Sorry to be a bit late to get this started, but this should be your destination for conversation about the upcoming Sweet 16 games. We are likely going to put the individual regional bracket threads to bed at this point as they have gotten a bit long and cumbersome.
I'll get things started. Feel free to comment and elaborate on the numbered comments below with anything from "Jason preaches the truth!" to "Dude, you are insane."
- 1) If we were to rank the quality of the 16 remaining teams, the SE-SW side of the bracket would only have one team (Kansas) among the top 8, IMO.
- 2) Anyone who thinks Ohio St is going to roll over Kentucky by hitting 50%+ of their threes again is wrong, IMO. The key to that game will be whether Kentucky can stop Sullinger inside. The Terrence Jones vs. Sullinger matchup is gonna be epic!
- 3) San Diego St's D versus Kemba Walker should be a fabulous matchup. It will likely be a low-scoring back and forth battle. This is the game Vegas rates the closest, calling it a pick'em.
- 4) UNC is a 6 point favorite over Marquette but Duke is a 10 point pick over Arizona? I think Vegas is expect Kyrie to be a major force this coming week. Either that or there are serious concerns about how good UNC is.
- 5) A whole heck of a lot of teams on the SE-SW side can see a very realistic path to reaching the national title game. If Florida State can just muster a little bit of offense over the weekend, they could be a real contender in all this mess.
- 6) I've got a feeling that Jimmer is going to go for 40 or 50 against Florida. I am not sure Florida is going to be able to keep up with that offensive pace.
-Jason "well, that should get you all started... enjoy" Evans
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
And I am going to try to debunk the "Kansas has a cake-walk" theme, though I know I won't be successful:
- VCU just obliterated Purdue, just a complete de-pantsing of Kenpom's #9 team. If they were not VCU, or they didn't have a 12 next to their name, it would be a different story.
- FSU has the best defense in the country, and I can definitely see a 57-55 game in the E8. Bill Self has been incredibly successful at KU (85% winning percentage), but if you look back at the losses, most of them come when KU doesn't score 70 points. If they meet, and FSU can hold them, while not turning the ball over, an upset would not surprise me.
- And this all completely ignores Richmond, who, in my view, has at least 3 Ali Farokhmanesh clones.
Interestingly, Kentucky is also an excellent three point shooting team while Ohio State's 3pt defense is not as good as Kentucky's on the season. If Kentucky is able to limit the outside shot from Diebler and Lighty while also getting Lamb and Knight to knock down a few of their own, I think three point shooting may actually favor Kentucky. The team that makes the most threes may in fact be the team that pulls out the victory.
Among the many fine players for tOSU and UK, PG Aaron Craft is perhaps least known - outside the Big 10. IMO, his defense on Brandon Knight will be a [not necessarily the] key. Two of the very best frosh in the country. Craft was Big 10 DPOY. Great court sense, smart, smart. Heard Izzo singing Craft's praises on Dan Patrick show this morn.
I can't see how Kentucky matches up with Sullinger. Harrelson will have 2 fouls when he gets off the bus and Vargas probably can't play more than 10 minutes.
Thanks for starting this thread. I'm not sure who "we" in Item 1) is but a bunch of folks have been putting down Florida and Wisconsin from the get go. IMO, both teams belong among the top 8 and one will likely reach the Final Four. I suspect that it is part of the "our side of the bracket is always tougher" mind set that appears on this site every March. IMO, the Devils will dispatch of Arizona and the first quality team they will face will be in the Elite Eight.
As much as I would like to see Ohio St. go down, I don't see it happening. Kentucky is too young IMO. They certainly have the talent, but tOSU matches up well and has been far more consistent.
As we all know, most anything can happen once you reach the sweet 16, but I think Ohio St., whether they hit 3's at a high % or not, will win by 10 or more. Ohio State is what you look for in a tournament team. They have good guard play, a dominant force on the low post, great shooters and lastly, they are very willing to play defense.
In the UNC match-up, I think it will look similar to their past couple games (besides duke). They will start off somewhat slow and then eventually pick the pace up and win by a few points. I do not think it will be a blow out, and I wouldn't be too surprised if Maquette won here, but I think UNC has the advantage and the talent... albeit young talent.
I think Butler wins. This one is a toss-up for me but I love the way Butler is playing right now. They have proven that experience does count for something and the way they can win close games is also very important moving forward. Wisconsin is solid and should play well due to their defense. It might be a game that finishes in the 50-60 point range.
I know everyone loves Jimmer but I think they're going down to Florida. The lack of size for BYU, added with the fact that Florida can throw multiple people at Jimmer is my reasoning for picking UF.
Kansas will win.
The most anticipated match-up for me, other than Duke of course, is SDSU vs. Kemba, Calhoun and Co. This will be a great one and I have no idea who I'd pick as the winner.
Kansas does NOT have a cake walk. I was at the games in Chicago. For about 70 of the 80 minutes they were on the floor, VCU was the best team there. Easily. As strange as this may sound their wins against Purdue and Georgetown were, if anything, more lopsided than the scores indicated. Obviously, Rodriguez (their PG) was outstanding, but I liked how active 6-9 Jamie Skeen was around the basket. They ran terrific sets, running Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozell inside out off multiple screens- this really set them up from the perimeter. Both Burgess and Nixon played so much bigger than they are (6-5 and 6-4) and were completely unafraid to mix it up under the basket. They were an absolute thrill to watch. It was just amazing how crisply they executed at both ends.
Of course, arguably the best thing about this is now we won't have to hear about their first round upset of Duke every time somebody mentions VCU. Oh, and if anybody knows anyone related to the VCU band, congratulate them. They are flat out awesome. I would pay good money to be that band director for a game.
FSU's first game against Texas A&M was absolutley awful: the score was 7-0 10 minutes into the first half. Both teams looked like they'd be fodder for Notre Dame. I couldn't have been more surprised by that upset- FSU was on fire from the perimeter in the first half and really exploited ND in the post in the second. The Irish really had only one true post player and that caught up with them bigtime. Still, I think the 'Noles will have a hard time keeping pace with VCU. The big wildcard is obviously Singleton- he played limited minutes against ND and you wonder how many he'll play with the extra week of rest.
Thoughts on other regions:
- On paper, Wisconsin is the best team in the Southeast. But their glaring weakness is perimeter defense. Butler is a bad matchup in that regard. Howard and Vanzant are both over 42% from 3, and if Shelvin Mack has it going like he did against Pitt, the Badgers are in for a long day.
- While all eyes will obviously be on Jimmer Fredette, BYU and Florida comes down to whether BYU can keep the Gators off the offensive glass. If they can, BYU wins. If the game is close, BYU has a huge advantage (76% vs 67%) from the free throw line.
- Likewise for SDSU/UConn. Temple managed to nearly match SDSU on the offensive boards. UConn is actually a lousy shooting team, and if the Aztecs can limit them on the offensive glass, they will need a game for the ages from Kemba Walker to win.
- I think Marquette is a great draw for UNC. The 'Eagles have won ten games this season where the opposition scored over 80 points. Two of those were against Providence, which is 97th in the Pomeroy ratings. Six of them were against teams rated 289th or worse by Pomeroy. All of Marquette's wins over decent teams have come in games with 66 possessions or fewer; in UNC's last 16 games that's happened only twice.
- Kentucky and Ohio State is obviously the spotlight game here. UK is one of the few teams that's capable of matching the Buckeyes on the perimeter. Josh Harrellson's stunning emergence means the 'Cats may have an answer to Jared Sullinger down low. OSU's defense is strong, but they are actually not a great FG% defense- they excel at forcing turnovers and locking down the defensive glass. Kentucky is, suprisingly, a good ballhandling team and not that reliant on offensive rebounds. You have to give the edge to the Buckeyes, who have played like a team on a mission, but on paper this is a close game.
I also think that the matchup against Kansas would be bad for Kansas because Florida State can throw out of bunch of big strong interior defenders (James, Gibson, White, Singleton) that can suffocate the Morris twins. I actually think FSU actually wins that region.
As for the East region. You would have to be crazy to think that anybody is going too beat Ohio State in that region. I think UNC will be Marquette and then lose to Ohio State in lopsided fashion.
I was thinking about the coaches that are left and their FF resumes- 9 of the 16 have been to the FF and 6 have NC's. That is a pretty good group of coaches. The rich get richer.
I think these are right.
Duke, Coach K- goes with out saying - numerous FF, 4 NC
UNC, Williams - lots of FF, 2 NC
Fla,Donnovan- several FF, 2 NC
Uconn, Calhoun, several FF, 2 NC
San Diego State, Fisher, several FF, 1 NC
Kansas, Self, 1 FF, 1 NC
Kentucky, Calipari, 2 FF (well not really), 0 NC
Ohio State, Matta, 1 FF , 0 NC
Butler, Stevens, 1FF 0NC
Does anyone know the records for each remaining team against the other sweet 16 teams? I donít have time right now to go through the schedules, if someone has it handy that would be great.
Brigham Young 74-73 over Florida (56%)
San Diego St. 66-62 over UConn (67%)
Duke 79-69 over Arizona (84%)
Wisconsin 66-59 over Butler (80%)
North Carolina 76-73 over Marquette(64%)
Ohio St. 74-67 over Kentucky (76%)
Florida St. 68-65 over VCU (65%)
Kansas 73-64 over Richmond (82%)
So Marquette is the 2nd most likely upset according to the %. I'll take that.
Obviously I want UNC to lose, and lose badly, every time they take the court. But, as long as Duke is still alive in the tournament, I'm not going to get to worked up about the 'Heels. Living in NC, a Duke loss to UNC in the final four would be a fate worse than death...but I have confidence and faith in our team, enough to actually look forward to this possible matchup.
Because Duke beating UNC in the final four, Coach K breaking Knight's all-time win record in the process, and possibly en route to back-to-back titles...that, my friends is a dream worth dreaming!
Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."
I have been going back and forth on this. I know this matchup is 2 games in the future, and our potential matchup with the winner is 3 games in the future. But I am torn. Playing the Tar Heels (rather than Ohio St.) in the Final Four would give us a (much) better chance of winning the national championship. But the risk (and stress) of losing to them is tremendous. Yet how sweet would it be to beat them for the 3rd time this season to advance to the championship game, and I am confident that we would beat them on a neutral court with all of the additional Kyrie practice/game time that there would be before that game. This is very tough. I am praying and rooting for an Elite 8 matchup between Kentucky and Marquette!