With the NCAA Tournament heading into the second weekend, we predict each game in the Sweet 16.
The 2017 NCAA Tournament has been as exciting and eventful as any in recent memory and that’s even without a ton of first-round upsets. The Sweet 16 has been set and after a crazy second round, anything is possible.
I mean, who could have seen upsets like Wisconsin over Villanova, South Carolina over Duke, Xavier over Florida State or Michigan over Louisville coming? If your bracket is busted, you’re definitely not alone. There’s still plenty of action to be had, but the tournament is drawing closer to crowning a champion.
We did our best to predict each game in the Sweet 16. Will there be any major upsets?
East Region — Wisconsin (8) vs. Florida (4)
Many people counted Wisconsin out once the NCAA Tournament brackets were revealed and the Badgers were given an eight-seed. However, they’ve proven to be vastly under-seeded, beating Virginia Tech in the first round and then pulling off the upset of the weekend against reigning national champion and No. 1 overall seed, Villanova.
The Badgers will take on a Florida team that limped into the tournament following two losses to Vanderbilt in the final weeks of the season. However, the Gators are playing like the team that showed up for the first few months of the year, beating East Tennessee State and then handling Virginia easily.
Florida is a very balanced team on the offensive side of the ball with no real go-to scorer. That’s not a bad thing, per say, but Wisconsin has a tremendous defense and the Badgers have been in this position before as the underdog who has a surprising amount of confidence.
Any time a No. 8 or No. 9 seed beats a No. 1 in the second round, they gain an unreal amount of confidence that’s hard to shake. Florida will feel the veteran leadership of the Badgers getting stronger after taking an early lead, clamping down on the defensive side of the ball.
Moreover, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ will have big games down low for Wisconsin, but Florida will keep it close until the final seconds.
Final: Wisconsin 71, Florida 67