March Madness – Sweet Sixteen
By Tom Wilbur
Bracket busted? Welcome to the madness folks. March Happens. I told you in the beginning to be wary of Duke and Michigan, but did that stop me from putting both teams in my Sweet 16? Nope. The lesson as always: even when I’m right, I’m wrong.
Although we haven’t a buzzer beater or an overtime thriller yet, this year’s tournament has had plenty of juicy drama. Let’s take a look at the Sweet 16.
Teams no one thought would be here:
Ohio University: Representing the MAC, the Bobcats are one of four teams from Ohio still in the hunt for a national championship, marking the state of Ohio’s greatest collective achievement since Warren G. Harding was elected President.
North Carolina State: Upsetting San Diego State and Georgetown was no easy feat. The Wolfpack are peaking at the perfect time. Expect a shoot-out when they match up with #2 seed Kansas.
Xavier: After an ugly brawl marred the end of their game with Cincinnati earlier in the season, few expected Xavier to recover, much less make a tournament run like this. Fostered by big man Kenny Frease and guard Tu Holloway, Xavier might have the best chance of these teams of advancing to the Elite 8.
Teams who are who we thought they were:
Kentucky: A highly anticipated rematch against Indiana looms, but Kentucky is playing Final Four quality ball, like most people expected. If they can keep getting contributions from players like Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb, Kentucky remains the favorite to capture the ‘chip come April.
Michigan State: They don’t always win easily, the games can be kind of ugly, but Izzo’s squad just gets it done. Expect a horse race against Louisville in a match-up of two great Italian-American coaches.
North Carolina: Losing point guard Kendall Marshall would be a devastating blow to their title chances, but UNC has cruised through the tournament so far, and their road to the Final Four got easierthanks to Ohio.
March Madness has lived up to the hype so far, and now that we are in the Sweet 16, expect the games to be even better as the stakes get even higher. Survive and advance, by any means possible. Nothing is guaranteed this deep into March except that we are that much closer to anointing a new champion of college basketball. All we can do is hope the team we picked is still alive.