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Thursday’s 2019 Sweet Sixteen Predictions

Time to get back at it!

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North Dakota State v Duke
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22: A view of the March Madness logo prior to the game between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Dakota State Bison during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Thursday is upon us which means that tournament play resumes. And there are some really interesting games on tap so let’s get to it.

7:09 - Florida State and Gonzaga kick things off with a rematch from last year (FSU won 75-60).

This is a really fun matchup because both teams are going to get at it. Blink and you might miss it.

There is a rather significant emotional complication though as Florida State’s Phil Cofer has left the team to be with his family after the death of his father. Leonard Hamilton has put together a very tight team and they’re likely to come out swinging for Cofer and his family. We’ll go with FSU in an upset here. And by the way if you haven’t dropped by the Cofer fundraiser, there’s still time.

7:29 - Is it us or is Tennessee riding for a fall? They’ve pushed their luck so far. We’ve been looking to a UT-UVA matchup but getting past Purdue won’t be easy.

On the other hand, this is still an experienced and resolute team and Purdue has history of falling short under Matt Painter. So we’ll stick with the Vols here, but if Purdue won it wouldn’t surprise us.

9:39 - Texas Tech and Michigan should be an absolute treasure for people who appreciate good defense. These teams are both great defensively. We’ll go with the Red Raiders here because we have immense respect for Chris Beard’s talent. He’s emerged quickly as one of the best in the country, period. John Beilein is masterful himself but we don't think this is his year.

9:57 - Oregon vs. Virginia. The thing about UVA is that even if you’ve played them often it’s still hard to get a grip on the Pack Line. So you can see a really, really good team like UNC just run into quicksand. One of the highlights of watching Rick Pitino’s team play UVA was seeing the glum look on Pitino’s face as he realized...there’s no way in hell we’re going to beat these guys.

Could Oregon beat them? Well they could. But we don’t think they will. Virginia is on a mission this year after the UMBC fiasco. That’s behind them now but one caveat: no one for Virginia has any experience at this level. Oregon does. That’s a real advantage but when you can’t figure out why you can’t move it counts for less.

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