Did you enjoy the first week of the NCAA tournament? I’ll be honest, if this second weekend is as good as the first weekend, and then get ready for another batch of great college basketball games. With so many close games, to the three buzzer beaters and the crazy finale between Northern Iowa and Texas A&M, speaking of Northern Iowa, how about that buzzer beater from half-court to beat Texas in the first round? My first bracket I correctly predicted eight out of the 16 teams and hopefully I have a little more success with this new bracket. Let’s get started!!
This first game has the potential to be one of the better games of the entire Sweet 16 as we have the Kansas Jayhawks face the Maryland Terrapins. Originally, I had the Kansas Jayhawks getting upset by the UConn Huskies, but the Jayhawks dominated the game from the beginning to the end. The Jayhawks have looked like what the overall top team supposed to look in the tournament. On the other hand, the Terrapins played exactly how I thought they would play and not surprised they reached the Sweet 16. Can they pull off the huge upset and advance to the Elite 8? I’m not making that mistake of picking the Jayhawks to get upset, but this game will be close.
Jayhawks Win 77-67
In the second game in the South region, we have the 2nd seeded Villanova Wildcats facing the Miami Hurricanes, who’s the 3rd seed. The Villanova Wildcats are actually one of my Final Four picks on my original bracket, while I had Miami losing to Arizona in the second and the Wildcats lost in the first round. As far as this game, this should be another exciting game between teams with contrasting styles. The Hurricanes surprised many, including myself with the season they had and Villanova was actually ranked #1 earlier in the year. In the end, this will be a very close game and I have Villanova advancing to the Elite 8 to face the Kansas Jayhawks.
Villanova Wildcats Win 82-78
We start off the in the West region with the top seeded Oregon Ducks facing the Duke Blue Devils, who comes in as the 4th seed. The Ducks had a very impressive season, which lead to them receiving a #1 seed over the Villanova Wildcats. Usually, when you hear or see the Duke Blue Devils facing the Oregon Ducks in basketball the Blue Devils would normally be the top seed. In my original bracket, I had the Ducks facing the Baylor, but they fell in the first round to Yale. The Blue Devils have looked really impressive so far and I believe they will pull off the upset and beat the Ducks to advance to the Elite 8.
Duke Blue Devils Win 84-80
In the second game in the West region, we have the Oklahoma Sooners facing the Texas A&M Aggies in what should be a great game. In my original bracket, the Oklahoma Sooners represented the West region in the Final Four and advanced to the title game. The Aggies are coming off one of the most impressive comebacks ever when they beat Northern Iowa by going on a 14-2 run in the final 31 seconds to send the game into OT. In my original bracket, I had the Aggies losing in the first round to Green Bay, but here they are facing an old rival in Oklahoma. I’m rolling with the Sooners to advance to the Elite 8 to face Duke for the chance to go to the Final Four.
Oklahoma Sooners Win 75-71
We head to the East region where I actually predicted this match-up between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Indiana Hoosiers. If you’re a fan of college basketball, then you know that it doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to stoic programs. The North Carolina Tar Heels have looked like one of the best teams in the tournament and they’re actually my pick to cut down the nets in the end. The Hoosiers pulled off the upset of Kentucky in the round of 32 and I believe they will give the Tar Heels a run, making things interesting but North Carolina will pull out the win.
North Carolina Tar Heels Win 77-73
In this second game I didn’t predict either one of them advancing to the Sweet 16. We have the 6th seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish facing the Wisconsin Badgers, who’s the 7th seed. The Fighting Irish advanced to this round by their tip-in in the final moments to beat Stephen F. Austin by one point. With a win, Notre Dame could have a chance to play the Tar Heels, whom they beat earlier this for the chance to go to the Final Four. On the other hand, Wisconsin also won their game on a buzzer beater against Xavier, who was the 2nd seed. This should be another close match-up, but I think the Badgers will advance to play the Tar Heels in the regional championship game.
Wisconsin Badgers Win 69-67
Last, but definitely not least, we head to the Midwest region where the first game features the Virginia Cavaliers facing the Iowa State Cyclones. This match-up doesn’t come to a surprise to me since I actually predicted they would meet in this round. The Cavaliers possess one of the best defenses in the country, but they’re facing a Cyclone team that has so much athleticism and it could be a problem. Coming into this game, the Cavaliers seem to not get the proper respect they deserve because it was revealed that they’re the most vulnerable one seed. With that said, I’m riding with the Cavaliers to beat Iowa State and advance to the Elite 8.
Virginia Cavaliers Win 69-65
In the final match-up in the Midwest region, we have the Gonzaga Bulldogs facing the Syracuse Orange in a battle between the 11th and 10th seed. I think I speak for pretty much everyone at how surprised Gonzaga handled Utah the way they did. The Bulldogs have a well-balanced team that will create a few match-up problems for the Orange and this game features two of the better coaches in college basketball. On the other hand, it’s crazy that many thought Syracuse didn’t deserve a tournament bid, but now they’re one game away from the Elite 8. This should be another good game and I’m rolling with the Orange to advance and play the Virginia Cavaliers in the Elite 8.
Syracuse Orange Wins 72-66
If my picks hold true, we’re headed for a 1 vs. 2 match-up for the chance to advance to the Final Four as the Kansas Jayhawks would battle the Villanova Wildcats. If this game actually takes place, then get ready to for an excellent game between a couple of teams that were ranked #1 during the regular season. In my original bracket, I had the Wildcats representing the South region in the Final Four. After paying more attention to the Jayhawks, I have to say that I’m very impressed with their entire team, especially the backcourt. With that said, I have a change of heart and I’m riding with the Jayhawks to reach the Final Four.
Kansas Jayhawks Win and Advance to the Final Four 75-67
We head to the West region and I have the Duke Blue Devils facing the Oklahoma Sooners. The Blue Devils seem to be peaking at the right time as they’re the only team in the tournament to have two players averaging more than 20 points a game. The Blue Devils have enough fire power to counter pretty much anything Oklahoma throws at them. On the other hand, I had the Sooners reaching the championship game in my original bracket. Oklahoma has played well so far and it seems like they’ve stepped up their defense in the process. In the end, I’m sticking with the Sooners to advance to the Final Four!!
Oklahoma Sooners Win and Advance to the Final Four 76-72
In the East region championship game I have the North Carolina Tar Heels facing the Wisconsin Badgers for the right to advance to the Final Four. The Tar Heels look like one of the best teams in the country with great play from all positions. North Carolina just has more talent than the Badgers, but Wisconsin possess the heart of a champion with the program going through so much and still to reach this point is amazing. The Badgers will force the guards of North Carolina to step their game up on the defensive end because the Badgers have great shooters. My original bracket had the Tar Heels winning it all and I have them advancing to the Final Four.
North Carolina Wins and Advance to the Final Four 81-71
In the Midwest region championship game I have two ACC schools facing each other as the Virginia Cavaliers face the Syracuse Orange. The Cavaliers smothering defense have been giving teams fits all year and I expect this to continue in this game. Once again, the Orange wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament according to some, let alone in a position to reach the Final Four. One thing, you can’t underestimate Coach Boeheim in a game like this because he’s been there and done that. This will be another tough game and in the end, I believe Virginia is the better team and will reach the Final Four.
Virginia Wins and Advance to the Final Four 69-56
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Oklahoma Sooners
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Cavaliers
There you have it; my picks from the Sweet 16 on down to who I believe will reach the Final Four. According to my picks, it’ll be a battle of teams that’s familiar with each other facing each other for the chance to play in the national championship game. Who do you have reaching the Final Four? Check out some of your favorite NBA players brackets here: https://ooh.li/86c9a53 and compare your brackets to theirs. Come back next week and let’s see how things played out as I’ll put up another post for my Final Four predictions.