NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Picks – March 23rd

We all know what is at stake tonight as the NCAA Tournament resumes.  The Opening Weekend is thrilling as we all hunt for upsets and try to maintain our tenuous brackets.  But tonight and tomorrow might be the best nights of basketball of the entire season, especially this season with the second-highest combined seeded Sweet Sixteen in the last twenty years.

We have four games on tap tonight, and after nearly a week to stew on them, there are a few games I really like as we look to build on our 7-3 ATS first two rounds.

Today’s NCAA Tournament Picks:

Michigan Wolverines -1 vs. Oregon Ducks

Oregon looked a little incomplete, showing the ill-effects of missing Chris Boucher in their daring comeback win against average USC.  They needed two dramatic three pointers from Tyler Dorsey to overcome the Trojans and they face a better and HOTTER opponent tonight.

I am not sure I buy into the “team of destiny” stuff with Michigan, but I do buy into a talented team with a veteran point guard playing the best basketball of his life and a big, athletic, talented and offensively-diverse squad that has beaten Purdue, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Louisville in the last week.  It’s hard to ignore the confidence and freedom the Wolverines are playing with right now.

I like the magical run to continue tonight.  Oregon was the better team all season, but right now, current momentum and health, Michigan is not the underdog.  They are the better team.

Today’s Pick:  Michigan Wolverines -1


Xavier Musketeers vs. Arizona Wildcats -7.5

I feel like we saw this same movie two years ago, and I don’t expect a different ending in the sequel.  Underachieving Xavier squad plays great in the opening weekend, sneaks into the Sweet Sixteen only to meet Coach Chris Mack’s former boss and mentor, Sean Miller and his far more highly ranked Arizona squad.  Xavier plays tough, but in the end, Arizona is a bigger, better, deeper basketball team and is simply too much man-for-man for the Muskies to contend with.

That was the plot of the 2015 Sweet Sixteen game, and I think we can expect a remix tonight.  Xavier was AWESOME in pummeling Maryland and Florida State, but let’s be honest, those were two slumping and road-poor basketball teams.  Arizona is a different beast.  Xavier has NO answer for Lauri Markkanen and depends far too much on Trevon Blueitt to be special in order to generate offense.  He will have a difficult time being special under the watchful defense of Kahdeem Allen.

Arizona is bigger, better and far deeper.  Chris Mack has done a nice job reviving Xavier’s season, but it ends tonight.

Today’s Pick:  Arizona Wildcats -7.5

Chris Scheeren / Author