It’s the second day of the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, and the Iowa State Cyclones will be taking on the Connecticut Huskies in New York City for a chance to advance to Sunday’s regional final. Let’s take a look at some of the other action around the tournament.
Yesterday, Clones Confidential went 3-1, missing on the Baylor pick badly. Wisconsin absolutely shut down anything the Bears wanted to do on offense, and the Badgers’ 3-point shooting was on point all night long. They easily move into the Elite 8. Now, who else will be joining them?
Midwest Region – at Indianapolis, IN
(11)Tennessee vs (2)Michigan – 6:15 PM CT, CBS
Has it just been an easy road for the Volunteers? Iowa could have been their toughest task, blowing past both UMass and Mercer as they reach the Sweet 16. I don’t buy it. While the Vols looked like a trainwreck in that first half against the Hawkeyes, they’ve rebounded quite well since. Jarnell Stokes is playing red-hot at the right time, averaging 20.3 points, 15 rebounds, and 56.2 percent from the field — but the guy’s been good all season, chalking up 21 double-doubles this year. Tennessee has the clear edge in rebounding, and as long as they control the boards, I like them to pull off a huge upset and advance.
Prediction: Tennessee 78-73 (Odds: TENN +2.5, O136.5)
(8)Kentucky vs (4)Louisville – Approx. 8:45 PM CT, CBS
Probably the most anticipated matchup nationally tonight. This rivalry has met in the NCAA tournament before, as soon as a few seasons ago that saw Kentucky win en route to a championship in the final four against Louisville. The Wildcats are flying high going 4-1 in their last five games, turning around a season that was heading south fast with losses to two of the worst SEC teams (remember, we’re talking SEC’s worst, which is really awful). The Cardinals have to be happy just to be around after turning the ball over 19 times and missing a boatload of free throws in the previous game against St. Louis. There’s been something off about Kentucky all season, the stats look a little padded (like Tennessee’s defense) with them being in the SEC, but I think Louisville’s ability to move the ball around more (averaging 4.1 more assists than the Wildcats) will give them the slight edge.
Prediction: Louisville 78-75 (Odds: KEN +4.5, O139)
East Region – at New York, NY
(7)Connecticut (28-8) vs (3)Iowa State (28-7) – 6:27 PM CT, TBS
Prediction is in our full preview of this game.
(4)Michigan State (28-8) vs (1)Virginia (30-6) – Approx. 8:57 PM CT, TBS
Both teams are coming into this one on five game winning streaks, pulling through in their conference championships. The Cavaliers thrive off their defense, and while the offense isn’t statistically great, it’s efficient. Virginia holds team to 55.5 points, 10 assists, and 29.3 rebounds per game, as well as 38.6 percent shooting from the field. The Wahoos have all the potential to turn this game into a Wisconsin domination over Baylor. But as we see every year, the Spartans are playing just like they should be during playoff time. Every bone in my body wants to pick the Spartans, meaning that the Cavaliers will be the third and final one seed to move on.
Prediction: Virginia 63-62 (Odds: UVA +2, U128.5)
All games available online on NCAA March Madness Live, available online here or at the Apple Appstore/Google Play on your mobile device. Games on CBS are free everywhere, but games on TBS require you to sign in to a cable or satellite provider.