The Pitch’s Sweet 16 Preview


Provided by the pitch

Preview to the Pitch’s official Sweet 16 bracket. (Full bracket located at the bottom of the story)

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is down to the final 16 teams. Four teams left in each region will compete to move on to the regional finals. 

The East Region was rocked by an upset when eight seed North Carolina knocked off one seed and defending national champion Baylor in overtime. North Carolina will face off against four seed UCLA, which has been led by their experienced stars Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr. UCLA’s experience will lead them to victory over North Carolina.

Everyone’s favorite Cinderella team this year, 15 seed Saint Peter’s, knocked off two seed Kentucky in the Round of 64 and Murray State in the round of 32. They play three seed Purdue, led by star Jaden Ivey, who is averaging 20 points per game in the tournament. Saint Peter’s will stun the country once again by defeating Purdue and move on to the Elite Eight.

In the Midwest Region, one seed Kansas has dominated in their first two rounds, mainly due to amazing offensive play from Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. They play the Providence Friars who only seem to play in close games, and have won 11 games that came down to five points or less. Sadly for Providence, this will not be a close game, as Kansas will continue their dominant run through the region.

10 seed Miami stunned the country by beating two seed Auburn by 18 points. 11 seed Iowa State has pulled off the upset in each of the first two rounds by beating six seed LSU in the first round, and three seed Wisconsin in the second. This game will come down to the wire as both teams play stout defense, but Miami’s offensive talent, especially from guards Kameron McGusty and Charlie Moore, will be the difference in this game.

Next, in the West region, which has all its top four seeds remaining, one seed Gonzaga escaped with a four point win over Memphis to get to the Sweet 16 where they will play four seed Arkansas. They have struggled so far in getting a win with more than five points even though they have played a 13 seed and a 12 seed. With this in mind, Gonzaga should have a clear path to the Elite Eight through Arkansas. 

Our only other game in the West Region will be quite the nail-biter, with two seed Duke up against three seed Texas Tech at Chase Center. Texas Tech so far has needed no help in their first two wins, keeping both Montana State and Notre Dame to below 65 points, showing off their strong defense and their ability to score on offense. Duke, on the other hand, is trying to keep Coach Mike K’rzyzewski’s 42nd year Duke career alive. They want his last season at Duke to be one to remember, empowering Duke to blow by Texas Tech and enter the Elite Eight.

Our last region covered is the midwest, where one seed Arizona will take on five seed Houston as they come off a dominant 15 point win over a Kofi Cockburn led Illinois. By managing to keep Illinois under 60 points with a final score of 68-53 with 10 minutes left, Houston showed off their press defense which got them key turnovers where they capitalized and finished strong. Even as a one seed, Arizona still only managed to beat a five seed TCU by five. Just based on this showing against TCU, Arizona does not have what it takes to get through Houston’s defense and Houston will move on to the Elite Eight.

The final game in the Midwest is between 11 seed Michigan and a Connor Gillespe led two seed Villanova that has dominated each game they played. Villanova had a 20 point win in the first round and a 10 point win over a highly-touted Ohio State team. Michigan, as an eleven seed, hasbusted plenty of brackets by beating three seed Tennessee, exceeding everyone’s expectations. Michigan has clawed over each higher-seeded team they faced but the streak will end here as Nova will take their dominant streak to the Elite Eight.