Many Missouri fans have stopped paying attention the the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament after the Tigers’ heartbreaking loss to the Norfolk State Spartans. However, the show still goes on as we enter the Sweet 16.
The teams in the Sweet 16 are Kentucky (number 1 seed), Syracuse (1), North Carolina (1), Michigan State (1), Ohio State (2), Kansas (2), Marquette (3), Baylor (3), Indiana (4), Wisconsin (4), Louisville (4), Cincinnati (6), Florida (7), Xavier (10), North Carolina State (11), and Ohio (13).
A couple things jump out about those 16 teams.
- Kentucky is still the favorite. After dismantling Western Kentucky and Iowa State, the Wildcats look as strong as ever, going into a matchup against Indiana. That game could be great, as Indiana handed Kentucky their only loss of the season on a last second shot earlier in the year.
- The biggest Cinderella story thus far is Ohio, who will play a depleted North Carolina squad. The Tar Heels lost Kendall Marshall, who, with 9.7 assists per game, makes their offense run. The Bobcats could keep their run going if UNC can’t find a suitable replacement.
- Speaking of Ohio, that state is having one heck of a tournament so far, with four teams in the Sweet 16 (Ohio, Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati).
- Look for Syracuse to go down this week. Losing center Fab Melo has been very detrimental, and the Orange are a team that thrives off of forcing turnovers. Too bad for them Wisconsin almost never turns the ball over.
- North Carolina State is a perfect example of why this tournament is so amazing. They were an extreme bubble team, with many not sure if they would even make the tourney. Well, here they are in the Sweet 16, with an opportunity to shock Kansas and face rival UNC in the Elite Eight.
- Marquette-Florida could be one of the most exciting matchups of the postseason. Marquette seems to match up well against a much smaller Florida team, but the Gators can score in bunches, especially when they’re connecting on the long ball. If Norfolk State showed us anything this year, it’s that a team shooting better than their norm from behind the arc can beat anyone. Don’t sleep on Florida.
- Michigan State’s Draymond Green can make a case for tournament Most Outstanding Player so far. Against a tough Saint Louis squad, he recorded just the eighth double-double in the history of the NCAA tournament. He put up 18 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and also added 6 assists and two steals. He’s looked like the most well-rounded player to this point.