NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

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As any hoops fan knows, we are in the best time of the year. It’s Sweet 16/Elite 8 weekend. It’s when the Cinderella’s slipper falls off, or when Cinderella makes it to the ball. It’s when we find out what team can handle the pressure, and what teams combust. It’s a werewolf bar mitzvah. There will be a little comparison and prediction for Butler v. Syracuse, Xavier v. Kansas State, West Virginia v. Washington and Kentucky v. Cornell.

West
7:07 PM
1 Syracuse v. 5 Butler

1 Syracuse Orange 30-4

How they got here: At large (Big East Regular Season Champions) 
Round 1- 79-56 over Vermont
Round 2- 87-65 over Gonzaga 

Best Players: Wesley Johnson 16.5-8.5-2.3 assists-1.7 steals-1.9 blocks Andy Rautins 12-5 assists-2 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 7/16
5 Butler Bulldogs 28-6
How they got here: Horizon League Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 77-59 over UTEP
Round 2- 54-52 over Murray State
Best Players: Gordon Hayward 15.2-8.3 Shelvin Mack 14.1-3.6-3.1 assists-1.3 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 49/10
Prediction: Ken Pom has Syracuse by 4, with the Orange winning 67% of the time. I really love Butler, but I don’t think that they have the fire power to topple the Orange. 71-62 Syracuse. 
9:37 PM (Estimated) 30 minutes after game 1
2 Kansas State v. 7 Xavier
2 Kansas State Wildcats 28-7
How they got here: At large (Big 12 2nd Place)
Round 1- 82-62 over North Texas
Round 2- 84-72 over Brigham Young
Best Players: Jacob Pullen 19.2-3.5 assists-1.7 steals Denis Clemente 16.3-4.2 assists
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 14/12
6 Xavier Musketeers 26-8
How they got here: At large (A-10 2nd Place)
Round 1- 65-54 over Minnesota
Round 2- 71-68 over Pittsburgh 
Best Players: Jordan Crawford 20.2-4.8-2.9 assists Jason Love 11.8-8.5-1.5 blocks
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 17/34
Prediction: Ken Pom has KSU by 3, winning 61% of the time. These foes matched up in December in a kinda boring brick and free throw fest. I think that Kansas State has the guns to beat X, but I’m going with the Muskies in an upset. I’m thinking 78-74 Xavier.
East
7:27 PM
2 West Virginia v. 11 Washington
2 West Virginia Mountaineers 29-6

How they got here: Big East Tournament Champions
Round 1- 77-50 over Morgan State
Round 2- 68-59 over Missouri 
Best Players: Da’Sean Butler 17.5-6.2-3.3 assists Kevin Jones 13.6-7.2
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 12/23

11 Washington Huskies 26-9

How they got here: Pac 10 Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 80-78 over Marquette
Round 2- 82-64 over New Mexico
Best Players: Quincy Pondexter 19.7-7.5 Isaiah Thomas 17.1-4-3.1 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 25/36

Prediction: Ken Pom has WVU by 4, winning 66% of the time. West Virginia is missing point guard Truck Bryant, who is out with a broken foot. Who knows how much this is going to hurt Bob Huggins’ squad. I think that it won’t very much in this game. Washington played their best game of the tournament against New Mexico. Prediction: West Virginia 75-63

9:57 PM (Estimated) 30 minutes after game 1
1 Kentucky v. 12 Cornell

1 Kentucky Wildcats 34-2

How they got here: SEC Tournament Champions
Round 1- 100-71 over East Tennessee State
Round 2- 90-60 over Wake Forest 
Best Players: John Wall 16.8-4.1-6.5 assists DeMarcus Cousins 15.1-10-1.9 blocks 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 10/9

12 Cornell Big Red 29-4

How they got here: Ivy League Champions
Round 1- 78-65 over Temple
Round 2- 87-69 over Wisconsin
Best Players: Ryan Wittman 17.8-4 Louis Dale 12.6-4.8 assists-1.3 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 9/132

Prediction: Ken Pom has Kentucky by 9, with an 80% win probability. Cornell moved up 19 spots in offensive rank with their extraordinary dissection of Temple and Wisconsin. I joked on twitter that Cornell would shoot 8%, and blow it against Kentucky, but I think they can hang tough. I think that they do, but Kentucky pulls away late. I think tonight, we’re all preppy, douche bag Cornell fans. Prediction: Kentucky 70-60

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