March Madness returns tonight with four of the eight Sweet 16 games. Junior editor Ryan Signorino recapped the opening rounds and made his projections moving forward. Today, senior Sean Taylor weighs in with predictions of his own.
Florida vs. UCLA
As Sir Charles said on Saturday, Patric Young is a grown man playing among boys. His strength in the post, compounded with Scottie Wilbekin’s ungodly handles and strong pick and roll play, makes me think it’ll be a tough day out for the UCLA Bruins, whose most defining weakness may be their relative softness. Though they’ve got some undeniably gifted scorers, against teams with any interior strength, they are often outmuscled and out-rebounded which come tournament time often means an early exit.
The pick: Florida
Dayton vs. Stanford
The 10 and 11 seed playing in the round of Sixteen? Egad! I’m taking the sturdy, durable midwesterners of Dayton over the frilly soft, Californians of Stanford. Ohio forever.
The pick: Dayton
Michigan St vs. Virginia
Virginia’s strong year comes to an end under the heels of Izzo’s Spartans. Adrien Payne shares Patric Young’s disposition towards size and strength, and with a very capable guard combo of Gary Harris Jr. and Keith Appling, I feel MSU has got a bit of a lock on this one.
The pick: Michigan State
Iowa St. vs. UConn
Iowa St., when healthy, is a better team, but with their best rim protector going down with a tournament ending injury, the onus will be on the rest of ISU’s relatively flimsy defense to stop Shabazz Napier and the high-scoring Huskies. I don’t think they’re up to it.
The pick: UConn
Arizona vs. San Diego State
As much as I’d like to pick an upset here and take an SDS squad that seems poised to surprise, I’m giving this one to Arizona. They are just too strong and too athletic to get out-gritted by the feisty Aztecs.
The pick: Arizona
Wisconsin vs. Baylor
Though Baylor’s zone is mighty, and Isaiah Austin presents a ton of matchup problems, I’m taking the Badgers here. They’re tough, fearless, and have the potential to shoot the lights out.
The pick: Wisconsin
Kentucky vs. Louisville
Pitino indeed cannot be stopped. The Wildcats’ tournament run comes to a screeching halt against the fast paced, experienced group of kids from Louisville.
The pick: Louisville
Michigan vs. Tennessee
The Vols’ surprising run comes to halt when faced with the tremendous shooting of Michigan. Wolverines take it.
The pick: Michigan