Sweet Sixteen | Milad Ghaemi
The Sweet Sixteen is here for College Basketball, not only a key game for the people whose brackets are on the line, but an opportunity for a chance to enter the Elite Eight. Games will be played on Thursday and Friday night with only three teams that are not in the top three seeds. Below is a preview of the Elite Eight Matchups for Thursday and Friday.
(1) Gonzaga vs. (4) Florida State:
Gonzaga has had a nearly flawless run in the tournament with seasoned veterans Rui Hachimura, Josh Perkins, Brandon Clarke, and Killian Tillie leading the way for the Bulldogs. On the other hand, Florida State brings strong depth with multiple 7-footers or near 7-footers in the starting lineup and off the bench. Mfiondu Kabengele and Christ Koumadje could give the Bulldogs problems. On the other hand, if Gonzaga gets the big men on Florida State in foul trouble Hachimura and company may run away with this game early.
(3) Purdue vs. (2) Tennessee:
Tennessee survived a strong surge from (10) Iowa in their Round of 32 matchup after compiling a strong 25 point lead at halftime. Led by the Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone the Volunteers will be the more talented team in this Sweet 16 Matchup, but as shown by their last matchup if their stars get into foul trouble anything can happen. For Purdue, Carsen Edwards has been the crucial catalyst for their run into the Sweet 16 even when many experts predicted Villanova to pull off the upset. Matt Haarms provides great length for the Boilermakers who look to pull off a great upset against the highly touted Tennessee Volunteers.
(3) Texas Tech vs. (2) Michigan:
The Michigan Wolverines have fixed their shooting woes from previous losses to have strong performances and new found depth on the roster. Isaiah Livers, the former Mr. Michigan Basketball Player of the Year, will provide great depth off the bench, as seasoned Guard Zavier Simpson has keeps the entire offense involved which features lethal shooters in Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis. The Wolverines also have great length with 7-footer Jon Teske. For the Red Raiders, Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti lead the lethal offense charge that has catapulted this 3-seed into the Elite Eight.
(14) Oregon vs. (1) Virginia:
After falling to the Number 16 seed in the last run in the Tournament, Virginia has played with a chip on their shoulder beating all the opponents put into their path. Virginia is led by Coach Tony Bennett and are trying to make a run towards the Final Four. Mamadi Diakite has been all over the rebounds for this Virginia team and the tall forward provides great length and defensive prowess for the Cavaliers. De’Andre Hunter and Kyle guy also provide strong backcourt leadership heading into this tough matchup. The Ducks of Oregon defeated Wisconsin and then held off the challenging Anteaters of UC Irvine showing their loss of Bol Bol has not strongly affected their team. Payton Pritchard has led the Ducks with great three-point shooting and if he catches fire again the Ducks may be headed to the Elite Eight.