Well day 1 of the sweet 16 brought some surprises. Apparently Missouri has a good basketball team. And Duke seemed to forget that the round, orange thing is supposed to go into the round metal thing placed 10-feet above the floor with a net hanging from it. But let’s talk about tonight.
Game 1: Arizona vs. Louisville
Louisville hasn’t exactly walked through their first two games, similar to Pitt. However, their defense causes just enough chaos to get by, and I’m sure that will be the case tonight. While Arizona has a future lottery pick in Jordan Hill, the ride for the 12-seeded Wildcats is over. They weren’t supposed to get past the first round (or make the tourney, for that matter), so kudos to them on wearing this year’s glass slipper. The only thing that could get in the way of Louisville’s advancing is their free-throw shooting. Their best player, Terrence Williams, shoots an embarrassing 57% from the charity stripe.
Prediction: Louisville 68, Arizona 59
Game 2: Oklahoma vs. Syracuse
This is tonight’s best game in my opinion. We get to see player of the year Blake Griffin take on a very tough team in Syracuse. I will be cheering for Oklahoma as I really like how Griffin plays the game, but I don’t think they can handle Jonny Flynn and the Orange. The Big East has been impressive thus far, and Syracuse is as good as their conference peers. Something to keep in mind, however, is that Griffin is averaging 30.5 ppg so far in the tourney, and Syracuse won’t have an answer if he starts taking over.
Prediction: Syracuse 76, Oklahoma 72
Game 3: Kansas vs. Michigan St.
It will be fun to watch Sherron Collins vs. Kalin Lucas. Both are very quick point guards, although Collins could easily pound Lucas in a fight. Michigan St. won the teams’ first meeting on Jan 10 by a convincing 13-points, but I think that will change tonight. Cole Aldrich has turned into a serious beast in the paint (remember him handling Hansbrough last year?), and he will be the difference after he posts a solid 20 & 12 tonight.
Prediction: Kansas 63, Michigan St. 56
Game 4: Gonzaga vs. North Carolina
Can Gonzaga take advantage of UNC’s achilles heel? Or, in this case, Ty Lawson’s toe? While Psycho-T gets a lot of attention, it’s clear that Lawson is the one that makes this team tick. I’m cheering for the Zags, but the Tar Heels will advance.
Prediction: UNC 81, Gonzaga 68
In future Division I basketball news, the Hopkins boys team won their semi-final game last night despite their opponent, undefeated St. Cloud Tech, employing a complete stall of the game (no shot clock in MN). Hopkins led at halftime 16-15. They went on to win by about 20.