BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Some say March Madness is the best sporting event that there is. This year was no disappointment so far. With plenty of upsets, including a sixteen seed beating a one seed which had yet to happen before this season. The best part is, there is still plenty more madness to come. Sixteen teams left, all with the same goal. To just make it to the next round.
Kansas State  Vs Kentucky 
This first sweet sixteen matchup is an intriguing one. Many are surprised that K state is even in this position considering their performance so far this season.
Kansas State beat a good Creighton team in the first round and currently have three players averaging double figures in scoring. One of those players being Barry Brown a Junior guard. Brown has carried the Wildcats through the first two rounds of the tournament averaging 18 points a game. If K State wants to win however they will need contributions from not only Brown but guys like Dean Wade and Xavier Sneed. They have a tall task in front of them facing a solid Kentucky team.
Kentucky has breezed through the first two rounds of the tournament playing a 12 seed in Davidson and then a 13 seed in Buffalo. Kentucky will be up to the challenge though. They play in arguably one of the best conferences in the nation (SEC) so they are no stranger to good competition. The Wildcats are led by freshman stud Kevin Knox who is an NBA prospect. On paper, Kentucky is the better team and they have a ton of momentum coming off a 20 point blowout win over Buffalo. K state doesn’t seem to have the Personal to matchup with Kentucky’s five-star players.
Loyola Chicago  Vs Nevada 
The next Sweet Sixteen game is two teams who have stolen the show in this year's tournament and have constantly defied the odds.
Loyola Chicago arguably has the most momentum coming into this game after knocking off Miami by way of a buzzer Beater in the first round, Than defeating a 3 seed in Tennessee in round 2. In both of their games so far they were considered to be the underdog and they went out and proved that they can hang with the big dogs. The Ramblers have gotten to where they are due to the depth of their team. With five players having double figures in scoring it sure helps when you know you can rely on five guys game in and game out to get the job done. So far the hero of this team is Senior guard Donte Ingram who kept the ramblers dreams alive by knocking down the game-winning three-pointer to beat Miami. Junior Clayton Custer also had a huge moment in round 2 against Tennessee. There has been no shortage of excitement for Loyola-Chicago in the big dance so far but can they keep the magic going against a team who just knocked off a two seed?
Nevada is extremely lucky to even be in this game. In their last game, they were down by 22 at one point against perennial powerhouse Cincinnati. They looked defeated and it seemed like their chances of advancing were fading away faster than a cheetah can run. But then all of a sudden they came roaring back into the game and stunned two seeded Cincinnati 75-73. There's no question that Nevada will have to play much better if they want to keep going in this tournament and they sure have their work cut out for them with Loyola Chicago a team that has proven they are no joke.They will need the two brothers on their team Caleb and Cody Martin to carry them like they have been all season if they want to take down the Cinderella story Ramblers.
Florida State  Vs Gonzaga 
Florida State is coming off one of their best wins in program history by knocking off number one seeded Xavier. Xavier was a powerhouse team this year led by the likes of Trevon Bluiett and the Seminoles shut him and the rest of the Musketeers down. There is no question that Florida State can hang with the powerhouses of college basketball. They have beaten the likes of North Carolina, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. If they can play in the ACC then the Seminoles should be able to hold their own against the Bulldogs. When you look at the Seminoles stat sheets you won’t be blown away as their leading scorer only averages 12.9 points a game and the team averages 81 points a game. Which can only mean one thing, the whole team steps up and are not led by just one player. Sure you can single out Phil Cofer and Braian Angola as the two leading scorers but this team is fundamentally sound and will need to continue this against a tough Gonzaga squad.
Some people say Gonzaga is a fluke because they play in a weak conference. Although there is no doubting that their conference lacks a worthy opponent this team is far from a fluke. Last year they were in the title game and unfortunately lost. But almost year in and year out this team is always in the discussion when it comes down to the wire. Also every year it seems like the Zags have a player that stands out, This year that guy is Zach Norvell Jr. When you look at his stats on paper they aren’t exactly eye-popping but this kid can ball. He will be drafted this year into the NBA and is a huge cog in the Zags title run. The Zags will not only need Norvell jr to play his heart out but they need contributions from everyone if they hope to keep dancing.
Michigan  Vs Texas A&M 
Michigan is coming off a crazy win in which freshman Jordan Poole hit the game-winning three to propel the Wolverines over the Houston Cougars 64-63. The crazy thing about that shot was that was the first three that Poole made all year. However Michigan will have to move past that game and move on fast because they have to face Texas A&M a team who just manhandled the defending national champion Tar Heels. The Wolverines will need their star Moritz Wagner to carry them in this game because Texas A&M is a great defensive team as shown by holding the defending national champions to 65 points. Michigan is a very talented team as well, shown by their 30-7 record this year. But none of that matters anymore. The only thing that matters at this point is the next game, the Wolverines will have to take it one game at a time on their ride to a national championship.
The Aggies are high on life after they just crushed the defending national champions by twenty in their last game. But like Michigan, they can’t live in the past and have to focus on this game at hand. The Wolverines are no joke and can not be taken lightly. The Aggies are led by a Junior Center by the name of Tyler Davis. He is almost averaging a double-double on the season with 14.9 PPG and 9 rebounds per game. There is no question that he will cause fits for the Michigan defense and offense. The Aggies also have the rest of their starters averaging double figures in scoring. Not only are they a good offensive team but they are a great defensive team and have more size than most teams in the NCAA. The average height of the team is 6’7 and they have four key players that are at least 6’10. These guys are giants and not many teams can matchup with them. It will be interesting to see how Michigan responds to the severe height disadvantage in this game.
Villanova  Vs West Virginia 
Villanova is the current favorite to win the national championship. They are a fundamentally sound team and have the stars to win it all. They are carried by Junior Jalen Brunson who won Big East player of the year, Mikal Bridges who can take over a game just like that and then they have Donte Divincenzo who won 6th man of the year in the Big East. They also have Freshman of the year Omari Spellman. On paper they are clearly the best team in the tournament and their offense can shoot the lights out. However, West Virginia has an elite defense.
West Virginia’s defense is led by Sagaba Konate who can block anything in sight. He is an absolute menace in the paint and is one of the best defenders in the country. Senior Jevon Carter is also one of the best Guards in the ,country offensively and defensively, he averages 17.4 points per game and can lock down any teams best guard. The Mountaineers also have Daxter Miles Jr who is a sharpshooter. This game will be one of the better sweet sixteen games because of Villanova’s explosive offense and West Virginia's Lockdown defense.
Texas Tech  Vs Purdue 
Texas Tech has survived both of their games so far in the tournament by a hair. Although they won their first game by ten against SFA, they were down for a majority of the game and had to comeback. The second game they played a tough Florida team, a game where they were trailing for a majority of the game again and ultimately only won by three points. The Red Raiders are not to be taken lightly though. This year they have beaten Kansas, West Virginia, and Oklahoma whom are among the elite in the big 12. The red raiders are clearly led by Keenan Evans who is a beast. He currently is averaging 17.8 points a game so he can score with the best of them. Purdue, however, is one of the top teams in the country.
Purdue is an absolute machine. Although they likely lost one of their better players for the rest of the tournament Isaac Haas, They still have other players who can pick up the slack in his absence. Carsen Edwards who is averaging 18 points per game is one of the best players in the entire nation and two players are averaging over 14 points a game. These Players are the reason they were ranked in the top 5 for the whole season. They only have six losses on the season and have beat teams like Arizona, Louisville, and Michigan. The Boilermakers should have no problem handling the Red Raiders in this game.
Kansas  Vs Clemson 
Kansas is a perennial powerhouse and is always one of the top teams in the country. This year is no different. Led by the likes of Devonte Graham who is Kansas’s best player averaging 17 points a game and 7.5 assist a game and Svi MyKhailiuk who is arguably one of the best shooters in the NCAA. They won the big 12 again this year for the 8th year in a row and are always a favorite to win it all. They can’t take this Clemson team lightly though, Clemson who is usually not that good at basketball is a real threat to the Jayhawks Title hopes.
Clemson is coming off a huge win in which they beat Auburn in Crushing fashion 84-53. There is no doubt that Clemson can shoot the ball but clearly, they can shut down a team as well. They held a 4 seed to just 53 points! They also beat North Carolina this year and played in one of the toughest conferences in the whole nation. Clemson, however, is just a five-man show. All of their starters average over double figures but their next highest scorer only averages 4 points a game. So if one of their starters goes down it could be a tough game for the Tigers.
Duke  Vs Syracuse 
This game should not really be a test for the Blue devils. The Blue Devils have potential player of the year Marvin Bagley. Who averages 21 points a game and 11 rebounds a game. I'm not sure that the Orange will have an answer for him. Duke However is not just a one-man show. They also have NCAA villain Grayson Allen who can take over a game when he wants. He can shoot the lights out and play lockdown defense. They also have Wendell Carter Jr who is almost averaging a double-double in points and rebounds and is quite the special talent. The Blue devils will most likely crush the orange barring a Huge upset.
Syracuse will have to play a perfect game if they even want a chance to beat Duke. The way they played last game will not be good enough to beat Duke even though they took down a favorite in Michigan State. Their offense is one of the worst in the whole country with their lone bright spot being Tyus Battle averaging 19 points a game. The only reason they are where they are now is that of their defense and great coaching from Jim Boeheim one of the greatest coaches of all time. Cuse only has a chance in this game because they are playing. I doubt they will keep the luck going and beat Duke.