Pictured: Corey Davis Jr, Zion Williamson and Carsen Edwards
Source: Getty Images North America

Here’s a look at all matchups set for the Sweet Sixteen.

Pick your Fantasy Sports Sweet 16 Winners Here

ACC foes meet for the second time this season with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line

A month ago, the Virginia Tech Hokies pulled off a 77-72 upset of the Duke Blue Devils. A lot has changed since the two teams met on Feb. 26 as they will play one another in the NCAA Tournament East Region semifinals on Friday night at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

Of course, Duke fans will be quick to mention freshman forward Zion Williamson, the ACC”s Freshman and Player of the Year, did not play in that loss in Blacksburg. However, Virginia Tech senior guard Justin Robinson also missed the game. Both Williamson and Robinson are expected to play on Friday.

The Blue Devils (31-5), who are the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, barely escaped their second-round matchup against UCF 77-76. Williamson scored 32 points and collected a game-high 11 rebounds in the victory.

The Hokies (26-8), are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1962 and just the second time in program history. On Sunday, No. 4 seed Virginia Tech defeated No. 12 Liberty 67-58 out in San Jose, California, to advance to the regional semifinals. Robinson had 13 points in the victory, one of four Hokies in double figures, as Virginia Tech outscored the Flames by 12 in the second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit.

Streaking Ducks look to knock off top-seeded Cavaliers in Louisville

Virginia is finally living up to expectations in the postseason. Can the Cavaliers keep it going while facing an Oregon team that is embracing a rare underdog role? That’s a question that doesn’t offer an easy answer.

The Ducks aren’t your typical No. 12 seed. Injuries dropped Oregon from a preseason Top 25 ranking. Now healthy again, the Ducks have ripped off 10 straight wins and dominated Wisconsin and UC Irvine to get to the Sweet 16. They have won their first two NCAA Tournament games by an average of 18.5 points while holding their opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field.

Virginia seems capable of taking the next step forward after reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016. The Cavaliers overcame a shaky first half to dispatch Gardner-Webb and were never really threatened by Oklahoma in the second round. They are winning with trademark smothering defense and patient offense.

Virginia and Oregon played a home-and-home series in 2010 and ’11. The Cavaliers won both games by an average margin of 14 points.

Seminoles, Bulldogs meet in Sweet 16 in West Regional for second straight year

The unofficial theme of the 2019 West Regional at Honda Center in Anaheim? Goin’ Back to Cali.

A year ago, Sweet 16 participants Florida State, Gonzaga and Michigan played in Los Angeles for the right to advance to the Final Four. The same three are back in Southern California, not far down the freeway in Anaheim. For Florida State and Gonzaga in particular, Thursday’s matchup is a case of deja vu. The two played in last year’s Sweet 16, with Florida State surprisingly dominant in a 75-60 win.

After coming one possession short of its first Final Four in almost a half-century, Florida State will look to rectify last year’s near-miss, starting with a redux of the 2018 Regional semifinal. For Gonzaga, the dream of a second Final Four this decade is still attainable.

A stark contrast in styles highlights this Sweet 16 rematch. Florida State comes in ranked No. 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom.com. Gonzaga, on the other hand, is No. 1 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Tigers, Tar Heels meet in a matchup of two explosive offenses that like to pick up the pace

Auburn has proved its run through the SEC Tournament was no fluke. North Carolina has lived up to its billing and dominated as a No. 1 seed. Now the two clash in what could be one of the best Sweet 16 games we see on either Thursday or Friday.

The fifth-seeded Tigers have ripped off 10 straight wins to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. Auburn hasn’t reached the Elite Eight since 1986. The Tigers have never reached a Final Four in their history.

The Tar Heels are looking to reach the Final Four for the third time in four years. North Carolina has had a great track record in Sweet 16 games under head coach Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have advanced to the Elite Eight eight times under Williams and have lost just once in the Sweet 16, falling to Wisconsin in 2015.

This is the second time these two teams have met in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn and North Carolina also clashed in the Sweet 16 in 1985. The Tar Heels won 62-56.

Tigers and Spartans clash in Washington D.C. with Elite Eight berth on the line

Four teams enter the nation’s capital fresh off a pair of NCAA Tournament wins. They haven’t all been pretty, they haven’t all been blowouts. But they’ve been wins, and in a time appropriately dubbed as “madness,” wins are simply the most important commodity to collect.

LSU makes its 10th appearance in the Sweet 16 and first since 2006. It has been a topsy-turvy ride for the third-seeded Tigers — who lost in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament to Florida — and have squeaked by in their first two NCAA Tournament wins by a combined seven points. Despite nearly blowing a double-digit lead to No. 6 Maryland, LSU pulled out the 69-67 win thanks to four players scoring in double figures, led by Skylar Mays’ 16 and Naz Reid’s 13.

In order to reach their first Elite Eight since 2006, the Tigers will have to contend with Michigan State, the Big Ten’s regular-season and tournament champion. The Spartans received a scare from No. 15 Bradley in the opening round, but they dispatched fellow Big Ten foe (and No. 10) Minnesota by 20 points in the Round of 32. The Spartans dominated the Gophers in most areas — including shooting 57 percent from the field (compared to Minnesota’s 30.5) and outrebounding them 45-19.

However, MSU committed 22 turnovers, its second-highest single-game total and just the third game this season with at least 20. If the Spartans want to make the most of their first Sweet 16 trip since 2015 (when the program also reached the Final Four), they will need to clean up that part of their game.

The two point guards squaring off might be some of the smallest players on the court, but they carry the biggest impact into this game. LSU’s Tremont Waters (5-11) led the SEC (and is third in Division I) with 2.97 steals per game, as the Tigers are a top-10 team in that category. On the other side, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston (6-1) is one of the best distributors in the sport. He’s dished out 7.5 assists per game — which tops the Big Ten and ranks third in Division I — and only Murray State standout Ja Morant (331 total assists this season) has more than Winston’s 271.

Boilermakers, Volunteers meet for the second straight season, this time for a spot in the Elite Eight

Purdue vs. Tennessee is not just one of the few Sweet 16 matchups that I correctly picked in my bracket this year. It also one could set the tone for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.

Both the Boilermakers (25-9) and Volunteers (31-5) have more than held their own in one of the more competitive Tournament fields in recent memory. Purdue made short work of Old Dominion in the first round, then the Big Ten regular-season champs put the hammer down on defending national champion Villanova in the second round, beating the Wildcats by 26 points.

Tennessee, on the other hand, had to surge past a pesky Colgate team in the first round, then needed overtime to put away the Iowa Hawkeyes and not end up on the wrong end of a historic comeback. The Volunteers led by 25 with a little more than four minutes remaining in the first half and were up by 21 at halftime before Iowa stormed back. But Tennessee did what teams are supposed to do — survive and advance.

So now the question is can Purdue continue its Tournament domination, or will Tennessee find a way to outshoot and outscore another tough opponent? After facing Iowa, the Volunteers have an idea of what to expect against another Big Ten squad. This is UT’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2014 and they don’t want to waste it. This is the third straight Sweet 16 berth for the Boilermakers but they haven’t been able to make it past this round. These two teams faced each other last season in late November, a game the Volunteers won in overtime (78-75) on the road.

Two of the nation’s best defensive teams collide in Orange County

Michigan’s run to the national championship game a season ago went through Southern California. The Wolverines return, this time opening the West Regional against an opponent that fell short of its Final Four dreams a year ago, Texas Tech.

This clash of Big Ten and Big 12 teams features two of the very best defensive squads college basketball has to offer, with two of the game’s premier coaches on the sideline. For Michigan’s John Beilein, 2019 marks the seventh Sweet 16 appearance of his illustrious coaching career and fifth such trip at Michigan. The well-tenured Beilein has implemented a fluid brand of unselfish offensive basketball that complements the Wolverines’ No. 2-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency.

Beard’s overall track record is much shorter, but the 2019 Tournament is the third in four years in which Beard has coached a team winning at least one game. He led Arkansas-Little Rock to an upset of Purdue in 2016, and now in just his third season at Texas Tech has led the Red Raiders to consecutive Sweet 16s.

The next step for Texas Tech is to advance to the Final Four, while Michigan pursues its third appearance in the last six years.

Teams’ first-ever meeting on the court is for a spot in the Elite Eight

The NCAA Tournament has brought about many first-time matchups through the years, and we’ll get another one on Friday night when the Houston Cougars take on the Kentucky Wildcats with an Elite Eight berth on the line. The Cougars under Kelvin Sampson are enjoying their first 30-win campaign since the “Phi Slama Jama” era of the early 1980s, while the Wildcats have been constant championship contenders under head coach John Calipari. And when these two forces collide it could be a historic occasion.

Houston (33-3) took out both Georgia State and Ohio State in the previous two rounds, winning by a total of 44 points. Kentucky (29-6) made short work of Abilene Christian in the first round, then survived a close game with Wofford last Saturday. This is the eighth Sweet 16 appearance for UK in the Calipari era, while the Cougars are playing in this round for the first time since 1984 when the team led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler went on to lose to Georgetown in the national championship game.

This will be the second SEC team that Houston has played this season. The Cougars beat fellow Sweet 16 participant LSU at home back in December. As for Kentucky, this will be the Wildcats’ first matchup with a team from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) since defeating Cincinnati in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. This also will be the schools’ first-ever meeting.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: Corey Davis Jr, Zion Williamson and Carsen Edwards
Source: Getty Images North America

Duke hopes to end in Minneapolis how they started… as the No. 1 team

Usually at this time of year, we’re all discussing whether Cinderella can continue their magical run through the NCAA Tournament. This year however?

Chalk. Lots of it.

While the field has been narrowed down from 68, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that those plucky little underdogs are nowhere to be found. All those high seeds — and there are plenty of them right now — mean this year’s edition of the Tournament could have one of its best-ever second weekends. From the Hall of Fame coaches to the future NBA lottery picks, there’s plenty of high-level basketball to be played over the coming days and the 2019 national champion will surely be the cream of the crop as a result.

Pick your Fantasy Sports March Madness Winners Here

How do all those remaining college basketball teams stack up against each other though? After taking in the first two rounds, here’s a re-seeding of those teams still left dancing in the Sweet 16:

1. North Carolina

The top seed in the Midwest is playing more like the top seed in the entire Tournament — and have been for over a month now. Their tempo can really be difficult to match and Roy Williams has been dialing up the right moves in March for a long time now, which is as good of an asset as it is having veterans like Luke Maye to go out and execute. Having Nassir Little break out during the first weekend only enhances the fact that the Tar Heels are playing like the team to beat.

2. Duke

Yes, the Blue Devils were lucky to survive and advance out of that second-round game against UCF. Here’s the thing though, just about every title-winning team has to say that they are both lucky and good at some point in this kind of tourney. We know Duke certainly is good with Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, Tre Jones et al. and now we know they’re a bit lucky too. It’s a tough road but Coach K and company have to still like their odds of making it to Minneapolis.

3. Gonzaga

Five straight Sweet 16s is quite the accomplishment for Mark Few and this is one of his most well-rounded group of players yet. Brandon Clarke’s monster game against an athletic Baylor squad in the second round should help serve notice that while Rui Hachimura gets most of the attention, the Bulldogs can beat you a dozen different ways.

4. Virginia

You would have to forgive the Cavaliers for being a bit nervous during the first weekend given what happened last year to them in the first round. At the same time, you also have to give them credit for eventually finding their sea legs and looking a lot like the team who earned the No. 1 seed in the South for a terrific regular season. This is Tony Bennett’s best offensive-minded group yet and when you add that to their terrific defense, the time is certainly now for the elusive Final Four trip.

5. Michigan State

Another squad that seemed to be looking ahead a bit in the first round, the Spartans really showed what they are capable of in trouncing their conference foe Minnesota to make it to the Sweet 16. Tom Izzo’s sideline demeanor has been the focus of most talking heads but not enough has been paid to how well this group plays as a team. Their biggest obstacle is probably the fact that their Final Four road likely goes through Duke but this is an excellent all-around squad.

6. Michigan

The Wolverines probably look at the West region with a bit of deja vu given the similarities to last year but they know that a Final Four bid is there for the taking. They had one of the most effortless first weekends of anybody on this list and their defense is absolutely ferocious. John Beilein might be the best coach in the game at the moment and he’s got the squad to keep going well past the Sweet 16.

7. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders top-notch defense was on full display in that impressive clamp-down of high-flying Buffalo in the second round. They’ve got the horses on the other end though too, as Jarrett Culver keeps shooting up NBA draft boards with the way he’s playing on both ends of the court. Chris Beard has done a phenomenal job this season and could be saving the best for last.

8. Tennessee

In terms of talent, the Volunteers should be much higher on this list. But after getting pushed by Colgate and then letting Iowa storm back to force an improbable overtime, there are real concerns about the group from Knoxville and beyond. Admiral Schofield has the talent to be the best player in the Tournament but the way he pulled himself out of OT against the Hawkeyes combined with Rick Barnes as head coach leave Tennessee as quite the enigma at the moment.

9. Kentucky

Let’s face it, PJ Washington’s health holds back the Wildcats from really being the title threat that they looked like a few weeks ago. Credit to John Calipari though, he’s got his youngsters playing hard on both ends and really making sure everybody is comfortable in their role. They survived Wofford thanks to a (statistically impossible) off night from Fletcher Magee and will have to be better in all areas if they want to make it to the Twin Cities.

10. Purdue

Credit to Matt Painter’s crew, who just might be the hottest team on this list save maybe the Ducks. The offense is certainly clicking at a high level and there are threats to worry about even if Carsen Edwards isn’t the one going off like he’s in NBA Jam. Not just beating the defending champs but running them off the floor served notice that the Boilermakers need to be taken extra seriously by all the teams that stand in their way.

11. Florida State

It sounds as though Phil Cofer is not going to return to the court for the Seminoles, which is a tough blow for the team in terms of his senior leadership and because of the tragic loss of his father. Raiquan Gray has played solidly in his absence and Terance Mann is stepping up his game for this uber-athletic squad but there’s a big jump in level of play with the long trip West in the Sweet 16.

12. Houston

It’s incredible to believe that the Cougars are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since Phi Slama Jama caught the attention of fans far and wide. While this group does seem a bit like a fish out of water amongst blue bloods and other power conference opponents, make no mistake — they can play. Corey Davis is really an underrated player and they’ve gotten all the right moves out of head coach Kelvin Sampson.

13. Auburn

The Tigers haven’t been on a run like this since Charles Barkley was in uniform on the Plains and not in the studio cheering the team on. The effort against Kansas was one of the most all-around impressive ones in this Tournament and Bruce Pearl has his guys playing hard every time out on the court.

14. LSU

The Tigers survived a thriller against Maryland to make it to the Sweet 16 and there’s no question they have the talent to make it to the Elite Eight and beyond. That said, they’re still a team without their head coach and without Will Wade, there certainly seems like there is a ceiling with this group. That’s not to say they can’t exceed expectations, just that they’re tempered a bit going forward.

15. Oregon

There’s something about the Ducks under Dana Altman when the calendar turns to March. He’s getting the absolute most out of his group, which is as hot as they come the last few games. Payton Pritchard is hitting big shot after big shot and nobody really wants to challenge Kenny Wooten. Yes, it’s a tall task being the only double-digit seed remaining but there’s certainly something brewing the last couple of weeks.

16. Virginia Tech

Hats off to Buzz Williams, who has the noted football school dancing in the Sweet 16 for the first time. The Hokies are a balanced group and have the benefit of knowing that they have beaten their upcoming opponent just a few weeks ago. They get the benefit of playing pretty close to home and that could be the difference even as they make the trip to Washington, D.C. as a noted underdog.

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured (left to right): Corey Davis Jr, Zion Williamson and Carsen Edwards
Source: Getty Images North America

Here’s how the Sweet 16 looks

Need an updated 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket to embrace the full March Madness? We’ve got you covered, with a look at which teams made the Sweet 16 and which teams they beat to get there. 

Pick your Fantasy Sports March Madness Winners Here

Here are the 16 teams remaining in the tournament (alphabetical listing)…

Auburn

Duke

FSU

Gonzaga

Houston

Kentucky

LSU

Michigan

Michigan State

UNC

Oregon

Purdue

Tennessee

Texas Tech

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Here’s a complete rundown of the remaining 2019 NCAA Tournament schedule:

Thursday, March 28 & Saturday, March 30 – South (Louisville, Ky.) and West (Anaheim, Calf.) Regionals

Friday, March 29 & Sunday, March 31 – East (Washington, D.C.) and Midwest Regionals (Kansas City, Mo.)

Saturday, April 6 – Final Four (Minneapolis)

Monday, April 8 – National Championship (Minneapolis)

Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Do the Aggies have another upset in them?

It’s been a pretty good NCAA Tournament for Michigan so far with two wins while getting to watch rival Michigan State fall to Syracuse as an upset. The Wolverines knocked off Montana and got a miracle long-range shot from freshman Jordan Poole to beat Houston. They have now won 11 straight games and have dispelled any issues with the long layoff after the early Big Ten Tournament.

Texas A&M meanwhile had to beat Providence and North Carolina to get here. The Aggies looked like the team they were back in November as they outmuscled the Tar Heels last time out, soundly beating the defending national champions by 21 points in Charlotte.

Enter the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament Bracket

West Region: No. 7 Texas A&M (22-12) vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (30-7)

Time: 7:37 p.m. ET (Thursday)

​Where: Staples Center (Los Angeles)

TV TBS

Keys for Texas A&M

Crash the boards like the Aggies have been in this tournament. They grab 34 percent of their offensive rebound opportunities and they are the bigger team in this matchup. Texas A&M took advantage of its size differential against North Carolina, out-rebounding the Tar Heels 50-34. Going into that game, North Carolina was one of the nation’s top teams on the glass, enjoying a rebounding margin of nearly 10 per game (9.8).

Michigan forward Moritz Wagner, the team’s leading rebounder (7.1 rpg), has been in a bit of foul trouble in a few games this season so he will need to be able to stay on the court or the Aggies could really have their way in the paint and on the boards. Robert Williams and Tyler Davis have the advantage down low over both Wagner and John Teske. But the Texas A&M big men also have to be aware of the Wolverines’ shooters, like Duncan Robinson, and guard all way out to the 3-point line at times. In the first two games, the Aggies have held opponents to 12 of 51 (23.5 percent) shooting from beyond the arc.

Keys for Michigan

Continue the great defense that the Wolverines played in Wichita, holding Montana and Houston to under 35 percent shooting from the field. Texas A&M has been hot as of late, especially from behind the 3-point line. After shooting 31.1 percent from the arc during the regular season, the Aggies made 10 of 24 attempts (41.7 percent) in the victory over the Tar Heels. Zavier Simpson has to be able to keep TJ Starks in check, as the Texas A&M guard poured in 21 points against North Carolina. He has had a high usage rate this season so Simpson will be busy. Finally, stay out of foul trouble. Wagner did not play that much last game and that can’t keep happening if the rest of the offense continues to slump.

Final Analysis

Points will be at a premium in this one. These two teams have similar strengths and weaknesses and the key could be who will start the fastest. As I said above, it’s imperative for Wagner to stay on the court and help battle Texas A&M’s bigs. I think in the end, we may see another upset from the Aggies, who are in better form right now than the Wolverines.

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Posted in CBB

Two of the 2018 Tournament’s Cinderella stories clash in the topsy-turvy South Region

One advanced on a pair of buckets scored in the final seconds. The other rallied from a combined 39-point deficit over two contests. Loyola-Chicago and Nevada provided some of the most memorable moments of this NCAA Tournament in their first four combined games. The two now meet with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.

Given their penchant for the dramatic this March, expect more fireworks.

This surprise matchup of the No. 7 seed and No. 11 seeds features a contrast in styles. Nevada scores as effectively as any team in the country, boasting an adjusted offensive efficiency rank of No. 6, per KenPom.com. Loyola, meanwhile, has made its bones on the defensive end. The Ramblers rank No. 27 in adjusted defensive efficiency, and with a per-game yield of just 62.2 points, are now the stingiest defense left in the Tournament.

Enter the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament Bracket

South Region: No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers (30-5) vs. No. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack (29-7)

Time: 7:07 p.m. ET (Thursday)

Where: Philips Arena (Atlanta)
TV: CBS

Keys for Loyola (Chicago)

Over its last seven games, the 62 points both Miami and Tennessee scored in Loyola’s First and Second Round wins were the most any opponent has mustered. A great defensive team all season long, the Ramblers have upped the intensity for the stretch run.

They have not necessarily done so generating a ton of turnovers; they forced 16 against Miami, but just seven vs. Tennessee. Loyola also hasn’t completely shut down the 3-point arc, with the Vols having hit 36 percent in the Second Round, and the Hurricanes connecting on 44 percent. However, the Ramblers’ ability to dictate tempo — extending possessions on both offense and defense — forced those games into a style better suited to them.

Loyola likely won’t be able to generate many turnovers, with Nevada ranked No. 1 nationally in turnover percentage, but the Ramblers can force the Wolf Pack to shoot deep in the shot clock. On the offensive end, taking high-percentage shots is critical for the Ramblers’ Elite Eight hopes; in losses, Loyola’s offensive output dips. Good looks at the basket are paramount with this team’s methodical style.

Four of Loyola’s primary rotation players (Aundre Jackson, Clayton Custer, Marques Towns and Cameron Krutwig) shoot 55 percent or better from inside the 3-point. Custer and breakout Tournament star Donte Ingram (48 points in the First and Second Round) shoot at least 40 percent from deep. The Ramblers need to maintain those steady numbers to advance.

Keys for Nevada

For the first time in this Tournament, Nevada enjoys a distinct advantage in terms of size and athleticism. This in stark contrast to a Mountain West Conference Tournament loss to San Diego State, and the First and Second Round contests in which the Wolf Pack fell behind big vs. Texas and Cincinnati. However, it’s more in line with the majority of the regular season, when Nevada won 26 games.

That bodes well for Thursday’s forecast. Brothers Cody and Caleb Martin complement one another nicely, with Cody scoring effectively on the interior, and Caleb connecting on 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip. Veteran Jordan Caroline plays a dynamic inside-outside game, and may be the Pack’s X-factor. Loyola could struggle to keep him off the glass and out of the paint, particularly with the Martins are effective early slashing and shooting from deep.

If not Caroline, sharp-shooter Kendall Stephens may hold the key to getting Nevada through the Sweet 16 and beyond. He’s one of the most consistent 3-point shooters left in the Tournament, hitting at a rate just below 45 percent. His ability to stretch the defense is just what Nevada needs to pull Loyola out of its tempo-controlling style and speed up the pace of play.

Critical for the Pack on Thursday, as it’s been all season, is avoiding foul trouble. Coach Eric Musselman does not typically go any deeper than six players in his rotation. If Loyola draws fouls early — which San Diego State accomplished in the MWC Tournament — Nevada may be in trouble.

Final Analysis

From Musselman’s high energy on the sideline — mirrored in the stands by daughter Mariah — to the enthusiasm of Loyola-Chicago’s Sister Jean, these two teams have provided some of the quintessential moments of the Tournament. It’s unfortunate one must go home, but the Final Four is oh-so-close.

Both teams have walked a tight rope to get to this point. Another nail-biter seems likely, especially with Loyola’s methodical style. Nevada must dictate pace, which its shown it can do in the first two rounds, but do so earlier. There won’t be any coming back if the Pack falls behind this Ramblers bunch big early.

Any of Nevada’s four primary weapons — the Martins, Caroline and Stephens — can go off. That gives the Pack an edge that should carry them into the Elite Eight.

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Posted in CBB

Sweet 16 Breakdown

It took a little longer than recent years, but March Madness finally made an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament this past weekend and no doubt laid waste to many a bracket. But then again the upsets and the unexpected are what make this time of year and filling out a bracket so much fun, right?

Had defending national champion Villanova making it back to the Final Four? Sorry, about that. Thought the ACC would be well represented in the Sweet 16? Only North Carolina made it out unscathed, as Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Notre Dame and Virginia all lost their second round games. And what about the East Region? If you had No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Florida, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 8 Wisconsin as the four teams that would play in Madison Square Garden for a spot in the Final Four then take a bow.

So now that everyone’s bracket is beyond recognition with all of the crossed out teams, here’s your chance to start fresh. Impressed with Xavier? Now you can jump on the Musketeers’ bandwagon all the way to the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona. And what about Michigan? Can the Wolverines continue their run that started with the Big Ten Tournament? And which team do you think will come out of the South Region, the only one in which the top four seeds remain? Come play at FanPicks

[powr-poll id=374d6871_1490036162696]

Here are the matchups, times and broadcast information for Thursday’s and Friday’s Sweet 16 games.

Thursday, March 23

No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 3 Oregon (Midwest Region)

7:09 p.m. ET, CBS
Sprint Center (Kansas City, MO)

No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (West Region)

7:39 p.m. ET, TBS

SAP Center at San Jose (San Jose, CA)

No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 1 Kansas (Midwest Region)

9:39 p.m. ET, CBS

Sprint Center (Kansas City, MO)

No. 11 Xavier vs. No. 2 Arizona (West Region)

10:09 p.m. ET, TBS

SAP Center at San Jose (San Jose, CA)

Friday, March 24

No. 4 Butler vs. No. 1 North Carolina (South Region)

7:09 p.m. ET, CBS

FedEx Forum (Memphis, TN)

No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 3 Baylor (East Region)

7:29 p.m. ET, TBS

Madison Square Garden (New York City)

No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 2 Kentucky (South Region)

9:39 p.m. ET, CBS

FedEx Forum (Memphis, TN)

No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Florida (East Region)

9:59 p.m. ET, CBS

Madison Square Garden (New York City)

Posted in CBB

March Madness

Sweet 16 Fantasy Preview

#2 Villanova vs #3 Miami

In this March Madness fantasy preview, we’re going to stay inside one matchup with a pair of particularly dynamic athletes on each side of the court.

Daniel Ochefu could be a major value pick. Tagged at just $5400, Ochefu has put up big numbers for #2 Villanova in their first two wins.

The 6-foot-11 senior center  is adept at finding the hole in the defense to give his perimeter-reliant team an option down-low. They can then pick their shots better, leading to higher team efficiency and touches for Ochefu.

He collected 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks to lead Villanova to an 86-56 win over #15 UNC Asheville to begin March Madness, good for 44 fantasy points on fanpicks.com.

It was no fluke as he responded with a 34.5 fantasy point effort in Villanova’s second round contest versus #7 Iowa…and he only scored 6 real points.

He’s 10-14 from the floor during March Madness with 21 rebounds already. His all-around game and effort gives him a very nice floor value with a high ceiling. Not often do you find a guy that dynamic at that price range.

Though he may play a high-risk high-reward style on the court, the same high-floor, high-ceiling comment stands true for Angel Rodriguez from a fantasy standpoint.

He may be considered a gambler, but evidently it works out as the Hurricanes have made it to the Sweet 16.

Rodriguez scored 24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block with 3 turnovers in Miami’s first March Madness contest (79-72 vs Buffalo), good for 45 fantasy points.

In game two versus Wichita State the Hurricane’s guard sank 28 points, going 9 for 11 from the field and 3 for 4 beyond the arc. Now that’s very impressive, but also necessary when you have 7 turnovers in that game alone. He also had 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals to total 39 fantasy points.

Obviously the Hurricanes won the game, so they have lived by the sword. But will they die by it on Thursday versus a much more formidable opponent in #Villanova?

We’ll all just have to wait and see. No matter the outcome, the game will be exciting and these two stars will shine.

Posted in CBB

NCAA Tournament Fantasy Preview

Wisconsin Badgers VS Xavier Musketeers

# 2 Xavier Musketeers and the # 7 Wisconsin Badgers will meet tonight in a battle for their Sweet 16 spots in St-Louis. This battle will be a physical one highlighting the different styles and pace of each teams. FanPicks is proud to bring you this NCAA Tournament Fantasy Preview. Come enjoy our March Madness contests at Fanpicks with over 5 MILLION dollars in prizes for the NCAA TOURNAMENT.

 

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Xavier ranks among the top teams remaining in this tournament especially when it comes down to their potent offense. The Musketeers average 81 pts per game with about 72.6 possessions. In contrast, the Badgers average 68.2 pts per game with about 63.9 possessions.

 

On top of that, the Badgers only shot 32.1 % from the field. Their freshman Ethan Happ accounted for almost a third of their pts (15) however, the teams’s top 2 scorers, Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes combined for a terrible 14 pts and 4 of 25 from the field. The Badgers will need to have their key players to step up big time to the plate and finish their big plays if they want to head back like the past 2 seasons to the Final Four. A performance like the one against the Panthers will have them out of the contest in the first half. Maybe with history on their side, entering this second round, only Kentucky and Louisville have recorded more wins in an NCAA tournament than the Badgers.

 

The Musketeers however are going into this game confident and aiming for their 2nd consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. They made it to the Sweet 16 five times in the last seven years. They shot 48.4 % in their first round game and are extremely dominant on the rebound section, led by their senior James Farr. Farr recorded his 6th double-double of the season with a 18 pts and 15 boards performance. Their leading scorer Trevon Bluiett averages 15.3 pts and has been instrumental in the team’s success this year. Xavier has only lost twice in their past 11 games against Big Ten Conference teams and won their last 2 meetings against the Badgers, including a 2nd round NCAA tournament win back in 2009.

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March Madness Scores

Round of 32

Another exciting day of March Madness has come and gone, so we’re here to catch you up on all the action. Twelve games were played on Saturday, and as usual there was an abundance of excitement, drama, baskets, blocks and jams.

The tournament gets real fast once you hit the second round. Surprises like Yale, who made it through the first round with a heck of an effort now have to face top seeded powerhouses such as Duke for example.

They almost pulled it off too, as Yale dropped 39 points on Duke in the second off, trying to rally for the miraculous comeback. But allowing 48 opening half points was just too much to overcome against Coach K and his Blue Devil crew.

Some favorites like Duke won, while some couldn’t find the inspiration to pull through. Or maybe, the fighting spirit of the underdog is just too strong. That’s why the games are actually played out on the court, and not decided on paper.

The round of 32 continues tomorrow, meanwhile some teams already punched their tickets to the Sweet 16.

Here are all the results from yesterday’s action.

Scores 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

MarchMadness Scores 32

The big squads like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Virginia advanced, while Kentucky joined Michigan State looking from the outside in.

Intriguing games on the schedule tomorrow include Middle Tennessee facing Syracuse, and Stephen F. Austin versus Notre-Dame.

Stephen F. Austin could be a bad matchup for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish will need some of that fighting spirit I mentioned to slow down SFA leading scorer Giddy Potts. Widely considered the nations top three-point shooter. We’ve seen the Steph Curry affect in the NBA, and the swing on the game it causes in college ball is even more dramatic. If Potts gets hot, Notre-Dame will be another big school on the wrong end of a headline.

Posted in CBB