I already gave you my opinion on the games in the West and East. Now it’s time for PART 2 covering the South and Midwest.
*Hint* my champion is in these groupings!
1. North Carolina Vs. Butler
I look into this game and see one big thing, that this game could go two ways. 1. High scoring somewhere around 110-100 or 2. Defense, Defense, Defense, like 55-53. Here’s why: North Carolina is a strong team that is chock-full of talent. Justin Jackson is a monster for them, averaging 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists a game. He is also a defensive beast notching a steal and almost half a block per game, but the most important part is he is a lockdown defender when he’s on the court. We can’t forget about Isaiah hicks who can score like there is no tomorrow. Also, Kennedy Meeks is a prolific rebounder by nature who takes the ball away from opponents with no remorse. Coming in with averages of 13 points and 10 boards per game, he is a dominating force in the paint to say the least.
Now for Butler. For what I’ve seen they are a good scoring team who aren’t light on defensive end either. They have three guys scoring above 10 points per game, but they really aren’t that type of a team all-around. I think they would’ve been better rated as a 6 seed most, but unfortunately the selection committee has yet to call for my opinion on the matter. North Carolina beats Butler.
2. UCLA Vs. Kentucky.
So UCLA is a excellent team for a lot of reasons, but the main one is Lonzo Ball. He is a true phenom in every sense of the word. Possibly even a once in a lifetime player in the mold of Magic Johnson. While not a pure shooter, Ball still seems to make his fair share of contested jumpers. His real value shines when he is creating shots for others and is reflected in his per game averages of 14 points, 6 boards, and 7 dimes. While Ball is the star of the team, UCLA has also surrounded him with talented players as well. With TJ Leaf averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, combined with Bryce Alford putting up 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists himself, the team is difficult to shut down on the offensive end.
The main problem for UCLA is that they are facing Kentucky, and I don’t even have to provide stats for to show you they are a one-and-done powerhouse. With blue-chip players like Edrice Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and the COACH’S SON for Pete’s sake, they are the powerhouse of the SEC, and they know it. They practically breed talent at Kentucky making them almost Unstoppable, and for this reason that’s why they are the winners. Kentucky beats UCLA.
3. Kansas Vs. Purdue.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Let’s make it clear that I’m definitely not a Kansas fan, but I think it’s obvious why they could definitely win. For starters, they have Josh Jackson who is a defensive monster. He can also score and is a rare floor general that isn’t a point guard. Frank Mason III is a guy almost anyone can get behind and root for because of his small stature in the mold of Isaiah Thomas. He creates shots for himself and the guys around him, knows how to run an offense, how to play efficient defense without making mistakes. Not to mention, Devonte’ Graham, rounds out their three-headed monster, but they have been prone to be upset in the regular season. For this reason you can’t completely count out the boilermakers.
The story out of Purdue is Caleb Swanigan. I’m not exaggerating when I say this kid is a monster. He’s a double-double machine who’s constantly grabbing boards and dunking home put-backs, with the ability to pass out of the post and hit the open man for easy buckets. With averages 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists, he’s shown the ability to carry the team when needed. He also has some solid players around him like Vince Edwards and Carsen Edwards. They could be the team to knock off Kansas, but i don’t think they have enough. Kansas defeats Purdue.
4. Oregon Vs. Michigan.
This is another very interesting game mainly because of the absence of Chris Boucher for the Ducks. He really aided the team’s offense with stats of 12 points, 6 rebounds, and a half of an assist a game. Not really a facilitator, but an important part nonetheless as his injury really hurt the team in the PAC-12 Championship game. So I have no reason to say it won’t hurt them here.
Now the case for Michigan is that they’ve already upset Louisville who is simply a better team than Oregon. Plus, Michigan has Derrick Walton Jr. who comes with averages of 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. While he hasn’t been playing well of late, they still have Zakarie (“Zak”) Irvin to fall back on with averages of 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. I really like the talent on this Michigan team, and have to give them the edge over the Ducks. Michigan wins over Oregon.
That’s it for the Sweet Sixteen. Man do I love March Madness!
If you have any suggestions on what I should cover next please leave them in the comments section.