Sweet 16: Take your pick

By Jordan Cannava

Brigham Young University players are set to give it their best shot tonight. (photo courtesy The Daily Sports Herald)

This year’s March Madness has been an upset tournament; there are more double-digit seeds in the sweet 16 than I can remember.
The 2011 Sweet 16 tournament starts off tonight at 7:15 ET in Anaheim, with the University of Connecticut vs. San Diego State. Even though Connecticut won the Big East Tournament, I feel that San Diego State is going to be too much of a presence down low for the Huskies. That’s why I have San Diego State winning this game 76-71.
The second game, the University of Florida vs. Brigham Young University, is set to be played in New Orleans tonight at 7:27 ET. This should be another very good game, but I feel that BYU will overcome Florida’s big-man presence and move on to the Elite 8. One reason for this feeling is that BYU has the best point guard in all of college basketball, Jimmer Fredette. So I have BYU winning this game 86-78.
Tonight’s third game features Duke University vs. the University of Arizona, at 9:45 ET in Anaheim. For this one, I am going to have to go with the better coach – Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. With over 860 wins, Coach K has more wins than any active coach in college basketball, and is fast approaching the all-time win record of 902 held by his mentor, Bobby Knight. That’s why I have Duke beating Arizona 79-75.
The last game scheduled for tonight has the University of Wisconsin vs. Butler University at 9:57 ET in New Orleans. These two teams match up very well. Butler has a great coach and made it to the championship game last year, losing to Duke with two seconds left. Wisconsin, on the other hand, plays amazing defense and just wears their opponents down. That’s why I feel Wisconsin will win a low-scoring defensive battle, 69-64.
The first game of Day 2 of the Sweet 16 is Marquette University vs. the University of North Carolina, in Newark at 7:15 p.m. ET on March 25. These two teams have been playing very well in the tournament; not many teams expected 11-seed Marquette to get this far. Even though I feel that North Carolina has the better coach and better team, I feel that Marquette will pull this one off because of their fast-paced team. The final score will be 82-81.
In the second game, the No. 1 University of Kansas will play the No. 12 University of Richmond at 7:27 p.m. ET on March 25 in San Antonio. I feel that Kansas has one thing on their mind, and that is making up for their awful performance in this tournament last year. Focused on winning the whole thing, Kansas will blow out Richmond 79-54.
The third game, Ohio State University vs. the University of Kentucky, is likely to be the most-watched (at 9:45 p.m. ET). These are two very high seeds and two well-coached basketball teams. Ohio State has an amazing freshman in Jared Sullinger and also the best three-point shooter in Jon Diebler. Kentucky has one of the best coaches ever in John Calipari. But I feel that Jon and Jared will bring Ohio State to victory, 83-76.
Wrapping up the Sweet 16 will be Florida State University vs. Virginia Commonwealth University, played in San Antonio at 9:57 p.m. ET. This was a hard game to pick. These two teams haven’t really been to the Sweet 16 in a long time – well, for VCU, ever. So I had to go with Florida State for that reason; they have been here before and VCU hasn’t. The score of this game will be 73-68. You can watch the games on CBS. Also, let me know what you think of my picks; post while the games are going on, or afterward.