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NCAA Midwest Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

NCAA Midwest 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 Midwest Region Sweet 16 Bracket Analysis

#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #5 Clemson Tigers

  • When: March 23, 2018, 7:07 PM ET
  • Where: CenturyLink Center-NE
  • Spread: Kansas -4.5
  • Over/Under: 143

Kansas Analysis

The Jayhawks easily dispatched Penn in their first tournament game but struggled to defeat Seton Hall in the second round. Now, they will face a Clemson team fresh of an impressive upset of #4 Auburn.

The Jayhawks will be relying on their 29th ranked offense to help them get the win, but they will also need to play well on the defensive end against a Clemson team that put up 84 points in their 31-point beatdown of Auburn.

The bench came up big for Kansas; though Devonte’ Graham stalled, at least four of his teammates scored 10 points with Malik Newman accounting for 28.

Kansas finds itself in familiar circumstances; in the past two seasons, they’ve passed through to the Elite Eight.

If the Jayhawks can slow down Clemson’s offense, they will be able to advance to the Elite Eight and continue their quest for their second national championship in three years.

Clemson Analysis

The Tigers, who finished third in the ACC this season, flew under the radar for most of the year. However, after their impressive showing against Auburn, they are now considered a legitimate contender for the national championship.

Clemson went into halftime on a 25-4 run and had a 43-19 lead at the break over Auburn. The Tigers then cruised to an 84-53 victory as a 2-point underdog.

Key for the Tigers is their defense, one that managed to keep the high-scoring Auburn under wraps. Clemson has held opponents to under 65 points per game on average this year.

If anything else, this team has grit enough to see them through to the next round. Though the Tigers’ wins have been hard-fought, they’ve been relentless in getting this far.

Their offense is also nothing to sneer at, in fact, they have the fifth-best adjusted offensive efficiency in the country, according to kenpom.com.

The Tigers will face another big test on Thursday when they face the Jayhawks, but if they can play defense as well as they did against Auburn, they should be able to defeat the Jayhawks.

Pick: Clemson

#11 Syracuse Orange vs #2 Duke Blue Devils

  • When: March 23, 2018, 9:37 PM ET
  • Where: CenturyLink Center-NE
  • Spread: Duke -11.5
  • Over/Under: 133.5

Syracuse Analysis

The Orange pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the first weekend of the tournament, defeating Michigan State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Tyus Battle hit a hair-pulling three with 47 seconds left on the clock that sent the Orange into the Sweet 16.

The Orange, who barely made the tournament, dominated a Michigan State team that was considered to be one of the best teams head coach Tom Izzo ever coached.

Thanks to a smothering defense that held the Spartans to 53 points, their lowest offensive output of the year, Syracuse was able to control the outcome of the game to their favor.

Now, Jim Boeheim and his players will be trying to do the same thing to a Duke team that defeated them during the regular season.

During their regular season meeting, neither team shot the ball very well because they couldn’t figure out the zone defenses they were facing. However, freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III dominated the paint and helped Duke get the win.

This time around, both teams are expected to play zone defenses again, so expect another low scoring game.

If the Orange can figure out a way to slow Bagley down, they will give themselves a very good chance to win this game.

Duke Analysis

The Blue Devils find themselves in a very good position to win the tournament because two number ones have already been knocked out, and instead of facing a Michigan State team that would have tested them, they get to face a Syracuse team they beat once already and have dominated in recent
years.

However, the Blue Devils can’t afford to look past the Orange like the Spartans did if they don’t want to become the latest high seed to be knocked out of the tournament early.

The Blue Devils were great offensively during the regular season, but they were also a very good defensive team, which will be a problem for a Syracuse team that finished with one of the worst offenses in the country.

The Blue Devils own the sixth best scoring attack in the country, one that averages more than 84 points per game. They also keep on improving at the defensive end of the floor, too.

Pick: Duke