Elite 8 Preview, Sweet 16 Recap
March Madness Sweet 16
We previewed the Sweet 16 in On The Court Episode 4. Baylor, Gonzaga & Houston all handled business as expected. Conor & I had Florida State upsetting Michigan but the Wolverines had a dominating performance winning by 18. USC took care of business against Oregon as well winning 82-68, despite a 28 points & 10 rebounds game from Ducks' forward Eugene Omoruyi. Arkansas survived a close call with Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts Star & leading scorer in the country Max Abmas missed a three at the buzzer giving the Razorbacks a 72-70 win.
I don't think anybody expected Alabama to be upset by UCLA in an overtime thriller. The Crimson Tide just couldn't make shots, going 7/28 (25%) from 3 & 11/25 (44%) from the free throw line. That's just not how you win a game, especially in March. Another surprising upset was Oregon State beating Loyola Chicago. We were all in on another Cinderella story coming from Loyola Chicago. Unfortunately, the cards weren't in their favor. They lost 65-58 & Oregon State was led by their senior guard Ethan Thompson
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12 Oregon State vs 2 Houston
Here at Russo's Playbook, we've been heavy on the 12 seeds. We predicted two making it out of the first round & warned everyone to watch out for a 12 seed making a run in our March Madness Preview article. I'll be honest though, we didn't think it'd be Oregon State but the Beavers are rollin. Houston had a scare against Rutgers in Round 2 but sailed smoothly through Syracuse. At this point, I'm riding with Oregon State solely for the Cinderella story, but if you're betting you might want to consider taking Houston.
3 Arkansas vs 1 Baylor
Baylor handled business against Villanova as mentioned earlier. I really don't see Baylor losing unless it's in the championship game. I won't count Arkansas out entirely, but there's just so much talent on the Baylor team that even if the Razorbacks keep it close, in the end I think the Bears pull away. The winner of this game will play the winner of Oregon State & Houston.
6 USC vs 1 Gonzaga
USC has been storming through the NCAA Tournament so far, winning games by an average of 21 points per game. Unfortunately for them, Gonzaga has been doing the same thing all season. They led the nation in scoring margin during the regular season & have been winning tournament games by an average of 25.5 points per game so far. I think this has potential to be a closer game than these two teams have played so far throughout March Madness. USC can compete but I don't see them finishing the job. The Zags have too much talent & great coaching, they'll pull away late & punch their ticket to the Final 4.
11 UCLA vs 1 Michigan
I didn't think Michigan would make it this far without their star player Isaiah Livers. But, I've been wrong before & here we are. Surprisingly, I actually picked UCLA to reach the Elite 8 in one of my brackets, solely because 11 seeds have a history of making runs & also reaching the Final 4. The Bruins & Wolverines are both coming into this game playing amazing basketball. I'm gonna go with UCLA here to stay consistent with my lack of confidence in Michigan. We may see 11 & 12 seeds in the Final Four this year.
We'll be back for On The Court Episode 6 once the Elite 8 finishes up. We'll recap the Sweet 16 in more detail as well as the Elite 8. Conor & I will make our Final 4 & Championship predictions as well as preview the matchups. Click here to Subscribe to our channel so you don't miss that.