Your Way Too Early Sweet 16 Predictions
1. Duke will get rocked by Villanova. Why? Villanova's guards are way too physical for Duke and down low Duke doesn't have a prayer going up against Cunningham, Anderson, and Redding. Coach K avoided his annual second round collapse, but he won't get past the Sweet 16 year.
2. Don't fret about Pitt just yet. I know they've won two close games against inferior opponents. And I know that their motto of "we play everyone close" is idiotic, since it means very little needs to go wrong for Pitt to lose. But Pitt's in no danger yet. Pitt plays a seemingly hot Xavier team, but in reality, Xavier just looks good because they beat up on a 13 and 12 seed. Pitt will beat them.
3. Arizona's Cinderella run is going to end quickly and brutally. Arizona's in the Sweet 16 for only one reason. After they beat Utah, they were fortunate enough to face Cleveland St. in the second round. There are no more winnable games on Arizona's schedule. Louisville beats them easily.
4. Keep an eye on Michigan State. The Spartans hung on to beat USC, a 10 seed, which might make you write them off. But don't do that. USC was the hottest team in the country heading into their game against Michigan State. USC turned it on at the end of the year to win the Pac-10 Tourney (which is the only way they could have made the tournament) and they flattened Boston College in round 1. USC also may have been the most athletic team in the entire NCAA Tournament. Despite all of that, Michigan State beat them. Kansas will be in for a surprise.
5. Depending on Ty Lawson's toe, this may be Gonzaga's year. Gonzaga always seems to be a hair's breadth away from reaching the Final Four, and this may finally be their year. But it all depends on Ty Lawson's toe. If Lawson is below 75% for the game against Gonzaga, then Gonzaga moves on. If he's better than 75%, UNC moves on.
6. UCONN is the clear favorite now. They've dominated their first two opponents and are rolling despite Calhoun missing the first game of the Tourney. Anyone who says this team isn't winning the Tournament right now is crazy.
7. Forget about Memphis. They won't make it out of their bracket. I know they beat up everyone in Conference USA this year and they shut up Maryland (who might not have even belonged in the Tourney), but this team isn't anywhere near the same team as last year. Tyreke Evans is not Derrick Rose. That will be their undoing.
8. Syracuse will suddenly get everyone's attention by beating Oklahoma. A lot of people have ignored Syracuse's excellent play after their insanely long Big East Tourney run where they played an extra game thanks to 7 overtimes. I think this is due primarily to the fact that people just assume Syracuse will ultimately tire out in the Tourney and lay an egg against Oklahoma. Not so. Blake Griffin will go nuts, because Syracuse doesn't have anyone to guard him, but the rest of Syracuse's squad is way more athletic then anyone Oklahoma has faced in a while. Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris are going to give Oklahoma fits.
All right, feel free to mock my predictions in the comments and add your own.