D1Vision

Sweet 16 Predictions. West Region

Lauri Markkanen - West Region (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune)

3/21/17

The first two rounds of NCAA Tournament play provided us with some amazing games, including a multitude of down to the wire games with an even a few near buzzer beaters. The West Region holds 3 teams that were expected to be there, and one that no one saw coming. Here are my predictions on who will be the best in the West.

#1 Gonzaga vs. #4 West Virginia

In the first battle, we have what would be the “chalk” match up. Gonzaga, the number one seed who most people picked to lose first, has defied the odds and made it to the Sweet 16. After stomping on South Dakota State and escaping the first time tourney team Northwestern, they go up against  “Press” Virginia. With a stingy defense led by Jevon Carter, West Virginia looks to force turnovers and get easy buckets. If they can contain the twin towers of Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, we could see a wild finish.

Prediction: I think the West Virginia press gives the ‘Zags some issues. 60-55 WVU.

#11 Xavier vs. #2 Arizona

The lowest seed to make the Sweet 16 is the Xavier Musketeers. The Musketeers out of the Big EAST were a bubble team at one point and are now playing for a shot at the elite eight. There road isn’t easy as they have to take on the Arizona Wildcats, a team who over 15.8% of ESPN Tournament Challenge users picked to go to the Final Four. Trevon Bluiett will have to continue his hot shooting (21 points in the first game, 29 in the second) if the Musketeers want a chance of taking down the Finnish wonder in Lauri Markkanen, many of who consider the top big man in this years draft.

Prediction: Markkanen is going to get his, there’s really no one Xavier who matches up against him. However, this game comes down to whether or not Xavier’s freshman point guard Quentin Goodin can deal with the pressure that the Arizona backcourt of Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Kobi Simmons, Khadeem Allen, and Rawle Alkins will apply to the backcourt both defensively and offensively. Arizona 70-62.

 

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