NCAA Basketball March Madness

2014 NCAA Tournament: Predictions for Every Sweet 16 Game

2014 NCAA Tournament: Predicting Winner of Every Sweet 16 Game

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
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The 2014 NCAA Tournament has been wild and an absolute thrill to watch, even if it hasn’t been kind to the elite NBA prospects. In the Round of 64 I went 26-6 with predictions, but slowed in the Round of 32 as I went just 11-5 with my predictions. With the Sweet 16 full of potential Cinderellas and quite a bit of uncertainty, here are my predictions for the games, plus two bold predictions to finish things off.

South Region: No. 1 Florida Over No. 4 UCLA

South Region: No. 1 Florida Over No. 4 UCLA
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South Region: No. 1 Florida Over No. 4 UCLA

South Region: No. 1 Florida Over No. 4 UCLA
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UCLA has been overlooked but impressive thus far in the tournament, advancing easily through both rounds. However, Florida’s defense is a monster they haven’t seen all season. I don’t think the Bruins have enough in the tank to get the job done against the Gators and escape with a victory. The number one overall seed should be bound for the Elite Eight.

South Region: No. 11 Dayton Over No. 10 Stanford

South Region: No. 11 Dayton Over No. 10 Stanford
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South Region: No. 11 Dayton Over No. 10 Stanford

South Region: No. 11 Dayton Over No. 10 Stanford
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Dayton has taken down two big-time opponents to get to this point, knocking off Ohio State and Syracuse. Meanwhile Stanford beat an inconsistent New Mexico squad and a short-handed Kansas team. Though I worry that the Flyers might not rise to the occasion against the Cardinal, I think they’re too balanced and playing too well right now to be stifled just yet.

East Region: No. 4 Michigan State Over No. 1 Virginia

East Region: No. 4 Michigan State Over No. 1 Virginia
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East Region: No. 4 Michigan State Over No. 1 Virginia

East Region: No. 4 Michigan State Over No. 1 Virginia
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Virginia’s defense has looked every bit like the nation’s best thus far. Contrarily, Michigan State’s offense has been performing at an unreal level. While traditional logic dictates that you take the defense in a matchup between the two opposing strengths, I don’t think the Cavaliers have the athletes throughout their roster to keep up with the Spartans.

East Region: No. 7 Connecticut Over No. 3 Iowa State

East Region: No. 7 Connecticut Over No. 3 Iowa State
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East Region: No. 7 Connecticut Over No. 3 Iowa State

East Region: No. 7 Connecticut Over No. 3 Iowa State
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I’ve seen this story before. UConn point guard catches fire and carries his team. First it was Kemba Walker and now it’s Shabazz Napier. While Iowa State is vulnerable on the interior without Georges Niang, they also can be beaten on the perimeter, as North Carolina showed with Marcus Paige and Leslie McDonald. I have to ride the hot-hand and take Napier and the Huskies.

West Region: No. 1 Arizona Over No. 4 San Diego State

West Region: No. 1 Arizona Over No. 4 San Diego State
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West Region: No. 1 Arizona Over No. 4 San Diego State

West Region: No. 1 Arizona Over No. 4 San Diego State
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After a shaky Round of 64 performance, Arizona got things rolling against Gonzaga. While San Diego State’s defense has been suffocating in their first two games, I’m not sure it can contain the athleticism of the Wildcats. Given that and the fact that the Aztecs have trouble scoring more often than not, Arizona should roll pretty easily here.

West Region: No. 6 Baylor Over No. 2 Wisconsin

West Region: No. 6 Baylor Over No. 2 Wisconsin
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West Region: No. 6 Baylor Over No. 2 Wisconsin

West Region: No. 6 Baylor Over No. 2 Wisconsin
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This Wisconsin team is fantastic at controlling pace and at filling it up from the perimeter. However, Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin have been playing phenomenal defense for Baylor thus far and could really cause problems for Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker with their length. I think the Bears have enough weapons to keep riding high and take this one home.

Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville Over No. 8 Kentucky

Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville Over No. 8 Kentucky
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Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville Over No. 8 Kentucky

Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville Over No. 8 Kentucky
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There’s nothing better than a rivalry game in the tournament and that’s what we get here. Kentucky seems to be finally playing up to their potential while Louisville has yet to play to the best of their abilities. Given the magnitude of this contest and the rivalry aspect, expect a close one here. In a close one, though, I give the edge to the defending National Champions.

Midwest Region: No. 2 Michigan Over No. 11 Tennessee

Midwest Region: No. 2 Michigan Over No. 11 Tennessee
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Midwest Region: No. 2 Michigan Over No. 11 Tennessee

Midwest Region: No. 2 Michigan Over No. 11 Tennessee
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Tennessee has looked far better than an 11-seed in this tournament thus far while Michigan has been steadily rolling. The Volunteers could cause problems for the Wolverines on the interior with Jarnell Stokes, but the backcourt of Michigan is just so lethal. This one could be closer than you might expect, but Michigan should keep on advancing.

Baylor’s Brady Heslip Will Score 25+, Hit Six or More Threes

Baylor’s Brady Heslip Will Score 25+, Hit Six or More Threes
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Baylor’s Brady Heslip Will Score 25+, Hit Six or More Threes

Baylor’s Brady Heslip Will Score 25+, Hit Six or More Threes
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As Baylor takes on the Wisconsin, the Badgers are more than likely going to be looking to slow the pace a bit and operate in the halfcourt. While that could mean the Bears will look to Jefferson and Austin more often, I think that opens up Brady Heslip for a big game on the perimeter. His season-high for points is 24 and he’s hit six or more threes on four occasions this year, but I say he goes off in this contest.

Virginia’s Defense Will Surrender At Least 75 Points

Virginia’s Defense Will Surrender At Least 75 Points
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Virginia’s Defense Will Surrender At Least 75 Points

Virginia’s Defense Will Surrender At Least 75 Points
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The Cavaliers’ defense has been the stingiest in the country this season, allowing just 55.5 points per game. In fact, they’ve surrendered more than 65 points just seven times in 36 games this season. However, the Spartans’ offense has been unreal thus far in the tournament, putting up 93 and 80 points in their first two games respectively. I don’t think UVA can contain them completely.