NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview


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.

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.
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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