19 March 2012

2012 Sweet Sixteen Predictions

Sixteen college basketball programs are left in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. After what has been a wild tourney thus far, we've had some surprising teams get to the regional semifinals as well as almost half of the teams still alive being from within two hours of Cincinnati, including four teams from the Buckeye State. Who will survive and advance to the Elite Eight with a chance to get to New Orleans?

TV Schedule
Announcer Assignments

Thursday, March 22:
(4) Wisconsin vs. (1) Syracuse - East regional (Boston)
Wisconsin is not a great matchup for Cuse. They will keep this game low-scoring, they do not turn the ball over, which Syracuse feeds on, and they shoot well enough to keep the 2-3 at bay. That said, the Orange are just too deep on their roster to fall here, in my opinion. And many didn't think, particularly after the loss of Fab Melo, that Jim Boeheim's team would even be here. I think Cuse in a tight one.
Pick: Syracuse

(4) Louisville vs. (1) Michigan State - West regional (Phoenix)
Both of these clubs play great defense and this is a matchup of two coaching legends, Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino. The Cardinals have been red hot since the start of the Big East tournament and this Peyton Siva-led club could very well find victory here. But I like Michigan State here because the Spartans are much stronger on offense and Draymond Green is a player the Cardinals won't be able to slow down.
Pick: Michigan State

(6) Cincinnati vs. (2) Ohio State - East regional (Boston)
This Ohio showdown could make for a great one as these schools do not like each other much at all. Ohio State has the talent edge over Cincinnati but the Bearcats matchup very well with the Buckeyes and I think their awesome, physical defense will spring the upset.
Pick: Cincinnati

(7) Florida vs. (3) Marquette - West regional (Phoenix)
One cannot deny how impressive the Gators have looked in the second and third rounds thus far in big victories over Virginia and Norfolk State, respectively. This is a team that is peaking at the right time and even as the Golden Eagles have great players in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom but I think that Florida is more talented from top to bottom. And you know what Florida's record in the tournament since 2005-06 is? 17-2. It's mighty tough to beat Billy Donovan teams and they will advance to the Elite Eight.
Pick: Florida

Friday, March 23:

(10) Xavier vs. (3) Baylor - South regional (Atlanta)
Anyone outside of Cincinnati will tell you that the Baylor Bears are the more talented team. But it's the fact that this team has really underachieved, even as they only lost a handful of times in the regular season and made the Big XII tournament title game. I think the Musketeers are going to fly under the radar for the upset. Tu Halloway is tremendous at scoring and Xavier has the size to bang with Baylor's. I'm feeling the upset.
Pick: Xavier

(13) Ohio vs. (1) North Carolina - Midwest regional (St. Louis)
The Bobcats have been a great story to get to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1964 after not even being the favorite to win the MAC. But UNC is just too deep for the Bobcats, even as the breaking of Kendall Marshall's non-shooting wrist looks to severely hurt the Tar Heels. I still expect North Carolina to get to the regional final in the Gateway City.
Pick: North Carolina

(4) Indiana vs. (1) Kentucky - South regional (Atlanta)
Remember this? That game, and particularly that shot, marked Indiana's arrival back on the college hoops scene as well as showing that while Kentucky is the best team in the country but they are not unbeatable. While Tom Crean's club will give it their all, John Calipari's team is focused on getting that title and is simply too talented to be denied. And you know that Wildcats are gunning for revenge.
Pick: Kentucky

(11) North Carolina State vs. (2) Kansas - Midwest regional (St. Louis)
Both of these teams were very close to not even making it to St. Louis but both showed the resilency to comeback to get victories over Georgetown and Purdue, respectively. The Wolfpack will take advantage of Kansas's inconsistency, which allowed them to trail Purdue until seconds were left on the clock, to make this a tight game but the Wolfpack's run will end here as Thomas Robinson will prove too much to handle.
Pick: Kansas

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