After an exciting day of games at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship on Saturday that saw the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks get ousted by the #9 University of Northern Iowa Panthers 69-67 in the Midwest Region in Oklahoma City, OK, Sunday’s match-ups become even more intriguing to watch as the final eight games determine which remaining teams will move on to the Sweet 16.
Part two of the series: 2010 March Madness – Who’s going to the Sweet 16?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
#1 Duke vs. #8 California – Look for Duke to attack as they did against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in order to cause turnovers and create scoring opportunities off the boards and at the free throw line. The Bears stack up well against the Blue Devils, but whether they can keep up with the tempo that Duke sets will be the key to them having a chance to move on. Sweet 16 pick: Duke
#4 Purdue vs. #5 Texas A&M – This game is as even as the teams’ seeding shows, but the Boilermakers’ tough defense will be the key to them moving on. This game could be decided at the free-throw line and that could work against the Aggies whose 66.1 percentage ranks 258th in the NCAA. Sweet 16 pick: Purdue
#2 West Virginia vs. #10 Missouri – The Tigers’ tough defense will be the key to get the Mountaineers in trouble early. West Virginia has to maintain possession of the ball as Missouri’s turnovers and 52 percent shooting from the field beat Clemson. If they are not careful, the Mountaineers could suffer the same fate. Sweet 16 pick: West Virginia
#4 Wisconsin vs. #12 Cornell – Wisconsin will have to play tough defense against this free-flowing Cornell offense that distributes the ball well and is ranked #1 in three-point shooting. If the Badgers get in foul trouble, the Big Red also has a successful stroke from the free-throw line. Wisconsin needs to score quickly and often in order to get ahead and try to keep the Big Red machine from gaining any momentum. Sweet 16 pick: Cornell
#1 Syracuse vs. #8 Gonzaga – The Orange possess the best field goal percentage in the country and they will need it in keeping the Bulldog defense off-balance. Syracuse can also play tough defense, block shots and steal the ball to create scoring opportunities while preventing the Gonzaga offense from getting started. Sweet 16 pick: Syracuse
#3 Pittsburgh vs. #6 Xavier – If the Panthers allow the Musketeers offense to get started, Pitt’s tough defense will have to really bear down. Pitt does not score at will like Xavier does, so it must control the game tempo and keep its defense on point. Sweet 16 pick: Pittsburgh
#2 Ohio State vs. #10 Georgia Tech – This Big Ten/ACC match-up will be a closely contested game and will depend upon the Buckeyes getting on the scoreboard early to keep the Yellow Jackets defense busy. As evidenced in the ACC Tournament, Georgia Tech possesses the ability to come from behind and scrap it out until the end. Sweet 16 pick: Ohio State
#4 Maryland vs. #5 Michigan State – Another key Big Ten/ACC match-up in the same region will highlight two storied programs’ talents. The Terps high-scoring offense will be up against a tough Spartans defense. Regardless of what the statistics read, Tom Izzo and Gary Williams know how to coach in clutch NCAA Tournament games and their teams will respond accordingly. Sweet 16 pick: Michigan State
Click here for complete Examiner coverage of the NCAA Tournament.