Sweet 16 Previews and Predictions


Alex Barrera and Joe Sullivan

           Number 12 seed Oregon State are set to face off against number 8 seed Loyola Chicago on Saturday in the sweet 16 round of the March Madness tournament. 

           Loyola Chicago is on a hot streak so far in the tournament. They knocked out both the 9 seeded Georgia Tech in the first round and number one seeded Illinois in an upset win in the second round. The Ramblers will be entering the match up in high spirits following their win over Illinois on Sunday.

           Loyola’s suffocating defense is going to be too much for Oregon to handle. The Ramblers held an impressive Illinois offense to only 0.88 points per possession. Loyola shut down the all american Illini guard by shutting down open spaces and leaving no room to penetrate into the paint. 

The other game for the Midwest region is not going to be as close of a matchup. I foresee two seeded Houston blowing Syracuse out of the water. 

Moving onto the East region where we will have a battle down low as Michigan will take on Florida State. The one seeded Wolverines are the only big ten team left in the tournament after getting past a tough LSU team in the round of 32, and 2nd year coach Juwan Howard will try and lead his team to Michigan’s 3rd final four in a decade. 

           As for Florida State they are full of talent and athleticism. The Seminoles will have to give Hunter Dickinson a lot of trouble if they want to take down Michigan and I think the big men led by Koprivica have the opportunity to do that. It’ll be a close one but I got the Seminoles getting the job done and moving onto the elite 8.

           The next matchup in the East region is a good one between UCLA and Alabama. UCLA will stay hot after making the sweet 16 all the way from their play in game against Michigan State. I expect Juzang and Tyger Campbell to come out firing for the Bruins in this one. 

           The 2 seeded Crimson Tide will be led by Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly and John Petty. The Bruins will keep this one close in the first half but Bama will pull away in the second to move on.

In the West region it all starts with a big matchup between the Creighton Bluejays and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Zags came into this tournament with the highest odds to win the national championship and they’re slowly making it there. 

            The trio of Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme has looked unstoppable lately. The Bluejays will have to rely on one of the best three point shooting backcourts in the country with Marcus Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock. The Zags will take over this one and will win this one by double digits to continue their journey to the natty. 

            The second West matchup is probably my favorite of the sweet 16 between the Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans. These two teams have looked great after their huge wins blowing out Iowa and Kansas. Oregon is a very solid ball club and will expect a big game from Chris Duarte. 

            The Trojans however, will be led by Isaiah Mobley and his brother Evan Mobley who will most likely be a lottery pick next November. The Ducks will put up a big fight but the size and strength of the Trojans will lead them to another tournament win.

            Last but definitely not least we have the two games from the South. It all starts with Villanova vs Baylor. 

            The Bearcats have been nothing but superb this season with player of the year candidate Jared Butler leading them to a number one seed. But we all know what coach Jay Wright and Villanova can do in the postseason. 


           Even without Conor Gillespie, the Wildcats have shown resilience handling their first two matchups of the tourney against Winthrop and North Texas. The Baylor Bears are just a different beast, and although this might be a close one, Butler and Bears will move on to the elite eight.


          Our last matchup in the South is an interesting one to say the least between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. Oral Roberts has been the Cinderella story this March with two big wins against Ohio State and Florida. 


          The leading scorer in the country Max Abmas and partner in crime Kevin Obanor have been phenomenal this season. The Razorbacks however are led by freshman phenom Moses Moody and Indiana transfer Justin Smith.


          I’m expecting Abmas and Obanor to do exactly what they’ve done all season, dominating down low and beyond the arc. That will keep the Golden Eagles in the game but the Razorbacks have won 11 of their last 12 games and they’ll add another win tonight in a tight one.