Friday, March 27, 2009

Sweet 16 Predictions: Friday Edition

Kansas vs. Michigan St.
A rematch of two teams that met in the regular season where the Spartans dominated; the game was never really close and the Kansas young guns were exposed, but look for a closer result this time. Kansas has been an up and down team lately. They shot very well from the field (50%) against a pesky North Dakota State team in the first round and then defeated Dayton in the 2nd round in a less than stellar performance. Tom Izzo always has his team ready in the tournament and he should have a terrific game plan for the Jayhawks. The guard play for the Spartans matches up very well with Kansas. Kalin Lucas showed Sherron Collins up in East Lansing last time with 22 points. If Collins and Cole Aldrich don't get any help from their teammates, Kansas will not be defending their national championship.

The Pick: Michigan St.- Look for Michigan State's depth and ability to control Aldrich to be the difference in the game.

Louisville vs. Arizona
What a ride it's been for Arizona. Going from a bubble team to a Sweet Sixteen team. Although some may be surprised the Wildcats are this far, I am not. They have 3 very good players in Nic Wise, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill. Also, they've been the better team in both of their match-ups. The Utah win wasn't really an "upset" and the Wildcats were flat out better than Cleveland St. Zona will have a tougher time vs. a Louisville team that loves to pressure and some gives tough matchups. Louisville is one of the most athletic teams out there with Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, also Samardo Samuels is a tough draw down low. Louisville's guard depth could be a problem as well for Zona. I don't know if the Cats have enough depth to overcome the Cards.

The Pick: Louisville- I like Rick Pitino over Russ Pennell coaching wise and Zona relies way too much on their "big three".

North Carolina vs. Gonzaga

This is a very intriguing matchup. Gonzaga matches up fairly well with UNC. They could give some tough match-ups on the perimeter with Austin Daye, Micah Downs, and Steven Gray size wise. UNC has the edge down low even with the Zags' Josh Heytvelt. Gonzaga just isn't tough enough down-low and their frontline would prefer to play on the outside mostly. Defense could be a problem for the Zags' as they will face the best offense in the nation. If Ty Lawson is healthy for UNC they should win, but they could have some trouble defensively with Gonzagas size. But other than that, Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson down low along with Wayne Ellington and Danny Green on the outside should be too much.

The Pick: UNC- Too much firepower for the Heels' and the Zags just aren't tough enough.

Syracuse vs. Oklahoma
Another intriguing match-up. I am interested to see how Blake Griffin does against the Syracuse zone. If Cuse is able to not let OU dominate down low, they will win this game. It will be a tall task though. Johnny Flynn will have a big advantage over Willie Warren and Austin Johnson at point.

The Pick: Oklahoma- Too much Blake Griffin down low.