22 March 2011

2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Predictions

And then there were sixteen. Sixteen college basketball squads are what is left of a wild weekend of basketball and they will try to survive and advance to the Elite Eight. Who do I think will be able to do so and continue their dream of a national championship?
Sweet Sixteen television schedule

March 24:

2 San Diego State v. 3 Connecticut
It's pretty hard to find somebody who is playing better basketball than Kemba Walker of UConn is right now. And yes I do realize that San Diego State really struggled to beat Temple on Saturday. But I do believe that this will be a slow game as both teams do not press the action much and I believe that will give the Aztecs the advantage. Alex Oriakhi has been great down low but Connecticut still cannot match the frontcourt of SDSU, which is the bes in the country.
San Diego State 62 Connecticut 59

2 Florida v. 3 Brigham Young
The Jimmer show rolls on down to New Orleans and even with the suspension of Brandon Davies, they continue to roll thanks to the unbelievable scoring ability of Fredette. The Cougars, however, have yet to play a team this tournament that has more talent than they do but this Florida team clearly does. The Gators on a whole are much better than BYU is and despite Jimmer's best efforts, his ride will end here.
Florida 78 BYU 69

1 Duke v. 5 Arizona
Derrick Williams has played phenomenal of late and is the key reason why his club is in the Sweet Sixteen. But he cannot do it alone and this Duke squad has the athletes to slow him down. And if Kyrie Irving is fully back, watch out.
Duke 80 Arizona 73

4 Wisconsin v. 8 Butler
This Wisconsin team is much better than I thought they were before the tournament started and that is likely due to the return of Mike Bruesewitz. Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer are both really good scorers and Bo Ryan is a great coach. But I'm feeling the Butler magic again. The Bulldogs are peaking at the right time and I think they will get past the Badgers in a great basketball game. 
Butler 68 Wisconsin 67
March 25:

2 North Carolina v. 11 Marquette
This Marquette squad plays a rather unconventional style due to their lack of height but it works. I'm a huge fan of coach Buzz Williams and it would not surprise me if they pulled yet another upset. However, UNC is just too deep down low for the Golden Eagles to handle. 
North Carolina 85 Marquette 74

1 Kansas v. 12 Richmond
The Jayhawks prevented the second straight disappointing loss in their second game by getting past a feisty Illinois club. Richmond has a lot of really good shooters, including big man Justin Harper, and Kevin Anderson is one of the best players in the country that you've never heard of. But Kansas is just too good on defense and so efficient offensively for me to forecast an upset.
Kansas 77 Richmond 65

1 Ohio State v. 4 Kentucky
This is a loaded Buckeyes squad. They are lights-out from the perimeter, have a dominating presence down low in Jared Sullinger, and they are also very good on the defense end. Kentucky is extremely talented but very young and I think their inexperience will be exposed by Ohio State. 
Ohio State 83 Kentucky 75

10 Florida State v. 11 Virginia Commonwealth
This is easily the most surprising matchup of the round of sixteen. VCU really struggled on defense all year but they have stepped up in a big way on that side of the court while playing great on offense. Florida State cannot score at all but they are an awesome defensive team. I have to give the slight edge to the Rams, simply because who will step on offense for the Seminoles with Chris Singleton struggling like he has been?
Virginia Commonwealth 57 Florida State 52

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