Credit: Florida State Athletics

Sweet Sixteen Preview-Thursday Games

Previewing the sweet sixteen match-ups and the NBA draft prospects in those games

#1 Gonzaga vs. #4 Florida State (7:09 PM on CBS)

Gonzaga got a huge game from Brandon Clarke in the second round with the junior going for 36 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks against Baylor. It might be more difficult for the Rui Hachimura and Clarke who are both 6’8″ against Florida State’s size inside. Due to this size, Gonzaga will need a big game from Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins from outside of the paint. Mfiondu Kabengele has the strength inside to do damage, and is always a threat to step out and hit a three pointer. Terance Mann will most likely be tasked with defending Norvell Jr. and Clarke when he is on the outside, so the senior’s defense will be a key to the game if they want to pull off the upset.

#3 Texas Tech vs. #2 Michigan (9:39 PM on CBS)

Jarrett Culver has been dominant over basically the entire month of March, his draft stock has improved as he is showing he is capable of putting a team on his back through a tournament run. Michigan is a loaded team offensively, but Culver still should get his production as long as he is not having an off shooting night. Outside of Jordan Poole’s big second half against Florida, Michigan’s stars struggled as they managed to hold off an upset. Despite this, they have a ton of talent with Jordan Poole, Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews along with the fact that most of their roster has deep NCAA tournament experience. If Michigan can shut down Jarrett Culver, that will be a key to getting a victory, but if they get hot from the outside it might not matter as a shootout favors Michigan much more than the Red Raiders.

#1 Virginia vs. #12 Oregon (9:57 PM on TBS)

Virginia has continued to play UVA basketball through the first two games, holding their opponents to 51 points and 56 points respectively. Deandre Hunter dominated in the first game, but no Virginia player put up big numbers in the second round against Oklahoma. How they are able to defend NBA talent like Louis King and deal with an elite athlete on the inside in Kenny Wooten will be a big factor in the game. On the other side Oregon kept it’s hot streak going by advancing to a sweet sixteen with a win over #13 seed UC Irvine. Louis King has played well in their first two games of the tournament totaling 33 points on 11 of 20 shooting from the field. The freshman has also gone 7 for 10 from deep, showing off his versatility as a 6’9″ wing. If King and Wooten continue to play like they have in addition to the other players such as Payton Pritchard playing at a high level, they are capable of pulling off the upset and getting to the elite eight.

#3 Purdue vs. #2 Tennessee (7:29 PM on TBS)

Carsen Edwards struggled in the first round game somewhat, but went off against Villanova for 42 points having arguably the most impressive performance of the tournament so far. As has been the case with Edwards, how his night goes is mainly predicated on whether or not his outside shot is falling. When he is on, the junior is one of the most deadly scorers in the nation, and when he is off he can shoot you out of a game. There is more talent on the Purdue roster than just Edwards so they have won games when he struggles, but they will most likely need one of the good nights from Edwards to get the win against a tough Tennessee team. Tennessee gave up a 25 point lead and needed overtime to take care of #10 seeded Iowa. Admiral Schofield has played great through the first two rounds, but did have an odd moment where he apparently asked to be taken out of the game in the closing minutes of the Iowa Game. Grant Williams is also playing well, which is good news for the Volunteers as they will need their two stars to get past Purdue. Jordan Bone is capable of having a big game, and that could be helpful in cancelling out some of the production that Carsen Edwards will provide on the other side.

 

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