At long last, the Sweet Sixteen arrives Thursday so here are our picks for Thursday’s and Friday’s games.
- Gonzaga vs. Arkansas. Arkansas is just the type of team that gives Gonzaga fits. But Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren have proven to be a tough duo.
- Michigan vs. Villanova. At this point, coaching, defense and guard play are where you should put your money. So we’ll take Villanova.
- Texas Tech vs. Duke. As we often say, we don’t bet against Duke. Not starting now.
- Houston vs. Arizona. This one is tough too. We don’t want to take Houston but we’re going to because they are an unbelievably tough-minded. So we’ll take the Cougars.
Saint Peter’s vs. Purdue. The only reason we’d take Purdue here is size - Zach Edey is unbelievably big at 7-4 and 500 lbs. (just kidding - he’s really big but not that big). We’ll take the Peacocks here even though it doesn’t make sense. And if they win, then, while Seton Hall full expects to hire Shaheen Holloway, he’s going to get...well, some strong-ass offers. Best thing he could do would to be to wait until the coaches convention at the Final Four. He’ll be a rock star.
Providence vs. Kansas. Providence is just a really good basketball team. It’s probably a mistake but we’ll take the Friars here.
UNC vs. UCLA. Jaime Jaquez is listed as day-to-day and that’s a problem. But so is this: UNC was crushed by Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament and nearly collapsed vs. Baylor last weekend. UCLA has been up and down in some ways this year, particularly due to injuries. But this team knows how to fight and we’re not convinced UNC can take a major punch. So because we think UCLA is fundamentally tougher, we’ll take the Bruins in a rock fight here. It wouldn’t surprise us to see UNC win though.
Iowa State vs. Miami. Coaching? Check. Defense? Check. Guard play? Check. And this too: peaking at the right time? Hell yes, Miami is peaking at the right time. Iowa State has had an amazing year, but they’re going to have to keep up with that offense and it won’t be easy. We’ll go with the ‘Canes. Things seem to be breaking their direction.