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Sweet 16

Posted on March 23rd, 2010

Now that the dust has temporarily settled on the NCAA Tournament, let’s take a look at the Sweet 16 picture.

My bracket is currently on top, although I did have Kansas winning it all. But I picked Cornell and Mizzou to get to round 2, so those and a few other minor upsets have me in good position for the time being. Now if we can just get passed the pictures of KU players with their hands on their heads…

3 of the best four teams left in the tournament in my opinion play on Thursday, and the only game where I can see an upset happening is is Washington vs. West Virginia. The No. 2 seed struggled with Mizzou until the end (don’t let the final score fool you), and Washington plays better defense. If we’ve learned one thing through the first two rounds, parity and confidence can be a dangerous combination for the favorite. WV will get a 10-point line probably, and I’m betting against them covering.

Butler’s the highest-seeded “underdog” of the Thursday group, taking it’s No. 5 seed status to Syracuse. Syracuse has proved me wrong so far, I thought they’d be the first giant to fall, and they’re quickly making believers out of a lot of people. Everything’s clicking for them at the right time. They’ll be an 8-point favorite, and I like them to cover and keep rolling.

And the little college that could – Cornell. A win over overrated Temple wasn’t a huge shock, but the drudging ofWisconsin has that C tag (for Cinderella, not Cornell) written all over it. Unfortunately, not only will midnight strike, but so will the 7 a.m. hangover against Kentucky, the best team left in the tournament. I wouldn’t bet the line, since Kentucky is likely to earn a huge margin there, but I’d feel comfortable picking Kentucky to move on to the Elite 8. Barring a complete collapse on their part, it’s the end of the line for Cornell.

And one game on Friday, Purdue takes on Duke. Remember Duke? We haven’t heard much about them this tournament, which miight just be exactly what they need to finally get over the hump and live up to their potential this year. Seriously, I haven’t heard the media talk about Duke once. Duke destroyed its first opponent and handled its second, and its the defense that’s been shining for the Blue Devils. In the win over California, they had 3 guys in double digits in scoring, but 5 total blocks and they outrebounded Calif. 34-29. Against Purdue, they’ll keep the pressure going on both sides of the court, and cover the 5-6 point edge they’re likely to receive.