After taking a couple of days off so that we could all catch our collective breath March Madness resumes on Thursday with the start of the round of 16. If the next two rounds are anything like the first two then we are in for another four days of excellent basketball. Let's take a look at what games are on tap for Thursday and Friday.
We begin things tomorrow evening with Marquette who survived the ultimate scare in their first game of the tournament against Miami who beat Illinois in one of the last games played on Sunday. Miami really turned it on toward the end of the season and are playing very well right now. Marquette had two brutal games over the weekend and beat Butler by only two points last Saturday. Miami should win this game but Marquette has been very lucky in this tournament so far but I think in the end Miami is the better team and I see them advancing to the Elite 8.
The other game in that region on Thursday night finds Indiana playing Syracuse. Indiana is playing very good basketball right now and I see them advancing with a relatively easy victory over Syracuse.
The other games Thursday night are in the West regional where we get things started with Arizona and Ohio State. This could be a good game but I have to give the edge to Ohio State who I think have played the tougher schedule and are more battle tested than Arizona. The final game Thursday night matches up Wichita State fresh off their stunning upset of Gonzaga against La Salle. This could be the best game of the evening as neither one of these teams were really expected to be here, certainly Wichita State wasn’t. I really liked what I saw from Wichita State in their first two games in the tournament and I’m going to say they win one more game and make it to the Elite 8.
This brings us to Friday night’s slate of games where we get things started in the South regional with Kansas and Michigan squaring off. This is not a good matchup at all for Kansas as Michigan’s strengths are the Jayhawks weakness and Michigan may have the best guard tandem in the country. I think Kansas becomes the second of the No. 1 seeds to exit the tournament.
The second game of the South regional finds Florida Gulf Coast continuing their historic run through the tournament as they face the Florida Gators. Can lightning strike three times for Florida Gulf Coast? I hope so but I don’t think so, I have to give the edge to Florida.
Friday’s other two games are in the Midwest regional where Louisville continues their march to the national championship as they pause momentarily to dispatch Oregon who have had an impressive tournament but it comes to an end Friday night. The final game of the evening finds Duke and Michigan State doing battle in what should be a very competitive game. This game could go either way and I will not be particularly surprised regardless of the outcome but since I have to pick a winner I am going to go with Duke, I think they have what it takes to make it to the Elite 8 where they fall to Louisville.
Dale Earnhart Jr. is No. 1 in the NASCAR standings for the first time in something like ten years. How did this happen? I like Dale Jr. but don’t you have to win a race at some point? At least Tiger Woods had to win a couple of tournaments to become the world’s top ranked golfer.
Now that I have angered all the Jayhawks and Dale Jr. fans my work here is done for today. We’ll be back on Friday reviewing Thursday night’s games as well as looking ahead to the rest of this weekend. We’ll get caught up on spring sports whenever it warms up enough to actually have them. Thanks for checking out this blog and please do the same for all the other blogs on this site.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.