How Sweet It Is: Round of 16

You know, there are some bracket challenges that let you re-pick round by round, and while it’s easier from this point on to keep your bracket intact, it’s also an out, in my opinion, for people who just aren’t very good at picking in the first place. It’s just my opinion, and I’m still doing the round by round brackets in addition to my regular brackets because there’s still a monetary value attached for the person who is the best at that particular iteration.

But I think that’s the best way to do it for newbies to the process, or for people who haven’t been following along and who don’t know the teams intimately. By the time the Sweet 16 teams play we are a lot closer to knowing if our brackets will be bust or if we still have a legitimate chance to go all the way. And if your Cinderella pick is still playing here, you’ll be the one ecstatic because you probably made up points on the field by going with your gut and taking the risk. Here are my Round of 16 picks…

THE SOUTH

1 Florida vs. 5 VCU – VCU has been here before, but so has Florida, and many more times. Billy Donovan is an expert at keeping his team fired up for each game, and he’s done it again this season. While this game might be closer than you might think, I believe Florida pulls away for a hard fought win in the end.

2 Kansas vs. 6 Ohio State – Ohio State just doesn’t have enough weapons to take out a Kansas team that will be peaking at the right time for this one. They might also benefit from getting Embiid back as well, which bodes well for them and poorly for an Ohio State team that just won’t have enough firepower to keep up.

THE WEST

1 Arizona vs. 4 San Diego State – I really, really want to go with the upset here. San Diego State has a great opportunity and they stack up well against Arizona, even defensively, but somehow I have a feeling Arizona takes it to another level in this game, which will make the difference.

3 Creighton vs. 7 Oregon – The Ducks have a real chance here, and it’s hard not to pick them, but the intangibles favor Creighton, not to mention that McDermott kid, who I think will take over this tournament, at least through to the next round. My pick is Creighton by 10.

THE EAST

1 Virginia vs. 4 Michigan State – Virginia is legitimate, and they will have to prove it big time against a Tom Izzo-led team in a winner-take-all showdown here. But just as they did in the Duke game for the ACC championship, Virginia will find that extra gear and produce another big time win against a big time opponent. They will prove their legitimacy as a #1 here.

2 Villanova vs. 3 Iowa State – Speaking of legitimate, Villanova falls into that same category. Forget all about that Seton Hall game. The Wildcats were lackadaisical in that one. It won’t happen here. They will come ready to play and prove the truth in their seeding in this game. Villanova in a close one.

THE MIDWEST

1 Wichita State vs. 4 Louisville – I still can’t believe Louisville was put into the #4 seed in this section of the bracket, and they will still be playing angry in this one. While I think Wichita State is a very solid program, and they earned their #1 seed, Louisville is just as good. I think the Cardinals take this one in a very close contest. It will probably be the hardest contested game in the whole tournament outside of the National Championship game itself.

2 Michigan vs. 3 Duke – The Blue Devils are still seen by many as The Blue Devils, even though this year hasn’t been a banner year for them. They aren’t even as good as Virginia, as was proven more than once, but they seem to be a different team in the tournament each year… except the one hiccup a couple of years ago when they lost a doozy as the #2 seed. They are seeded lower here and for just cause. I think Michigan is a more solid team and it shows up here. Michigan in a close one.

The Fantasy Ace

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