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March Madness 2017 Round of 16 Predictions and Preview

March Madness 2017 Round of 16 Predictions and Preview

With the 64 and 32 Rounds of the 2017 March Madness now in the books, the action gets hotter in the Sweet 16. I have a few predictions for the upcoming games, get ‘em while their hot!

Kansas Jayhawks vs Purdue Boilermakers

  • When: March 23, 2017, 9:39 PM ET
  • Where: Sprint Center
  • Spread: Kansas -4.5
  • Over/Under: 156.5

Analysis: As expected, the Jayhawks blew away opponents in the first two rounds of the competition. Kansas is playing at a blistering pace and it’s hard to see them slowing down. Freshman Josh Jackson, who will probably be heading to the NBA soon, heads Kansas’ offense that along with Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham is deadly efficient. Also, Landen Lucas is playing very well down below and could be a significant advantage against Purdue in defending in the paint. The Boilermakers are having a good run in this competition, especially big man Caleb Swanigan has proved himself to be the backbone of Purdue’s offense and will certainly be a factor in hopefully defeating Kansas.

Game Prediction: Kansas wins and covers at -4.

Florida Gators vs Wisconsin Badgers

  • When: March 24, 2017, 9:59 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden
  • Spread: Florida -1.5
  • Over/Under: 131.5

Analysis: The Sweet 16 is when the pressure on teams goes up tenfold. The Gators are well prepped to slow down Wisconsin, expect Florida to put on the clamps on the Badgers’ offense as they did in their game against Virginia in the second round when they kept the Cavaliers to only 29 percent shooting from the field. Wisconsin shocked the No. 1 seed Villanova out of competition, but faces a tough challenge against the Badgers. Nigel Hayes will have to turn up the intensity even further if he’s to lead this team to victory. Hayes was instrumental in the Badgers’ win over Nova and averaged 15.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in five games dating back to the Big Ten Tournament. Expect Wisconsin to pressure Hayes all night long however, making it tough for him to score the buckets.

Game Prediction: Wisconsin pulls through once more.

Arizona Wildcats vs Xavier Musketeers

  • When: March 23, 2017, 10:09 PM ET
  • Where: SAP Center
  • Spread: Arizona -7
  • Over/Under: 145

Analysis: I like what I’m seeing from Xavier. Through the two initial rounds, the Musketeers have proved to be a surprise for their opponents. They first did away with Maryland, then went on to shock No. 3 Florida State. Trevon Bluiett leads Xavier’s offense, putting up an average of 25 points and 5 rebounds through the two first games and picked up the slack left with Edmond Sumner’s absence. The Wildcats however, are also playing exceptionally well behind the duo of freshman Lauri Markkanen and sophomore Allonzo Trier who have averaged double digits in scoring through the first games. If there’s anything that’s going to win this game for either team it’s perhaps having the better bench players.

Game Prediction: Like I mentioned above, the bench will determine the outcome of this game. Expect Arizona to win this battle.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs West Virginia Mountaineers

  • When: March 23, 2017, 7:39 PM ET
  • Where: SAP Center
  • Spread: Gonzaga -3
  • Over/Under: 148.5

Analysis: Northwestern put up a good fight, but in the end the Bulldogs outlasted them. Nigel Williams-Goss finally kicked into high-gear, leading the team with 20 points, with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Him and Jordan Mathews will prove to be instrumental in winning the game against the Mountaineers and their full court press. Also, big man Zach Collins should do well as the Mountaineers don’t have anyone to match up to his height. West Virginia will probably go at Gonzaga with the same intense pressure on their ball carriers. Jevon Carter will have to step up his game and play consistently.

Game Prediction: I’m looking at another Gonzaga win and cover.

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