College hoops fans and bettors were treated to four incredible Sweet 16 games yesterday and the tournament will provide four more for them today, completing the Elite Eight. Which four teams will advance to play this weekend and which four will fall? Let’s take a look at the match-ups and figure it out.
(12) Oregon Ducks +10.5 at (1) Louisville Cardinals -10.5
The Cardinals have proved why they were named the tournament favorite before all this madness began and they’ll have a significant edge again today in their Sweet 16 match-up against the Ducks.
Oregon has also impressed by winning each of its first two games – which were technically upsets – by double digits, but it hasn’t encountered a team with the type of athleticism that Louisville possesses.
Based on what we’ve seen from each squad in the tourney so far, Oregon should be able to compete, but as a team that turns the ball over too frequently, the Ducks will likely struggle against the ball-hawking Cardinals, who lead the nation in turnovers forced.
The Ducks may fall behind early and if they do, look for the Cardinals to continue to apply the pressure and stretch the lead. Look for Louisville to cover -10.5 in this one.
(4) Michigan Wolverines +2 at (1) Kansas Jayhawks -2
Michigan has passed the eye test with flying colors through its first two games, while the Jayhawks have certainly not looked like a No. 1 seed.
Still, the Jayhawks bring a talented, experienced and more than capable team of winning a title into this match-up with the streaky Wolverines.
Both teams have strong inside games, although the Wolverines found theirs most recently, and both teams also can hit outside shots. Kansas was thought to have the edge defensively, but as we’ve seen during the tournament, Michigan can turn the screws tight on the defensive side of the ball as well.
This game should come down to the wire, but stick with the hotter team and take Michigan to cover +2 in the win.
(3) Michigan State Spartans+2 at (2) Duke Blue Devils -2
Though the match-up above is expected to be extremely close, the hardcourt war between Michigan State and Duke will undoubtedly be the most highly contested game of the day.
Both teams play the inside-out game extremely well, so the game will likely come down to who outshoots the other and who has the least unforced turnovers. Duke has looked a little bit sloppier in its first two games, but it has shot the ball fairly well, while Michigan State has been effective in all areas of the game.
Both teams are very experienced and well-coached, so there likely won’t be any surprises or tricks up the sleeves. Look for Michigan State to barley edge out Duke in what will likely be the closest game of the day. This one might even go to overtime, but take the Spartans to cover +2.
(15) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles +14 at (3) Florida Gators -14
The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have enjoyed an incredible run and we’ve enjoyed watching them dance their way through the first three rounds of the tournament, but we have to be realistic about their chances in this match-up against the Florida Gators.
With one of the best defenses in the country and an athletic, balanced offensive attack, the Gators will undoubtedly have the upper hand today against the Eagles. Still, based on what we’ve seen from FGCU so far during the tournament, we can reasonably expect it will come out swinging and give its new in-state rivals a good game.
Look for Florida to earn the win, but for Florida Gulf Coast to cover +14 in defeat.