Coming off one of the craziest first weekend’s of basketball in tournament history, the Sweet 16 is looking to be shaping up into a brawl to move on to the next round.
Now that the weekend has ended and the dust has settled, we are finally able to get a bit of a break and digest everything that has happened in the first two rounds of the tournament. Many high seeds have seen upsets all across the board, including a monumental upset that saw the first ever No. 16 – No. 1 seed upset in the tournament’s history.
With the same number of one seeds as there are 11 seeds left in the tournament, we can expect a Sweet 16 that should live up to the March Madness expectation. Here is a breakdown of the remaining eight games.
- (No. 5) Kentucky vs. (No.9) Kansas State
- This matchup looks to be one of the more cut and dry matchups in the third round of the tournament. Kentucky is coming off of a solid win against Davidson and a big game from freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (27 points, 10-of-12 shooting) helped lift the team to a convincing win against Buffalo. Kansas State took full advantage of the UMBC upset to help secure their spot in the third round but they look to be outclassed in this matchup.
- (No.7) Nevada vs. (No.11) Loyola-Chicago
- The Ramblers look to continue their impressive Cinderella story in this tournament. After coming off of back-to back buzzer beater wins against Miami and Tennesse the team is riding a nice run of 18 wins in their last 19 games. Nevada comes into this game after a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win against Cincinnati, which saw them tie the game with three seconds left in regulation. Look for both teams to be riding their momentum and look for that to play big part in this games outcome.
- (No.3) Michigan vs. (No.7) Texas A&M
- Consider this game to be one of the best games of the entire tournament. Third-seeded Michigan comes into the game after the dramatic buzzer beater against Houston at the hand of Jordan Poole while Texas A&M comes in red-hot off the heels of a dominating upset of last years champion UNC. Expect a highly contested game if the Aggies can bring the same dominance that they displayed against North Carolina.
- (No.4) Gonzaga vs. (No.9) Florida State
- This game has the potential to be another story of upset in Florida State’s Cinderella story this year. They just came off a massive come from behind win against first seed Xavier that saw the Seminoles make a 19-5 run in the last six minutes to secure their spot in the third round of the tournament. No. 4 seed Gonzaga has not looked as good as expected coming into the tournament including an 11-point collapse against Ohio State, which they were able to recover from. If Gonzaga continues with this shaky form then look for Florida State to capitalize.
- (No.1) Villanova vs. (No.5) West Virginia
- One of the last two first seeds left in the tournament, Villanova has looked strong so far, including a very decisive win against Alabama with a score of 81-58. They will be facing a West Virginia team that has made easy work of their first two opponents (Murray State, Marshall). The Mountaineers are riding the hot hand of guard Jevon Carter who ran a stat line of 28 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals against Marshall on Sunday. Look for a very contested game that could carry potential final implications moving forward.
- (No.2) Purdue vs. (No.3) Texas Tech
- Look for this game to be one of the more interesting games in the Sweet Sixteen. Purdue is coming in off of a tight win against Butler that really tested the mental fortitude of the Boilermakers. They floundered offensively late — scoring only one basket in the last four minutes. Texas Tech is making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2005 and are coming on off a dramatic win against the Florida Gators.
- (No.1) Kansas vs. (No.5) Clemson
- The second of the two remaining first seeds, the Jayhawks come into the Sweet 16 on the heels of a thriller against Seton Hall which saw sophomore guard Malik Newman break out scoring 28 points. Clemson is making it to the third round for the first time since 1997 and have seemed relatively untested in their first two games of the tournament. The Jayhawks look to be the favorite in this matchup.
- (No.2) Duke vs. (No.11) Syracuse
- Duke is continuing to look solid as they do every year thanks to the unparalleled coaching that comes from Mike Krzyzewski. This game marks the 24th trip to the Sweet 16 for Coach K. Look for a good matchup from the Orange as they come off the thrilling upset of the No. 3 seed Michigan State. History and stats make this seem to be an easy game for the Blue Devils, but if the first two rounds have been any indicator, no team is safe.