Sweet 16 Set, Brackets Shattered Abroad
Most of us knew going into the weekend that Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and North Carolina would escape the opening weekend of tournament action with W's heading to regional semifinals. However, it was a Virginia Commonwealth team that stole the glass slipper this weekend, winning their play-in game over Southern Cal, routing a Georgetown team ranked virtually all year long, then routing a Purdue team that should have easily skated to the Elite 8.
Jimmermania continues to roll along as the Cougars managed to escape an upstart Wofford team, then blow out the Zags behind Fredette's hard fought 34. With the BYU team now up against Florida, I wonder if Jimmer will pull off a 70 point game against the same Florida team they beat nearly a year ago to the date 99-92. Should be a very interesting game.
Butler once again has found its way back to the Sweet 16 by squeaking out a one point thriller against my finals-predicted team, the Panthers. Going up against an unpredictable Wisconsin team this weekend, I would look for Butler to hit the Elite 8 in grand fashion before meeting the Cougars, who will put up a century behind Jimmer's 60. Just saying.
Aside from the Kansas-Richmond game that looks to be a drubbing due to a size miss match, the remainder of the games look to be actually really exciting, with Connecticut/San Diego State and Ohio State/Kentucky probably having the two closest matched offensive and defensive teams on both ends of the floor. Although Arizona did play great ball this weekend, Duke's deep tournament and coaching experience should be the deciding factor that pushes the Blue Devils along to Round 8.
North Carolina came out looking strong and has Roy Williams into the Sweet 16 against an Eagles team that impressed me with wins over the Musketeers and Orange. Thanks, Marquette. My bracket was shattered over the Syracuse game. None the less, look for the 'Heels to escape a close one over Marquette and run head first into your national champion this year, the Buckeyes. A loose prediction, indeed. However, I feel that Ohio State is playing the best all-around ball right now, having a team in total syncopation.
Jimmermania gets another weekend. Hold on to your hats, fans. The Sweet 16 this year is, in my humble opinion, one of the sweetest in my era.