Last night was just too much fun, and thankfully there's more hoops to watch tonight as the rest of the Sweet 16 games take place.
A mix of Bryce Alford's hot shooting, a controversial goaltending call, and an upset by #14 UAB over #3 Iowa State set up the Bruins for an unexpected run to the Sweet 16. Many people including yours truly thought they didn't deserve to be in the tournament at all, yet here they are with a chance to make the Elite Eight. UCLA has the scorers to keep up with the Zags, but I don't think they'll be able to get enough stops when it matters. Look for the Zags to march on, and Bruins Nation to complain about another year of Alford.
Prediction: Gonzaga 78, UCLA 65
Louisville Cardinals v. NC State Wolfpack 7:47 - TBS
The only conference matchup of the Sweet 16 comes from the (majorly disappointing) ACC. The Wolfpack finally seem to be playing up to their talent level, and will look to pull another upset to advance to the Elite Eight. Louisville struggled down the stretch of the regular season after the dismissal of Chris Jones, but also seems to have turned things around in time for the tournament. The Pack won the regular season tilt at the YUM Center behind Cat Barber's 21 points. I could see this playing out either way, but ultimately, I trust Rick Pitino much more than Mark Gottfried.
Prediction: Louisville 64 NC State 57
Utah flew under the radar a bit this year as many believed the PAC-12 consisted of Arizona and nobody else. The Utes lack marquee wins this year (Wichita State in OT and BYU???), but they lost to just one non-tournament during the regular season. PG Delon Wright does it all leading the team in points and assists. That said, Duke's got too much talent, and unless Utah plays a perfect game and catches some breaks, it's hard to see them knocking off top seeded Duke.
Prediction: Duke 79, Utah 67
Oklahoma v. Michigan State - 10:07 ET - TBS
Tom Izzo pulled of a fourth straight run to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Virginia, while Oklahoma came back to beat upset minded Dayton in a de-facto road game in Columbus. The matchup between guards Travis Trice and Buddy Heid could end up deciding this one, and will be great to watch for neutrals. If Oklahoma brings their A-game, they should be able to handle whatever MSU throws at them, but since the Sooners have been so inconsistent this year, I'm taking the Spartans in an upset. Whoever wins will probably be the favorite to make the Final Four.
Prediction: Michigan State 61 Oklahoma 54