The Sweet Sixteen was awesome. Another great two days of college basketball. We saw Trey Burke lead Michigan to an unbelievable comeback win against Kansas. We saw Aaron Craft and Ohio State on the brink of elimination again, but nonetheless prevail, and we even saw Syracuse’s zone stifle arguably the most potent offense in college basketball. But all those games are over, and we’re now onto the Elite Eight games. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, here’s how I see the games playing out.
#4 Syracuse vs. #3 Marquette
In Syracuse’s final season in the Big East before they move to the ACC, it’s only fitting that they have to beat another Big East school in order to move on to the Final Four. First off, I have to give Marquette credit. Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t think they had a shot against Miami. But this is a tough team that knows how to win, and I shouldn’t have written them off so early. Syracuse is playing unbelievable basketball at the moment. Their zone completely shut down Indiana’s high-powered offense, and the length of Cuse’s guards gave the Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell fits all night long. All season long, the Orangemen have gone as their star point guard Michael Carter-Williams goes. When he does his thing and balls out, they win. When he struggles with his jumper and turns the ball over, they lose. After seeing him dominate any defender Indiana threw at him, you’d have to imagine his confidence levels are through the roof, and I’m expecting another big game from him.
Prediction: Syracuse 65 Marquette 56
#9 Wichita State vs. #2 Ohio State
Wichita State dominated La Salle on the boards in the Sweet Sixteen. The Shockers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, and overall, they outrebounded La Salle 44 to 23. However, the Shockers will not be able to dominate the glass in the Elite Eight. Ohio State is a good rebounding team with tough bigs that battle on the glass. The Buckeyes’ Deshaun Thomas is going to be nightmare to guard for Wichita State. He is big enough to post up and score on the block, but he is also quick enough and clever enough to play on the perimeter. Either Carl Hall of Cleanthony Early will have to guard him, but Thomas is too strong on the block for Early and to quick on the perimeter for Hall. Look for the Big 10’s leading scorer to go off and have a huge scoring night. The Shockers definitely have the talent to shock the world again, but it’s going to an uphill battle for sure.
Prediction: Ohio State 68 Wichita State 56