NCAA East Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

NCAA East Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

The first week of the NCAA tournament is over, and as expected, there were quite a few upsets. Now that there are only 16 teams left, we are taking a look at the Sweet Sixteen and take a look at the teams with the potential to make it to the Elite Eight according to their region.

NCAA East Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis 

#1 Villanova Wildcats vs #5 West Virginia Mountaineers 

  • When: March 23, 2018, 7:27 PM ET
  • Where: TD Garden
  • Spread: Villanova -5.5
  • Over/Under: 152.5

Villanova Analysis

Villanova was one of the two number one seeds to survive the first weekend, but things won’t get easier for them this week as they face a West Virginia team that was one of the best teams in the country this season.

The Wildcats, who were the top offensive team in the country this year, had no problems in the first and second rounds, dominating their opponents and winning by an average of 23.5 points.

Defensively, they allowed 70 points per game during the regular season, but they have kept their opponents under 60 points so far.

Against the Mountaineers, the Wildcats will need to be even better; though Mikal Bridges scored 23 in the Tide game, Big East Player of the Year Jalen Brunson has to pick up his slack (12 pts. vs Alabama).

Hopefully, the Wildcats stay hot from three-point land and add to the 31 combined threes in the two wins.

West Virginia Analysis

The Mountaineers have played very well so far and have been one of the most impressive teams in the NCAA tournament.

The team will get a chance to advance to the Elite Eight of the tournament for the first time since 2015, but they will have their hands full with a Villanova team many consider to be the best in the country.

The Mountaineers played well on both ends of the floor in their first two tournament games and they will need another complete effort to beat the Wildcats.

Offensively, West Virginia averages 80.2 points per game, so they should be able to keep up with Villanova.

When West Virginia is scoring, it provides it gives its defense time to set up the press, which can result in costly mistakes for opponents. 

Defense is the name of the game for the Mountaineers. There are few teams in the NCAA that play as physical as Bob Huggins’ team.

West Virginia’s pressure defense resulted in wins by a combined 40 points over its first two tournament opponents and is allowing 69 points per game.

The Mountaineers will provide a tough test on Friday for Villanova; if the WV manages to overwhelm Villanova’s players this may be the upset of the weekend.

In the end, this will be a close game that comes down to the last shot.

Pick: West Virginia

#3 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs #2 Purdue Boilermakers

  • When: March 22, 2018, 7:37 PM ET
  • Where: Staples Center
  • Spread: Michigan -2.5
  • Over/Under: 136

Texas Tech Analysis

The Red Raiders survived a potential upset against Florida in the last round and managed to pull off a 69-66 win over the Gators.

Team star Keenan Evans had 22 points and the tiebreaking 3-pointer against Florida with a little more than two minutes remaining. Evans scored 23 points in their first-round game. Freshman Zhaire Smith was also fantastic against the Gators, scoring 18 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists.

Now, they will have their attention focused on Purdue as they try to eliminate the second-seeded Boilermakers from the NCAA tournament.

The Red Raiders have been playing well on the defensive end and have held both their opponents to less than 70 points.

The Boilermakers have one of the best offenses in the country, but with Isaac Haas dealing with an elbow injury, their offense will likely struggle, giving the Red Raiders a good chance to win this game.

Purdue Analysis

The Boilermakers were one of the favorites to win the tournament, but Haas’ injury will make things more difficult for them.

The 7-foot-2 senior averaged 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks this season, but the Boilermakers are hoping 7-foot-3 freshman Matt Haarms can fill in his shoes, at least in height if anything.

The Boilermakers survived a scare against Butler in their last game after their 10-point lead disappeared late in the second half of their game.

Purdue will try to avoid putting themselves in a similar situation when they face Texas Tech. To do this, they’ll likely focus on their excellent shooting from beyond the arc.

Purdue has been an excellent 3-point shooting team all season, ranking second in the nation at 42.1 percent. And, the Boilermakers have been even better in the tournament, making 43.5 percent from the arc, led by Dakota Mathias (5-for-11) and Thompson (5-for-10).

Like the Red Raiders, the Boilermakers play very good defense and they will rely on it to get them past Texas Tech and into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2000.

Pick: Purdue