After brief hiatus, the NCAA Tourney is back [Sweet 16 Open Thread]
Here are the Sweet Sixteen games on Thursday:
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Marquette
East Region from Washington D.C.
7:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Both teams are lucky to be in the Sweet Sixteen, quite frankly. The Golden Eagles twice snatched victory from the hands of defeat last weekend, first when Davidson handed them the game on a silver platter in the last 30 seconds, then in a close-fought win over Butler. However, Marquette got clutch plays from their best player, Vander Blue, when they needed them in both games. First Blue had the game-winning layup versus the Wildcats, and then agains the Bulldogs he dropped in 29 points to guide the Golden Eagles' struggling offense.
Miami rolled through their first game over Pacific, but it took an atrocious out-of-bounds call by the the officials against Illinois to seal the Hurricanes' trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Miami got a surprising 21 points off the bench from Rion Brown, who averaged just 6.5 PPG this season.
My pick: Miami
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Arizona
West Region from Los Angeles
7:47 p.m. ET, TBS
The Buckeyes are lucky that they didn't join the Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 seeds in the West Region with an early exit in this tournament. Much like Miami, the Buckeyes benefitted from a very questionable late-game call versus Iowa State in a pseudo home game in Dayton to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Still, Aaron Craft was Mr. Clutch with a game-winning, cold-blooded jumper to down the Cyclones.
Arizona, on the other hand, has been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament so far. Two blowout wins (albeit over a No. 15 seed and a No. 14 seed). But don't forget that this is a Wildcat team that was ranked in the top five earlier this season. Arizona also did not lose a game outside of the Pac-12--a conference that has been surprisingly strong in the tournament--this season. That includes wins over Florida, San Diego State and Miami.
My pick: Arizona
Continue to Page 2 for the late game picks