The first two rounds definitely showed us why this time of the year is called “March Madness”. We had everything from no name schools beating big favorites to heartbreaking buzzer beaters. Our bracket is still looking pretty good, but we’re going to give you our sweet 16 predictions. First let’s recap the wild first weekend.
First Round Upsets
#15 Middle Tennessee State Vs #2 Michigan State
Every year when you fill out your bracket you always know there’s going to be that one team that ruins everyone’s bracket. This year that team was Middle Tennessee State. A lot of people not only had Michigan State to win this game but had to win the entire tournament. Unfortunately, Middle Tennessee ended up losing their 2nd round game to Syracuse, but they still claim the biggest upset of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
#14 Stephen F. Austin VS #3 West Virginia
Stephen F. Austin came into the tournament with one of the nation’s longest winning streaks, but they weren’t expected to defeat West Virginia. Not only did they defeat West Virginia, but they did it pretty easily. Unfortunately for them, they also lost their 2nd round game.
#12 Yale Vs #5 Baylor
Believe it or not, Yale made the tournament based off of their athleticism, not their academics. We were never too sold on Baylor to do much in the tournament, but a lot of people had high expectations for them. Yale came out and outplayed Baylor and earned their first ever NCAA Tournament win. Just like the other two major upsets though, Yale lost in the 2nd round.
Most Exciting Finish
Northern Iowa Vs Texas
Northern Iowa and Texas kept trading leads throughout the entire night. In the final seconds Texas tied the game and thought they were going into overtime…..then this happened….
Sweet 16 Predictions
Miami Fl. Vs Villanova
Villanova and Miami have both looked good in the tournament thus far. This should be a very competitive game and could come down to free throws. Villanova was the country’s #1 team at one point this season, but they never impressed me that much, and still don’t. Miami plays very competitive basketball and I expect them to pull off the upset.
The Winner: Miami Fl.
Texas A&M Vs Oklahoma
Texas A&M is lucky to even still be in the tournament. They overcame a 12 point deficit in the final 30 seconds vs Northern Iowa to survive. Oklahoma has been in two close game until the final minutes when the best player in the country, Buddy Hield, starts to take over. As long as Buddy Hield is on the court, expect Oklahoma to keep winning.
The Winner: Oklahoma
Maryland Vs Kansas
Maryland has a very good team and they’ll give Kansas a good game, but plain and simple, Kansas isn’t going home yet. Kansas was and still is the best team in the country and you can expect to see them in the final four.
The Winner: Kansas
Duke Vs Oregon
Oregon got a #1 seed in the tournament, but did they deserve it? Probably not. But it has worked out for them and that’s why we’re seeing them in the sweet 16. Duke had a very rough season and at one point this season wasn’t even ranked. Like every team with a great couch though, they start to win when it matters most. I expect Duke to end Oregon’s big season in Anaheim.
The Winner: Duke
Iowa State Vs Virginia
Iowa State is a good team, but they aren’t really that dangerous. They basically depend on their star player, George Niang, and when he isn’t doing well, the team doesn’t do well. Virginia on the other hand plays aggressive team basketball. They don’t depend on one single player as they have many individuals who could hurt you. They also have arguably the best defense in the country. Expect Virginia to see another game and probably end up in the final four.
The Winner: Virginia
Wisconsin Vs Notre Dame
Wisconsin, such as Duke and Syracuse, didn’t have that impressive of a season, but are beginning to play good basketball when it matters most. It’s just what good programs do. Keep in mind Wisconsin was in the championship last year and are hungry to return. Notre Dame is a solid team but aren’t as good as their teams over the past couple seasons. Wisconsin will continue their run to at least the elite 8.
The Winner: Wisconsin
Gonzaga Vs Syracuse
Gonzaga had high expectations going into the season, but didn’t meet them. They play in a very mediocre conference and entered the tournament with an 11 seed. They’ve won their first two games, but it’s been against Seton Hall and Utah. Nothing against those teams, but they aren’t anything to brag about.
Syracuse also hasn’t done much better as they’ve only beaten Dayton and Middle Tennessee State. However, Syracuse played in a more difficult conference than Gonzaga and also plays good defense. I expect Syracuse to win this game and get to the Elite 8, but I don’t see them getting past the next round.
The Winner: Syracuse
Indiana Vs North Carolina
Indiana defeated Kentucky last round who I thought had a chance to be a dark horse. North Carolina has been nothing short of spectacular thus far. They’ve won both their games easily, and although I don’t expect them to blow out Indiana, I do expect them to win easily. North Carolina is a complete team and as you saw in our bracket from above, we expect them to be the last team standing. We still stand by that.