Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ranking Sweet 16 matchups

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men's tournament is my favorite, so let's rank the matchups 1 through 8. Most of the matchups are mouth-watering, and there's sure to be several surprises too. Here we go: 

1. Duke vs. Michigan State: What more do you want? The Spartans' Tom Izzo and Duke's Mike Kryzyzewski have been to a staggering 17 Final Fours as coaches and won four national championships. This one is No. 1 for a reason.

2. Michigan vs. Kansas: The Wolverines were dominant in the their first two NCAA games, and the Jayhawks looked sluggish. KU might want to fix that for this tough matchup. 

3. Syracuse vs. Indiana: This is the first NCAA tournament meeting between these two since playing for the national championship in 1987. Bobby Knight was the Hoosers coach back then, but is long gone. Syracuse's coach is still Jim Boeheim. 

4. Ohio State vs. Arizona: Sean Miller nearly got his mentor Thad Matta in 2007 when Miller's Xavier's squad almost beat Greg Oden, Mike Conely and Co. in the second round. This one could have the same type of drama.

5. Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast: Are the Eagles the new Phi Slamma Jamma? One thing's for sure: you better watch because with this Cinderella, you don't know what to expect.

6. Louisville vs. Oregon: The Ducks haven't look anything like a No. 12 seed, but the Cardinals, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, have been just as impressive.

7. Miami (Fla.) vs. Marquette: Hurricanes center Reggie Johnson will miss the game with a knee injury so don't count out the quietest team left in the tournament, the Golden Eagles. 

8. La Salle vs. Witchita State: Winner gets either Ohio State or Arizona in the regional final. Haven't seen either play this season, so there's intrigue there for me.

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo


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