By Austen Bundy
Rapid Reaction: Road to the Sweet 16 Part 1:
Alright, about 90% of people’s brackets have been busted, am I right?
In fact, there are only 1,000 perfect brackets left in Warren Buffett’s Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge after Thursday and Friday’s games. But that’s what this is all about, upsets galore and plenty of excitement to go around.
Some of the big stories after the Round of 64: The Dayton Flyers upset Ohio State 60-59, Harvard looks strong again after beating Cincy 61-57, North Dakota State shocks Oklahoma 80-75 in OT, No. 14 seeded Mercer takes down No. 4 Duke 78-71, and play-in game winners Tennessee beat UMass 86-67.
Let’s take a look at the Saturday Round of 32 matchups:
Pittsburgh vs. Florida: Pitt may have man-handled Colorado but the Gators will chew up the Panthers.
Saint Louis vs. Louisville: The Bilikins made a huge comeback against NC State but Louisville easily slides into the Sweet 16.
Texas vs. Michigan: Texas may be good but not good enough to beat the Wolverines.
North Dakota State vs. San Diego State: If North Dakota State can play like they played against Oklahoma, then the Aztecs will be no problem for the Bison.
Dayton vs. Syracuse: Syracuse is the obvious favorite on paper, but in March, anything can happen so I’m going with Dayton on this one.
Oregon vs. Wisconsin: Sorry Ducks, the road ends here with awhoopin’ from Wisconsin.
Harvard vs. Michigan State: Stick to the books boys, herecomes Sparty.
UConn vs. Villanova: UConn’s OT thriller may have convinced me that they look like the team to beat, so I’ve got the Huskies upsetting ‘Nova.
The Sweet 16 should present some classic matchups and some unusual ones but nevertheless each game will advance a deserving winner, setting up the next big game.
*Stay tuned for more round by round calls and coverage as the tournament continues!
Rapid Reaction: Road to the Sweet 16 Part 2
Once again, the second round has presented us with incredible matchups. Stephen F. Austin’s dramatic OT win over VCU sets up a date with UCLA, Virginia escapes Coastal Carolina to take on the Memphis Tigers (who also narrowly escaped GW) and the battle of Cinderella stories between Mercer and Tennessee will all take place on Sunday in the Round of 32.
Let’s see how these teams matchup:
Stephen F. Austin vs. UCLA: The Lumberjacks shocked VCU in OT by 2-points but UCLA just looked too good against Tulsa, the Bruins will go to the Sweet 16 once again.
Stanford vs. Kansas: The Jayhawks had a dominating performance against E. Kentucky. Expect the same against Stanford.
Memphis vs. Virginia: Memphis struggled against GW early and UVA against Coastal Carolina, but the Cavaliers will pull off the win and advance to the Sweet 16.
North Carolina vs. Iowa State: UNC got lucky late against Providence but Iowa State had an easy opponent in N.C. Central. The Tarheels will upset the Cyclones in this one.
Gonzaga vs. Arizona: The Bulldogs held on against OK State but struggled at the free throw line. ‘Zona will take advantage of that and dominate over ‘Zaga into the Sweet 16.
Baylor vs. Creighton: Doug McDermott dropped 30 points in his win against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Expect more of the same against the Bears of Baylor.
Kentucky vs. Wichita State: The Wildcats shut down K-State’s scoring power early but the Shockers will keep the undefeated streak going with a win against UK.
Mercer vs. Tennessee: The showdown of unexpected victories. Which Cinderella story continues? If Mercer plays like they did against Duke then Tennessee doesn’t stand a chance.
So far, I have a 72% win percentage on my bracket and I am 23-9 on my picks made here.
*Stay tuned for more picks and coverage as the tournament continues!