The Sweet 16 kicks off tonight, with a batch of four games that should all be compelling. So let’s take a look at the four games:
1. Butler vs. Wisconsin: Here we go again. A year removed from a surprising National Championship Game appearance, the Butler Bulldogs are a Cinderella story again. They upset the top-seeded Pitt Panthers in the second round (Really, who hasn’t at this point?) but will need some more help for Shelvin Mack, who probably won’t go 7-of-12 from three-point range again.
Wisconsin held off Kansas State last round and can shake their postseason demons with a solid win here. But star guard Jordan Taylor better not pull another 2-for-16 from the floor, or the Badgers will be in trouble.
2. San Diego State vs. Connecticut— Kemba Walker is absurdly good. That’s really all you need to know at this point for UConn. After his record-setting performance in the Big East Tournament, Walker dropped 33 on Cincinnati in the 2nd round. He’s on fire, and the Huskies are going to ride him all the way.
The Aztecs are more balanced; in their double overtime victory vs. Temple in the second round, five players scored at least nine points. Hopefully the players got some rest, after some played all 50 minutes.
3. Duke vs. Arizona— Try as they might, the Blue Devils couldn’t give one away against Michigan, and the jury is still out on Kyrie Irving’s effectiveness. But Duke is still heavily dependent on the three-pointer, (they went 5-20 from three against the Wolverines) so it’s likely going to be about perimeter shooting.
The Wildcats squeezed by Texas thanks to some strangely played (and officiated) final possessions, but they’re still alive. Jordin Mayes was a major spark in the last game, hitting four three-pointers and scoring 16 points off the bench. They’ll need him hot again to pull off the upset.
4. BYU vs. Florida— It’s all about Jimmer for the Cougars, who have thus far survived the loss of Brandon Davies. Jimmer Fredette scored 32 and 34 points in the Cougars wins. ‘Nuff said.
The Gators got past UCLA thanks to 21 points from Erving Walker, but have yet to be truly tested so far in the tournament. But, as they say, this isn’t Billy Donovan’s first rodeo. He’ll have the Gators prepared for this one