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March Madness Sweet 16 Picks and Predictions

If you haven’t filled in your selections for our Sweet 16 Bracket Contest, there’s still time, but not much. Remember, there are loads of great prizes waiting for the winners to claim. Here’s where you can register


In case you’re still thinking about your selections, we’ve come up with our analysis on the upcoming games. Let’s get started.

Virginia Cavaliers vs Iowa State Cyclones

  • Time: Friday, March 25, 2016 7:10 PM ET
  • Place: United Center

Bet on the Virginia Cavaliers

Malcolm Brogdon kicked into high gear against Butler and wound up scoring 22 points in that game that finished 77-69.

If Virginia can keep up that pace, they could score big on Iowa State’s shaky defense. Averaging 79 points per game, should give you an indication of what could happen to a Cyclones’ defense that’s allowed 87 points over the last two games.

The Cavaliers’ defense is also playing extremely well and could be the difference in Virginia’s victory. Because although the Cyclones have one of the best offenses in the nation, the Cavaliers could shut it down. Virginia is allowing around 59.5 PPG with opponents shooting just above 46%.

Bet on the Iowa State Cyclones

The Cyclones have cruised to the Sweet 16 without too much resistance, beating Iona, 94-81, and Arkansas-Little Rock, 78-61, last Saturday.

Virginia is a different story however and the Cyclones offense could face problems in setting up their rhythm. However, if they can open up the court and get the ball up close to the rim, they should be able to do plenty of damage because Virginia is weak at defending the rim.

Our Pick: Virginia passes through.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time: Friday, March 25, 2016 10:40 PM ET
  • Place: Wells Fargo Center

Bet on North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina’s big man, Brice Johnson, has pushed opponents around, allowing North Carolina to pretty much cut through opponents without too much resistance. However, that might end as the competition gets tougher and opposing teams have their own big man to rival Johnson.

North Carolina has an advantage however, because they’ve been getting good performances from Joel Berry, Justin Jackson and Marcus Paige. Johnson himself racked up his 21st double-double for the Tar Heels this season, with 21 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in their last game, while Berry scored 15 of his own and Jackson an additional 15 points.

These four players have been great for the Tar Heels this season, adding double figures throughout the entire year. They’ll need the same performance against Indiana if they want to pass to the Elite Eight.

Bet on the Indiana Hoosiers

The game against Kentucky was a hair-pulling affair. Though trailing by five at the end of the first half, the Hoosiers refused to lose and eventually won by six, 73-67.

Yogi Ferrell once again rose to the occasion with 18 points, 5 boards and 4 assists. The rest of the team also had a decent performance which contributed to the victory.

It was Indiana’s defensive effort however that led to the victory. The Hoosiers kept Kentucky to 4-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc and shut down Jamal Murray. They also forced Kentucky to commit 16 costly turnovers which eventually led to breaking up the Wildcats’ flow.

Our Pick: It’s North Carolina.

Miami Hurricanes vs Villanova Wildcats

  • Time: Thursday, March 24, 2016 7:10 PM ET
  • Place: KFC Yum! Center

Bet on the Miami Hurricanes

Miami hasn’t made it this far in this competition in their program’s history. Though hard-fought, they managed a win against their first two opponents, Buffalo and Wichita State, with great performances from Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan.

Rodriguez averaged 26 points, while McClellan put up 19 points in the first two games. Miami’s defense will be key to beating Villanova, the Canes were able defeat Duke and Notre Dame, holding them to 70 points or fewer in conference play this season.

Bet on the Villanova Wildcats

That Villanova hasn’t made it to this point in the competition in a very long time, shouldn’t take away from the job they’ve done this year. That they cut through their first two opponents should be an indication they’re here to compete, regardless of how weak these opponents were.

This game against Miami will be the true test however; if history proves right, they might have reached the end of their line. Villanova hasn’t been successful at winning against non-conference opponents, losing against Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Seton Hall.

Our Pick: Villanova wins.

Wisconsin Badgers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Time: Friday, March 25, 2016 7:27 PM ET
  • Place: Wells Fargo Center

Bet on Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers upset Xavier with a game-winning three pointer by Bronson Koenig. Koenig led with 20 points and seven rebounds. However, to win against the Irish only through Koenig’s efforts might not cut it. Nigel Hayes will have to kick it up a notch if they’re to have a shot at passing through.

Bet on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Rex Pflueger tipped the ball in right before the buzzer to defeat the Lumberjacks on Sunday which allowed the Irish to pass through to the Sweet 16. 

This team has steadily improved over the first two games, led by Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, who scored 18 points and 16 points respectively. The onus will fall on these two player’s shoulders once again and they’re going to have to pull out all the stops to defeat the Badgers. 

Our Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Duke Blue Devils vs Oregon Ducks

  • Time: Thursday, March 24, 2016 10:55 PM ET
  • Place: Honda Center

Bet on the Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils defeated Yale in their last game, led by Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram, who combined for 54 points.

Duke has been a powerful offensive team, ranking 17th in points per game and fourth in adjusted offensive efficiency. Relying so heavily on Allen and Ingram to get the job done might make them vulnerable against the Ducks. They’ll need the contribution of big man Marshall Plumlee and Luke Kennard to win this game.

Bet on the Oregon Ducks

The Ducks crushed their first opponent, Holy Cross, but just barely made it past their second game against Saint Joseph, beating them by five points.

They should be able to fare better game against Duke however and are evenly matched to win it. Dillon Brooks, Elgin Cook and Tyler Dorsey are all capable up kicking into gear when needed

Our Pick: It’s the Ducks for us.

Maryland Terrapins vs Kansas Jayhawks

  • Time: Thursday, March 24, 2016 9:40 PM ET
  • Place: KFC Yum! Center

Bet on the Maryland Terrapins

The Terrapins beat Hawaii on Sunday and passed through to the Sweet 16. However, they’re up against the top seed Kansas Jayhawks and it’s going to be hard to make it any further.

Romelo Delante "Melo" Trimble, put up 24 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field against Hawaii. Trimble leads Maryland in scoring, assists and steals and is the motor that powers the Terrapins’ offense.

They’ve also received decent performances from Diamond Stone, Robert Carter, Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon.

Bet on the Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks crushed Connecticut on Saturday, winning by a score of 73-61. Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis led,  putting up 22 points and seven rebounds and 21 points and with eight rebounds respectively. 

Both Jayhawks’ star players have more than enough to take it to the Maryland defense that’s allowing 66.5 points per game this season, which is 49th in the entire nation.

Our Pick: Kansas Jayhawks

Texas A&M Aggies vs Oklahoma Sooners

  • Time: Thursday, March 24, 2016 7:37 PM ET
  • Place: Honda Center

Bet on the Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in March Madness history, when they managed to score 12 points and take the game to double overtime for the eventual win.

Alex Caruso and Danuel House combined for 47 points and led the team to victory. However, though the victory was impressive, they’ll need a solid defensive effort to stop the Sooners’ prolific offense.

Bet on the Oklahoma Sooners

Buddy Hield has been great for the Sooners and led this team to their two wins in the first games. Heild has averaged 31.5 points and is shooting 45.0 percent from three-point territory over both games.

Oklahoma is also getting great outputs from Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard and Ryan Spangler, who are all putting up double-digits in points this season. Woodard put up 17 points, four boards and four dimes in the game against VCU. While Cousins racked up a total of 31 points, six assists and four three-pointers in his previous two games.

Our Pick: The Aggies pass.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs Syracuse Orange

  • Time: Friday, March 25, 2016 9:40 PM ET
  • Place: United Center

Bet on the Gonzaga Bulldogs

Domantas Sabonis, Eric McClellan and Josh Perkins make the Bulldogs a balanced team that’s deadly effective in winning games. All of these players are scoring above 10 points per game on average.

Sabonis put up another double-double, in their win over third-seed Utah. Meanwhile, McClellan notched a game-high 22 points in that same game.

The Bulldogs are also great on defense, that could put a lid on Michael Gbinije, who is averaging 17.6 points this season.

Bet on the Syracuse Orange

The Syracuse Orange bet their first two opponents convincingly by 44 points combined. Much of the responsibility is on Trevor Cooney as the third-leading scorer. Cooney scored in double-digits in the past two games, including 12 points, six boards and four dimes in the win against the Blue Raiders.

Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije have also proved to be effective in scoring points. Richardson racked up 21 points in the game against Dayton, while Gbinije put up 23 points against Middle Tennessee.

Our Pick: Syracuse Orange.

There you have them, all our Sweet 16 picks, make sure to grab them while their hot and get your own picks in for the Bracket Contest.