NCAA Tournament 2017: 16 things to know about Sweet 16, including Final Four picks

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The ACC placed 9 teams in this NCAA Tournament. Four of them were top-four seeds. Seven were top-eight seeds. And nonetheless usually one done a Sweet 16. Which is a bad demeanour for a joining — even if it substantially doesn’t meant what so many wish it to mean, i.e., that a ACC was vastly overrated. This three-week, single-elimination contest is how college basketball determines a inhabitant champion. And that’s fine. And it’s fun. But regulating a formula of particular 40-minute games to pull grand conclusions about four-month seasons has never done many clarity to me.

That said, I’m not here to urge a ACC.

Miami,
Florida State Seminoles
,
Louisville Cardinals
and
Duke Blue Devils
any mislaid to lower-seeded teams,
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
mislaid to a
Kansas State Wildcats
group that finished 8-10 in a Big 12, and
Virginia Cavaliers
fell 65-39 — 65-39! — to a
Florida Gators
group that mislaid a starter late in a deteriorate and went 1-3 in a 4 games before a NCAA Tournament. None of that is positive. But a good news is that UNC stays alive. So we could still theoreticaly have an ACC inhabitant champ — although a Las Vegas favorite is now Kansas.

But let’s not get too distant forward of ourselves.

I’ve been staring during a bracket. And we have some thoughts.

 Here are 16 things we wish to tell we streamer into a Sweet 16:

1. John Calipari is returning to Memphis

I horde a radio uncover in Memphis and live in a area. And we can't exaggerate how large of a story this is in a city. It’s such a uncanny energetic given Calipari is both a best manager to ever work during Memphis yet substantially still a many hated chairman in Memphis even yet he hasn’t lived there in 8 years. The normal Memphian is not over him leaving, uncanny as that competence sound. So Calipari bringing a Big Blue Nation to FedExForum will be, well, good for radio.

John Calipari is a best manager in Memphis history, yet he doesn’t have many fans there.
USATSI

2. The South Regional is awesome

Folks always protest about a miss of upsets in a initial dual rounds of a NCAA Tournament. But we know what we get when there are no upsets? Awesome regionals. And no informal is some-more overwhelming than a one during FedExForum. It’s 1-seed
North Carolina Tar Heels
vs. 4-seed
Butler Bulldogs
and 2-seed
Kentucky Wildcats
vs. 3-seed
UCLA Bruins
on Friday usually stairs divided from Beale Street. As of early Monday, a cheapest Plaza Level sheet accessible around Stubhub was $625. So, yeah, this is a place to be this weekend. Four top-four seeds. Four inhabitant brands. Three fun games no matter how they unfold. 

3. Just one some-more thing about a South

I’ll pierce on after this, we promise. But another engaging thing about a South Regional is that a 3-seed (UCLA) has already beaten a 2-seed (Kentucky). And a 2-seed has already beaten a 1-seed (North Carolina). And a 4-seed (Butler) owns dual wins over a 1-seed (
Villanova Wildcats
) and 3 wins over teams that done a Sweet 16 (
Arizona Wildcats
,
Xavier Musketeers
twice). In other words, this South Regional is totally adult in a air. UNC is a favorite, we guess. But all of these teams have won games that advise they have a possibility to make a Final Four.

4. Frank Mason vs. 
Caleb Swanigan
 is appointment TV

I’ve prolonged believed Swanigan should be a National Player of a Year. Others preference Mason. So how cold is it that we’ll get those dual on a justice together Thursday when Swanigan’s
Purdue Boilermakers
accommodate Mason’s
Kansas Jayhawks
? This will not, nor should it, unequivocally confirm a Player of a Year debate. But it’s a large theatre for dual large stars. we can’t wait to watch.

5.
Michigan Wolverines
 sure incited things around

The Wolverines were 14-9 altogether and 4-6 in a Big Ten usually 6 weeks ago. They were clearly headed to a NIT, CBI or something other than a NCAA Tournament. But now look. They’re 12-2 in their past 14 games with 8 wins over NCAA Tournament teams — including 4 victories over Sweet 16 teams. And they also survived a craft crash. Incredible, all around. Michigan plays
Oregon Ducks
Thursday in a initial diversion of a Midwest Regional semifinals.

6. The Pac-12 hold adult OK

Oregon is one of 3 Pac-12 schools in a Sweet 16. The others are UCLA and Arizona. The usually other leagues with 3 Sweet 16 participants are a Big Ten (Purdue,
Wisconsin Badgers
, Michigan), Big 12 (Kansas,
Baylor Bears
,
West Virginia Mountaineers
) and SEC (Kentucky, Florida,
South Carolina Gamecocks
). The Big East has dual (Butler, Xavier). The ACC (North Carolina) and WCC (
Gonzaga Bulldogs
) any have one. (Yes, a WCC got as many schools in a Sweet 16 as a ACC. Amazing.)

7. South Carolina is unequivocally in a Sweet 16

The Gamecocks went 3-6 in their 9 games before this NCAA Tournament and had a Round of 32 matchup opposite a propagandize Las Vegas projected to win a inhabitant championship (Duke). Regardless, they’re still headed to a second weekend for a initial time given 1973. Now did South Carolina advantage from North Carolina’s foolish HB2 check that led to NCAA Tournament games being changed from Greensboro to Greenville? Yes, undeniably. Anybody arguing differently is ridiculous. But to concentration too many on that is to take divided from South Carolina’s implausible achievement, and we don’t wish to take divided from anything. So let me usually offer a frank congratulations to a Gamecocks. And shoutout to Devan Downey.

8. Frank Martin is doing a ‘impossible’

I remember when Martin left Kansas State for South Carolina, that was usually startling to those who didn’t comprehend how badly his attribute with his jaunty executive had deteriorated. we was articulate with a former SEC manager one day, and that former SEC manager described South Carolina as an “impossible” job. That’s a word he used. Impossible. we relayed that story to Martin around content late Sunday. His response: “I’m too reticent and too realistic to know any better.”

Mark Few is one of several important coaches looking for their initial Final Four appearances. 
USATSI

9. Somebody is going to a Final Four for a initial time

The 4 schools in a East Regional are all coached by group who have never done a Final Four. As a result, possibly Scott Drew (Baylor), Frank Martin (South Carolina), Greg Gard (Wisconsin) or Michael White (Florida) is guaranteed to make a Final Four for a initial time. That’s flattering neat.

10. The West Regional is similar

Bob Huggins has done dual Final Fours — one during
Cincinnati Bearcats
, one during West Virginia. But a other 3 coaches still alive in San Jose — Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Arizona’s Sean Miller and Xavier’s Chris Mack — are chasing their initial Final Four. So possibly one of them will get it or Huggins will allege to a final weekend for a third time in what should be a Hall of Fame career.

11. The West Regional leader will be …

Gonzaga, we think. I’ll take a Zags over Arizona in a Elite Eight.

12. The East Regional leader will be …

Baylor, we think. I’ll take a Bears over Florida in a Elite Eight.

13. The Midwest Regional leader will be …

Kansas, we think. I’ll take a Jayhawks over Michigan in a Elite Eight

14. The South Regional leader will be …

UCLA, we think. I’ll take a Bruins over North Carolina in a Elite Eight

15. The pretension diversion will be …

Gonzaga vs. UCLA, we think. West Coast mount up!

16. And a inhabitant champion will be …

UCLA, we think. And we feel improved about it now than we did when we projected a Bruins as inhabitant champs behind in Feb and afterwards again on Selection Sunday, if usually given there were 68 teams in play afterwards and usually 15 other options now. What we adore about UCLA is what we saw in a second half of Sunday’s 79-67 win over Cincinnati. The Bruins struggled for a small while, fell behind and looked vulnerable. But afterwards
Lonzo Ball
got going. And shots started falling. And UCLA finished adult scoring 49 second-half points opposite a Cincinnati group that plays delayed and has a top-15 defensive potency rating.

Forty-nine second-half points opposite Cincinnati!

Who does that?

Answer: Nobody yet UCLA.

And that’s since a Bruins are so dangerous. They don’t have to be overwhelming for 40 mins given they can run divided from we in a camber of dual media timeouts. Granted, that doesn’t meant they’re guaranteed to come out of a South given nobody is guaranteed to come out of any segment — and generally that region. But forced to collect a inhabitant champion, I’ll go with Steve Alford’s Bruins. And if it indeed happens, LaVar Ball will never let we or any of us hear a finish of it.


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