28 March 2015

2015 NCAA Tournament: Elite Eight Predictions

And then there were eight. We have reached the Regional Finals for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, or more commonly known as the Elite Eight. The winners here will advance to Indianapolis and the Final Four, only the achievement that every team is looking for at the start of the season. Who will win on Saturday and Sunday to get there? Here are my predictions.

Saturday, March 28th
1 Wisconsin vs. 2 Arizona - West - TBS, 6:09

Of all the teams still remaining, I think these two are the most equipped to take down Kentucky. They both have the size and the athleticism to match up relatively well with the Wildcats. Both of these clubs had to grind out wins over North Carolina and Xavier respectively but I think that Arizona has been more impressive in this tournament. It seems like the Badgers have looked a little lackadaisical thus far in March and it seems to take them a while to get into their zone. I like Arizona to pull off the win and get to Indy.
Pick: Arizona

1 Kentucky vs. 3 Notre Dame - Midwest - TBS, 8:49
Notre Dame is not particularly big nor are they a great defensive team by any stretch so already, it seems like a tough battle for them to take down the mighty Kentucky. However, they can make it a ballgame if they continue to shoot from the perimeter as they have all tourney long, and especially if Jerian Grant puts the team on his back. But even if all that happens, I like the Wildcats to continue their run to 40-0.
Pick: Kentucky

Sunday, March 29th
4 Louisville vs. 7 Michigan State - East - CBS, 2:20
As I pointed out in my Sweet Sixteen picks as well as on Fanatic Radio yesterday, the Syracuse region has been a complete mess thus far. Both the Cardinals and the Spartans had some tight contests until pulling away late against NC State and Oklahoma, respectively. Considering how much of a mess their offense has been this season, you have to be impressed with what Louisville has done on that end of the court in their last two wins with Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell leading the charge. Sparty has been playing well in their own right, however, but I think Louisville's defense will be the difference.
Pick: Louisville

1 Duke vs. 2 Gonzaga - South - CBS, 5:00
This should be an outstanding contest between two tremendous clubs. Both the Blue Devils and the Zags are elite offensive clubs, ranking third and fourth in offensive efficiency respectively so we should see plenty of points here. While Gonzaga is a deep club who I think has been underrated simply based on past tournament results, I think Jahlil Okafor will rebound from a disappointing performance against Utah to power the Dukies to their first Final Four since winning the 2010 tournament.
Pick: Duke

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