2018 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 Picks and Predictions
March Madness continues this weekend with the Sweet Sixteen, and we finally find out who will head to San Antonio to compete for the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Let’s look at who will win each region and become a member of the 2018 Final Four.
The South has provided the greatest amount of madness so far with historic upsets, and at least one Cinderella will still be dancing in the Elite 8 because 11 seed Loyola Chicago and Nevada face off Thursday night. I would not risk my hard-earned money by betting on either team but would love to see Sister Jean and the Ramblers keep dancing.
Unfortunately for the aforementioned teams, it does not matter who wins because the Kentucky Wildcats will be waiting after they easily defeat Kansas State in the round of 16. Kentucky is yet again peaking at the right time after rolling Buffalo by 20 in the 2nd round.
Pick: Kentucky easily rolls to the Final Four, and they are the team that is the most likely to punch their ticket to the Final Four of any of the remaining 16 teams.
In the Gonzaga vs. Florida State matchup, Florida State has more athleticism and players likely to be found on NBA teams in the future. However, as we have seen repeatedly throughout the tournament, good coaching and experience has prevailed, making Gonzaga the safer pick to move to the round of 8.
The other game is almost an exact replica with a veteran Michigan team going head-to-head with a talent-laden Texas A&M squad. Before the tournament started, Michigan was my pick to win the West, but after seeing TAMU dismantle UNC I am no longer confident in the Wolverines.
Pick: Gonzaga has the experience and they are my tentative pick despite having the least talented roster of the four teams. Texas A&M paying 25:1 to win it all in the future’s betting market is definitely worth a shot as well.
West Virginia plays a unique, frenetic zone that wreaks havoc against most teams that they play. However, Villanova has had close to a week to prepare, a veteran team, a championship winning coach, and the distinct talent advantage. The Cats are the pick here.
Purdue relies on outstanding three-point shooting and the physical presence of their twin towers inside, but Isaac Haas figures to be limited if he can even play at all. Texas Tech is overly dependent upon Keenan Evans on the offensive side of the ball, so the outcome of the game will come down to if Tech can guard the three-point line better than Purdue can slow down Evans. Look for Tech to grind out a physical win.
Pick: Villanova is clearly the best team and should be able to get to yet another Final Four.
College coaching legends Coach K and Jim Boeheim face off yet again in a big-time showdown. Unfortunately for Syracuse fans, Duke’s team has had time to get ready for the zone and has a massive talent advantage. Duke wins going away in a one-sided affair.
Auburn has to be thanking the basketball gods that Xavier and Cincinnati collapsed in dramatic fashion because nobody was paying attention to the fact that Clemson absolutely embarrassed them by winning by 31 points in the second round. Clemson now faces a much tougher task in #1 seed Kansas, who is expected to win.
Pick: Much to the chagrin of the Duke haters, the Blue Devils get through the region and play for a chance to win another title under Coach K.
The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament saw plenty of Cinderella stories and magical wins by underdogs. With time to prepare, the blue blood programs will take care of the upstarts in the Sweet Sixteen resulting in a Final Four of Kentucky, Gonzaga, Villanova, and Duke. (But don’t forget to take a shot on Texas A&M at 25:1 to win the championship.) Make sure you check out our US sports betting sites for all the best odds!