Cue the Duckboats | Championship Collection for Banner 18SHOP NOW


16 Thoughts, Facts, Stats, Ideas, And Ramblings For The Sweet 16 Of The NCAA Tournament

Ezra Shaw. Getty Images.

Here we are, Sweet 16 and Elite 8 weekend, when it feels like we just started the season. It's so depressing to see the amount of games dwindle down each day, but with that comes games of big magnitude so it makes it that much better. I'm sad it's close to over, but I'm thrilled at all the things that have happened. 

Here we go with 16 Thoughts, Facts, Stats, Ideas, And Ramblings For The Sweet 16 . I've nailed some stuff in the first two chapters of these blogs. 

Away we go … 

1- Kansas St is the story of the tournament, and in my opinion one of the easiest teams to root for given their story. Jerome Tang in his first year as a head coach after 18 years as an assistant, Keyontae Johnson coming back from collapsing on court just a few years ago, and Markquis Nowell having just one Division 1 offer yet being one of the most dynamic players in the Big 12. They are easy to get behind. Especially when they do cool shit all the time. 

2- The one piece of advice I would give Michigan State (who by the ways  gave Tyler Kolek fits in Round 2) on defending Markquis Nowell is running doubles at him similar to the way Jelly Walker (another undersized guard) was defending by Middle Tennessee State late in the semifinals of last year's CUSA Semis. Big guards will force Nowell to have to give the ball up and disrupt the K St offense. That's a start, maybe even the exact recipe to limiting the Wildcats from really getting going. 

3- I think tonight is a great night to always have your Fantasy Baseball draft if you are a casual college basketball fan. Have it at a restaurant, or a buddy's house. The games are on in the background to distract you in between picks and there's no questions of when your draft is every year. You can look up the Tournament schedule, set years in advance and know when to make sure you are free. I have heard a lot of leagues doing this, and it's a great idea when you think about it. 


4- I think UCONN needs to make sure Adama Sanogo gets going early and often. In two tournament games he's had 16 and 17 field goal attempts. In a Big East Semi loss to Marquette he took just 11 shots. In fact in UCONN's last three losses, his FG attempts are 11, 10 and 6. In losses to St.John's, Marquette and Providence early this year, his field goal attempts were 8, 7, and 9. Advice to Danny Hurley … Feed the big man. 

C. Morgan Engel. Getty Images.

5- In Arkansas's last 3 games they are shooting 23.9% from 3pt range. They shoot just 31.3% on the year. It seems like in these games, someone has to hit a big shot, and while Arkansas has a ton of players (Nick Smith, Anthony Black, Ricky Council and Davonte Davis) the stats have me struggling to figure out which guy it's going to be to do it. 

6- Florida Atlantic and Tennessee is an underwhelming matchup given how loaded the region was to start, but I find the best mid major in the country vs a top tier team almost all year (with a coach trying to erase a ton of March Madness exits) is intriguing to say the least. I don't think it's got any favors going against UCLA Gonzaga, but it is an interesting matchup for sure. I lean Tennessee in this one. 

7- I may love Gonzaga too much tonight. +2 seems like they are doing me a favor. I really struggle to get behind a UCLA team stopping this Gonzaga attack without Jaylen Clark. Now Gonzaga has been so spotty on defense this year that they could look absolutely foolish tonight, but I'm willing to back the team with the better offense. 

8- Do we really need to see Hep Cronin 6-700 times tonight on cutaways? (That's if he even goes to the game, I'm not sure if he has even gone to the games recently, I'm just scarred from UCLA's last Final Four run).

9- San Diego St is super stingy on defense, especially defending the 3pt line. They hold opponents to 28.7% from deep. That's bad news from an Alabama team that relies on 30.3 % of their points from beyond the arc. 

10- The flip side of San Diego State's 3pt defense is that they allow a ton of attempts from 3. The Aztecs allow teams to attempt 40% of their shots from deep. Alabama isn't afraid to shoot a low percentage, and they have been able to win games making just a handful, but they don't like when they can't take a bunch. The Aztecs will allow a ton of attempts which is a big + for Alabama. 

11- I hope Coach Oats breaks out a sick blazer for Friday night, he's one of the only ones left in country who still dresses respectfully. The rest of the nation should take notice. 

Vasha Hunt. Shutterstock Images.


12- We're going to know in 5 minutes if Miami can beat Houston. Pack and Wong are fantastic, but their style of playing no defense is a big boom or bust vibes. Especially against Houston who wakes up in the morning dreaming of offensive rebounds. I think Miami really has the capability to stay in this one, and of all the upsets, would shock me very little to make a Final Four. But I really think we'll know very fast which way it's going to go. 

13- Princeton can cover and I hope we get an entertaining game. But at this point in the year, I want dream Elite 8 matchups and Creighton-Alabama is just that. Keep it close Princeton, but do us all a favor and lose. 

14- Sean Miller has 3 Elite 8's. Rodney Terry is an interim coach. In his last head coaching stint at UTEP, Terry was 11 games under .500 . 

15- In the NCAA Tournament, Xavier has allowed 89.7 points per 100 possessions. In the same time frame Texas is allowing 90.4 points per 100 possessions. Doesn't it seem like we're not talking about Xavier enough? 

16- My full predictions for the Elite 8. 

Bama, Creighton, Tennessee, K State, Houston, Xavier, UConn, Gonzaga. 

Plays ATS on the Barstool Sportsbook

K ST +2


Bama -7.5