By Riley Saxon
Looking Ahead – The Sweet 16
Storylines abound in the Sweet 16: The top seeds advanced in the West, a Blue blood battle and Cinderella in the East, 4 elite teams in the Midwest and anarchy in the South. Those intriguing stories give way to some delicious potential matchups in the Elite 8 and beyond.
16 of the Best Possible Remaining Games
- Gonzaga vs.Texas Tech, Elite 8
The KenPom top Offense vs the KenPom top Defense — for a trip to the Final 4. In a tournament full of exciting games, this chess match could prove to be the best of them all
- Gonzaga Rematches in the Elite 8 or Final 4
Zags-UCLA Part III would have to be better than Part II, right? And could Duke-Gonzaga Part II top their earlier Top-Ten Tilt? We’d like to think so
- Gonzaga vs. Arizona, Championship
College Hoop Breakdown’s pre-tournament prediction would match the best two teams heading into the tournament for the second straight year.
- Gonzaga vs. Michigan, Championship
We’re all on board for Big-time bigs going at it and Timme vs. Dickinson would represent two of the nation’s showboatiest centers trying to one up each other in points, celebrations and opposing teams’ fans’ hate-filled rants
- Duke vs. UNC, Final 4
The match-up CBS and the NCAA have to be dying for. The winner wins the rivalry for the foreseeable future.
- UNC, then Duke, then Kansas vs. St. Peter’s, Elite 8, Final 4, and Championship
Can you imagine if the Peacocks took out all 4 of these blue bloods – in the same tournament?!
- Duke vs. Arizona, Championship
The passing of the guard from Coach K’s last season to Lloyd’s first season. With the taken and villainy the Wild Cats have, it’s movie-made
- Purdue vs. Michigan, Championship
- UCLA vs. Arizona, Championship
The conference vs conference championship would be especially thrilling in these cases because the Big 10 hasn’t won a title since 2000, and it’s been 25 years since the Pac 12 won a championship
- Purdue vs. UNC, Elite 8
The athletes on both sides would be filled with intriguing matchups. The most likely game on the list.
- Arizona vs. Purdue, Championship
Ivey vs Mathurin; the front courts banging bodies… This would be an all time slugfest with everything for the teams, and their conferences, on the line.
- Villanova vs. Kansas, Final 4
Two preseason top 5 who own their respective conferences and probably don’t get the respect they deserve. The coaching battle would be incredible.
- St. Peter’s vs Providence or Miami or Iowa State, Championship
How about the ultimate underdog final? To get here, St. Peter’s would have wins over Purdue, UCLA or UNC, then one of Duke, Gonzaga, Arkansas or Texas Tech. It would be an amazing run, to say the least.
- Arizona vs. Michigan, Elite 8
As we said before, we are all in the big time big man matchup. Neither front court will have seen a front court quite like the opponent.
- Arizona vs Kansas, Final 4
The 6th and 7th best Offenses on Kenpom, plus the added storyline of former ASU Sun Devil Remy Martin knocking out the Wildcats.
- Gonzaga vs Purdue – top offenses
First to 100 wins; the top 2 KenPom offense go at with a spot in the championship on the line
Sweet 16 Predictions
Gonzaga over Arkansas: Much like Arizona, we expect this week of practice be the week to right the ship for Gonzaga as they gear up for a much anticipated rematch with Duke
Duke over Texas Tech: Originally we had the Red Raiders over the Blue Devils, but Duke is starting to look like the team of destiny.
Arizona over Houston: Houston has the skill set and strengths to give Arizona a run for its money. Expect a TCU-Zona game again with U of A pulling it out again.
Michigan over Villanova: Villanova’s guards can play with Michigan’s guards, but can they contain Hunter Dickinson? Our guess is no.
Providence over Kansas: Another upset, but Providence has proved the doubters wrong all tournament (and all season), and we won’t make that mistake again.
Iowa St over Miami: Both teams’ seasons are already huge successes, so the winner gets to the cherry on top (at least). In this case, Cyclones are stronger than Hurricanes.
UNC over UCLA: We’ll ride the hot hand of North Carolina as CBS and the NCAA’s dream of UNC vs Duke in the Final 4 lives to see the weekend
Purdue over St. Peter’s: St. Peter’s Cinderella run comes to an end; they don’t have answer for Purdue’s big 3 of Ivey, Edey and Williams
Repicking the Final Four
Gonzaga (Original Pick), Arizona (Original); Purdue (New), Iowa State (New)
College Hoops Breakdown appears weekly at JoeTorosian.com
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