26 March 2016

2016 NCAA Tournament Predictions: Elite Eight

The field of 68 is now a field of 8 as we have arrived at the Regional Finals of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, more commonly known as the Elite Eight. While the Thursday contests all turned out to be blowouts, at least we had a couple of thrillers on Friday. Hooray basketball!

Who will advance to Houston and the Final Four? Here are my 2016 Elite Eight predictions.

Saturday, March 26th
1 Oregon vs. 2 Oklahoma - Anaheim - CBS, 6:00
Oregon Ducks (1999 - Pres)Oklahoma Sooners (1967 - Pres)
The Sooners showed on Thursday night that they were more than just Buddy Hield, as three other players finished with double-digits in scoring against Texas A&M with Jordan Woodard leading the team in scoring. It was a strong offensive performance offensively but you saw something similar from the Ducks in their win over the Dukies. So for me, it will be the defense that makes the difference and while Oklahoma is 14th in defensive efficiency, Oregon is only 35th.
Pick: Oregon

1 Kansas vs. 2 Villanova - Louisville - CBS, 8:45
Kansas Jayhawks (1929 - 1940)Villanova Wildcats (2004 - Pres)
While it took a little longer for the Jayhawks to seize control of their game against Maryland than it did for the Wildcats against Miami, both teams were able to pull away and win comfortably. Kansas is, without question, a elite team but I think that the combination of shooting and defense that we get from Villanova is what will help propel them to the Final Four.
Pick: Villanova

Sunday, March 27th
1 Virginia vs. 10 Syracuse - Chicago - TBS, 6:00
Virginia Cavaliers (1978 - 1993)Syracuse Orange (1992 - 2003)
No, I don't get it either but hey, the Orange are in the Elite Eight. Now they get to take on a conference rival in the Cavaliers who won fairly convincingly the sole time these two played in the Carrier Dome in late January. With how good Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone is looking right now, the Cuse just may have a chance but Virginia is clicking offensively and when that happens, that bodes very well for them.
Pick: Virginia

1 North Carolina vs. 6 Notre Dame - Philadelphia - TBS, 8:45
North Carolina Tar Heels (1968 - 1982)Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1973 - 1983)
This will be the third time these two have faced off and they split their first two matchups with Notre Dame pulling off the upset at the Joyce Center while UNC beat the hell out of them in the ACC Tournament. With how strong the Tar Heels looked on Friday night against a good Indiana team, particularly on offense, I just don't see how they don't make it to Space City.
Pick: North Carolina

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