68 teams entered, 16 teams remain. After a crazy weekend filled with controversial calls, early upsets (still singing “One Shining Moment”), and no buzzer beaters, the Sweet 16 is upon us. Today I’ll honor (most like hate on) the teams that remain by giving a profile of how each team got there and what to expect of them here on out. The conference count left so far, 2 SEC, 2 ACC, 4 Big 10, 4 Big East, 2 Big 12, 1 A-10, and 1 MAC. Let the ‘madness’ continue!
1. Kentucky – Defeated 16 seed Western Kentucky (nothing to see here). Defeated 8 seed Iowa State. At one point the game was tied at 42, then Kentucky decided to play. Next up Indiana (who beat UK on a buzzer beater earlier in the year), look for the Wildcats to be gunning for revenge. Talent wise, this is the best team in the tournament, the whole team is probably going to be in the NBA within the next 2 years. I can see them advancing to the Final Four and maybe even the championship, but I don’t think the ‘Cats will win it all. Calipari sold his soul to the devil to have great teams, but the deal was that he can NEVER win a championship. Plus if he did win, the university would have to vacate it in the next 4 to 5 years for some form of cheating that Coach Cal is known for.
4. Indiana – Defeated 13 seed New Mexico State (simple task). Defeated 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth University in a game that came down to the wire. They were outplayed by VCU, but somehow had the will to advance. Next up, top seed Kentucky, who they defeated earlier in the year. Can’t see them winning again. I see them out the very next game.
3. Baylor – Squeaked by 14 seed South Dakota State. Beat 11 seed Colorado only because one of their guys hit 9 3-point shots (this kid was 9 for 12 jeezus!). Team loaded with talent (and by talent I mean idiots). They could be a title contender except they play to the level of their competition or they don’t play for half of the game. Seem destined to face Kentucky in the Elite 8, but again Kentucky has the edge.
10. Xavier – Upset 7 seed Notre Dame (on a bullshit lane violation call). Outplayed an upstart 15 seed Lehigh (who took it to Duke, they were absolute Le-High on life after that, get it? Man I’m so damn clever). Despite excellent guard play so far, I see them being bounced in the next game.
1. Michigan State – Walked all over 16 seed LIU Brooklyn. Had to hold on to beat 9 seed Saint Louis. MSU has the coach to win it all in Coach Izzo (to me the best tournament coach in college basketball). The team will go as far as the outside shooting will take them. When they struggle from the perimeter, they are beatable. I see them getting to the Final Four to face Kentucky.
4. Louisville – Held on to beat 13 seed Davidson, then held on again to defeat 5 seed New Mexico. Kudos to the Big East champs for getting this far. The only kudos you’ll be getting from here on are in the form of those yummy chocolate granola bar. Bounced by Michigan St. in the next game.
3. Marquette – Thumped 14 seed BYU. Survived 6 seed Murray State in what was probably the most entertaining basketball game of the tournament. Both teams seemed to employ ‘street ball’ rules and just kept running up and down the court. In the end Marquette prevailed. Their game with Florida in the Sweet 16 is a toss up (or maybe a Paper, Rock, Scissors up?)
7. Florida – Absolutely demolished 10 seed Virginia and 15 seed Norfolk State (who played lights out against 2 seed Missouri). They have a great coach (2 national championships) and have shooters and athletes. Dangerous team to keep an eye on.
1. Syracuse – Referees gave them a win against 16 seed UNC- Asheville (the only time I will ever pull for anything with a UNC in it). Then pulled away in the second half to beat 8 seed Kansas State. Before the Fab Melo ineligibility I had thought they’d win it all, and right now they still have the talent to do it. They will go as far as Boeheim’s 2-3 zone will take them.
4. Wisconsin – Demolished 13 seed Montana. Squeaked by 5 seed Vanderbilt. Team is really boring to watch. Seriously. I don’t think they can beat ‘Cuse, but then again I had them losing to Montana in my bracket.
6. Cincinnati – Had to hold on to beat 11 seed Texas after building a huge lead. Rallied at the end to beat the ACC champs 3 seed Florida State. They’ve come a long way since the December brawl with Xavier, but facing another Ohio team in Ohio State means they’ll be heading home with quickness.
2. Ohio State – Beat 15 seed Loyola. Came out the victor in a dogfight with 7 seed Gonzaga. They have the talent to win it all so long as Sullinger can stay out of foul trouble. The Final Four goes through either them or Syracuse for this region.
1. UNC – Beat 16 seed Vermont and 8 seed Creighton pretty ‘hand’ily (hand being the key word now with regards to Henson and Marshall). I hate this team with all my heart. If they were playing against the Devil himself, I would be cheering for the Devil. The most annoying fan base in all of college basketball. With Marshall, they are a contender, without him, they are not. I hope they lose their next game. What every UNC fan is afraid of at this point is a rematch with conference foe NC State (4th times the charm? Go Wolfpack). Again I can’t say enough how much I want this team to lose. UNC sucks at life (that’s right the entire establishment).
13. Ohio – Upset 4 seed Michigan and then survived 12 seed USF. Let’s hope they can upset UNC (forreallsss).
11. NC State – Upset both 6 seed San Diego State and 3 seed Georgetown. My boys look like they are on a mission to face UNC again (and hopefully win this time). Talented players with what seems to be low basketball IQ. They have solid low post weapons, a good 3 point shooter, and a steady point guard. The problem is getting them all to click at the same time, which still hasn’t happened yet this year. I pray that ‘one shining moment’ where they all play together is coming up. Gonna be tough to beat Kansas, but I have faith in my Wolfpack.
2. Kansas – Handled 15 seed Detroit. Rallied to beat 10 seed Purdue. Athletes all over the place here. They present matchup problems for anyone they play. Quickness at the guards, length with the wing players, and solid post play. I really hope they suck it up in their next game.
(Note to all sports fans, there hasn’t been a buzzer beater yet, so this coming weekend should be incredible. Until then enjoy a collection “One Shining Moment”)