March Madness Sweet 16 Open Thread

Big-name schools battle for Elite 8 berths [NCAA Open Thread]

3/29/13 in NCAABB   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

Let's not discuss my atrocious picks from last night. Thanks.

Mar 23, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) shoots against the Colorado State Rams in the first half during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at Rupp Arena. Louisville defeated Colorado State 82-56.   Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY SportsIs there a better thing to do on a Friday night than to watch basketball? I didn't think so.

Let's get to the games.

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon
Midwest Region from Indianapolis
7:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Much has already been made of Oregon being under-seeded. In fact, the Ducks were arguably better than both of their first two opponents, Oklahoma State and Saint Louis -- both of whom got dispatched in short order by Dana Altman and company. No matter how good the Ducks are, they are very clearly the underdog tonight against the red-hot Cardinals. If you got points for not turning the ball over on offense against Louisville, North Carolina A&T and Colorado State would probably still be losing. The Cardinals' swarming, pressing defense causes every offense fits, and for the Ducks to survive they will need to find a way to slow down Peyton Siva and Russ Smith (who has been the best player in the tournament thus far). Good luck with that.

My pick: Louisville

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan
South Region from Arlington, TX
Mar 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (23) applauds on the bench after a score in the second half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at the Sprint Center. Kansas won 70-58.  Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports7:37 p.m. ET, TBS
Michigan looked absolutely dominant in beating VCU in the third round. The Wolverines looked so good, in fact, that you can understand why they were once ranked No. 1 in the nation this season. Michigan could present matchup problems for the Jayhawks, who are one of the best defensive teams in the nation. You won't get anything down low against Kansas with Jeff Withey roaming the paint. To beat the Jayhawks you need to shoot over them and run by them -- Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. very well might be able to do just that.

Kansas' offense has been complacent at times this year, just as Ben McLemore has been in the first two games of the tournament. There is a reason McLemore is thought of as perhaps the best pro prospect in the tournament, however, and tonight could be the night his massive talent is on display to carry the Jayhawks to victory.

My pick: Kansas

Mar 24, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Duke forward Ryan Kelly (34) handles the ball against Creighton guard Avery Dingman (22) in the second half during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY SportsNo. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Michigan State
Midwest Region from Indianapolis
9:45 p.m. ET, CBS
Wow. Talk about a showdown between two heavyweight coaches. Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo -- nothing says March quite like that matchup. These teams seem to only meet in big games, and today is no different. The last time they played in March, Michigan State upset the Blue Devils in this very round in 2005. 

It is a new year, though, and Duke has Ryan Kelly back in the lineup, which has boded poorly for teams since the Blue Devil's big man got back on the court at the end of the regular season.

The Big Ten has disappointed for much of March, but Michigan State often bucks the conference's trend, so don't be shocked if Tom Izzo pulls one out of a hat tonight.

My pick: Michigan State

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
Mar 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard Christophe Varidel (5) carries guard Bernard Thompson (2) off the court following practice the day before the semifinals of the South regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsSouth Region from Arlington, TX
9:57 p.m. ET, TBS
Would you want to play the Eagles right now? Despite their No. 15 seed, I doubt many would say yes to that. America has fallen in love with a tiny coastal university in Florida, and now their parent school, the mighty Florida Gators, will look to end the Eagles' cinderella run. 

On paper, this game is a blowout in favor of Florida. But of course, basketball isn't played on paper -- if it was Georgetown would have beaten FGSU and your bracket would be worth more than a roll of toilet paper. All season, FGSU has showed signs of very high potential (they beat Miami back in November), and they come into this game on a seven-game winning streak, so maybe they are peaking at the right time. Still, the Sweet 16 is often where miraculous runs come to an end. It could be the case again tonight.

My pick: Florida

Who are you rooting for tonight? Is your bracket useless by now?
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3/30/13   |   Scott   |   52692 respect

Cinderella's run to the Elite Eight is ended by a bigger, better, faster Gators squad.  Michigan versus Florida on Sunday should be a good one

3/29/13   |   AlwaysSunshine   |   7387 respect

Russ Smith continues to be Russdiculous.

3/29/13   |   Scott   |   52692 respect

Nothing like I more then watching a Bill Self Kansas team choke in the NCAA tournament.

3/29/13   |   Wards_Page   |   248 respect

For the sake of my still-alive Frankenstein-like bracket, I am pulling against your first two picks and with your later two selections.