March Madness 2014: Sweet 16 predictions for South, West regions


Here the predictions for day one of the Sweet 16 matchups in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. From here on out, we’ll be getting a smaller amount of games, but much more intriguing games than a week ago.

Mar 23, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Members of the Florida Gators cheer against the Dayton Flyers in the second half of a women

I made rough predictions in the podcast yesterday, but after sweating out for about…well, however long it takes to write this thing, things might be different. Remember, these predictions are made by the same guy who put Ohio State and Wichita State in the national championship. So please, if you’re using real money at Vegas to bet games, fade these picks and don’t look back.

South Region – at Memphis, TN

(11)Dayton (25-10) vs (10)Stanford (23-12) – 6:15 PM CT, CBS

Who’s the real Cinderella of this dance as we enter the second weekend? Honestly, Stanford caught a real break not having to face Joel Embiid when playing Kansas, and so did Eastern Kentucky. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact — Embiid was the anchor of that team’s defense, and Iowa State fans even saw them explode on offense without him. The Flyers seem to thrive on teams that can’t score, they’re 11-0 against teams that score 60 points or less in a game. The Cardinal haven’t needed to score over that much yet in this tournament, but they’ll have to tonight. I don’t think it’ll happen.

Prediction: Dayton 62-57 (Odds: DAY +3, U133)

(4)UCLA (28-8) vs (1)Florida (34-2) – Approx. 8:45 PM CT, CBS

Here’s an interesting nugget: In the god-awful SEC, Florida hasn’t been able to reach 90 points, while UCLA has blown past the 90-point mark in nine games. Offensively, everything is in favor for the Bruins, except defense, which has throttled the Gators’ 28-game winning streak. You know what they say, defense wins champions. UCLA’s 0-3 against Florida in the NCAA tournament, and that 0-for mark will continue.

Prediction: Florida 77-76 (Odds: UCLA +4.5, O138.5)

Mar 26, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Scott Drew (left) instructs in front of guard Allerik Freeman (25, right) during practice for the west regional of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

West Region – at Anaheim, CA

(6)Baylor (26-11)vs (2)Wisconsin (28-7) – 6:47 PM CT, TBS

While my bracket is in ruin with both championship teams knocked off, I did put Baylor as the only Big 12 team to make it to the Final Four. After watching them blow past the competition last week, I’m sticking with it. The Bears are the hottest team in the NCAA tournament, especially on defense. They want teams to hit 3’s. Well, Wisconsin will take those 3’s. That’s how their offense rolls, ranking 27th nationally in 3-point shots made. Honestly, this will be the tougher matchup for Baylor. Unlike Creighton, the Badgers have a very good defense on the perimeter. It’ll be tough, but I like Baylor to advance.

Prediction: Baylor 69-66 (Odds: WISC +3.5, U135.5) (NOTE: Basically, stay away from this thing if you’re at Vegas)

(4)San Diego State (31-4) vs (1)Arizona (32-4) – Approx. 9:17 PM CT, TBS

It’s the best matchup for last. Both teams have split the last four meetings, and last season they had a fantastic championship game in the Diamond Head Classic, where Iowa State won this season. If San Diego State has to rely on Xavier Thames to carry them to another victory, it’s not going to happen. The Aztecs have the defense needed to pull off the win, but they have to play a complete game on offense. I already got the Pac-12 0-2 in this round, so I’ll cut them a break.

Prediction: Arizona 69-62 (Odds: SDSU +8, O121.5)