March Madness: Outrageous Predictions for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight

Now that all of our brackets are busted, let's regroup and get ready for even more outrageousness.

Well, that was fun. Buzzer beaters, blown leads, upsets and blowouts dominated the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. As always, very little of it went according to plan.

 

Now that all of our brackets — just like I told you they would be last week — are trash, we can just sit back and enjoy March Madness stress-free (unless your favorite team is still alive). We still have double-digit seeds to root for. We still have blue bloods to root against. And we still have plenty more outrageousness to come this weekend, as the final 16 teams try to punch their tickets for the Final Four in Houston.

 

Outrageous Predictions for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight

 

Buzzer beaters will be absent during the Sweet 16

We had overtime games, last-second tip-ins and half-court heaves during the first four days of action. They'll all take this next round off. The Sweet 16 games are all about matchups that are going to yield sound victories. If you're the type who just tunes in for the last couple of minutes because that's when the games are decided, you'll be out of luck and subjected to nothing but an exchange of pointless free throws.

 

Only one ACC team advances to the Elite Eight

The ACC is getting a ton of love right now on the back of sending six teams to the Sweet 16. The lovefest ends Thursday and Friday, as only one ACC squad will make it to the Elite 8. Take a look:

 

Indiana vs. North Carolina — Indiana is having a great Tournament. The Hoosiers are more physical than the Tar Heels, and this game will get physical. Then there are the intangibles. Yogi Ferrell can will the Hoosiers to the Final Four if he needs to. Hoosiers win.

 

Villanova vs. Miami — The Hurricanes had the luxury of playing two teams with inferior athletes during the first two rounds. Now come the Wildcats, who are more than capable of matching up with Miami athletically. On top of that, from a basketball IQ standpoint, there aren't many squads smarter than Jay Wright's Villanova team. Look for the Wildcats to roll.

 

Oregon vs. Duke — The Ducks were tested against St. Joseph's and showed their resiliency. Now they bring their talent and depth into a matchup with Duke. Oregon is as complete as any team Duke has faced all season. The Ducks will run. They'll slow it down and play half court. And thanks to their head coach Dana Altman, they'll play every bit as smart as the Blue Devils. Depth will be the difference here as Oregon gets the win.

 

Iowa State vs. Virginia — The Cyclones are going to give Virginia trouble with their size and athleticism. Virginia struggled at times with Butler, a team much less athletic than Iowa State. Iowa State has shown no signs so far of not being ready for the moment, dispatching two inferior opponents with ease thus far. The Cyclones welcome a stiffer test from Virginia and are ready to send the Cavaliers back to Charlottesville empty-handed.

 

Gonzaga vs. Syracuse — Syracuse caught a Dayton team that probably did not have the skill set to break the 2-3 defense. The Orange followed that game up with a snoozer against Middle Tennessee thanks to the Blue Raiders' upset of Michigan State. Gonzaga is a different animal. The Bulldogs are smarter and more athletic than either of Syracuse's opponents thus far in the Tournament. On top of that, they have solid big men — something that helps when you face a tough 2-3 zone. Discipline wins this game, and Gonzaga is infinitely more disciplined than the Orange.

 

Notre Dame will be the only ACC team to move on to the Elite Eight, as the Fighting Irish are the only team with a distinct advantage in both style of play and actual matchups. They should pull away from Wisconsin permanently before the 10-minute mark of the second half.

 

The No. 1 seeds will all be eliminated prior to the Final Four

I said it last week and I'm sticking by it. Two of the No. 1 seeds are from the ACC and I just told you how North Carolina and Virginia will lose in the Sweet 16. Oklahoma will end Oregon's run in the Elite Eight, while Kansas may not even make it past Maryland to play Villanova. If the Jayhawks do, you could argue that Villanova would be the best team outside of Oklahoma that Bill Self's group has faced all year. The Wildcats have playmakers all over the court that Kansas will struggle to match up with for 40 minutes.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the owner of KnowItAllFootball.com and host of "Raising the Bar" on RadiOmaha.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

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