening things up for Zeller. Indiana struggled shooting the ball vs Temple, and that made for a close game. One has to think that Indiana’s Olidapo will typically get his via his athleticism and hustle inside or outside, so that will be a given. Thus Hulls shooting as it relates to opening up Zeller inside against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is a huge key. Is the shoulder good to go? For Syracuse the #1 priority will be making sure to get back and prevent Indiana’s fast break and transition game, which is the easy shot reason for much of Zeller’s output and Indiana’s high team ppg an FG% stats. Syracuse guards and wing have to slow the outlet and transition down, and Syracuse’s big must keep pace with a full court Zeller. Syracuse MUST get back, and force Indiana to beat the 2-3 in the halfcourt. For Syracuse offensively of course their balanced attack featuring four double figure scorers needs to be balanced with output from all again. The Wing Forwards Fair and Southland have to be hitting their 3 balls of course. But what the game may come down to is Syracuse’s ability to rebound, and in particular get offensive rebounds and putbacks, as that is the extra effort that can add ten points to “Cuse’s team total while it stops Indiana’s transition game offense, punishing Indiana.
Is Marquette Poised To Beat Miami, Or Miami Poised to Beat Marquette?
If FGCU can beat Miami then why not Marquette? Miami has had a great season this year winning the ACC Conference title and ACC Tourny title. Miami has never been to the Elite 8, and the seniors on Miami are hungry to put some real meaning to their season. Marquette cannot be overlooked though, as for all their how did they get there grind it out blandness here they are in the Sweet 16 again, for the 3rd straight year. Marquette is a journeyman like team and has have all aspects of its journeyman type game working optimally. While Marquette’s guard Vander Blue is a star caliber player, he’s not really a perimeter threat, and Marquette doesn’t have much in that perimeter threat area, so depends on grinding it out in the paint. Past comebacks noted, against Miami Marquette can’t count on coming from behind, and can’t get behind, partiuclarly in the first half, and if not leading then must at least stay close. The only past game comparison of note is that Florida blew out Marquette earlier in the year by tripling up Marquette on 3 ball production and quadroopling up Marquette on FT production, when in the paint offense and defense failed Marquette. One thing working in Marquette’s favor is Miami’s top rebounder Reggie Johnson is out with injury, and that may help Marquette’s inside game. Miami will need someone PF/C to step up and fill that void. The biggest game impact input might be determined on defense, in particular against Miami guard Shane Larkin, who as either scored or assisted on 45% of Miami’s offensive output. The Marquette backcourt slowing Larkin down is a big Marquette key.