March Madness is hotting up. Al Dannity is here to break down the four Sweet Sixteen games taking place on Thursday, giving his picks on who survives to play another day.
First on the docket it’s the Marquette Golden Eagles against Miami. After a titanic tussle with Butler, the questions that surrounded Marquette seem to be gone. The Hurricanes were everybody’s sexy pick to blow out early. So far, they’ve looked anything but a team that’s in for a short stay. Remember, their coach has taken a far less talented team to the Final Four before. Now Jim Larranaga has a veteran-laden Miami line-up at his disposal. This one is all about the U. I like Miami to keep on dancing.
The Wildcats surprised me twice in their first appearance of March Madness but they haven’t done enough to make me board this train. While Ohio State needed a little help from the officials to get past Iowa State, they are still smoking and Thad Matta’s side has a habit of following up narrow escapes with big displays. While I like the Wildcats to keep this one close, I can’t see them stopping the Buckeyes on Thursday. Ohio State to make the Elite Eight.
The game of the night pits Syracuse against Indiana. It’s easy to feel like cooling on the Hoosiers after their narrow escape last time out. The Big Ten team however remains the best all-round outfit for my money. The Orange are talented but they have holes and you’ve got to plug those in March. That’s going to be real hard with Victor Oladipo on the floor. I honestly don’t think this one will be close. Tom Crean is on a mission and he knows this may be his best chance for a few years to make a Final Four. Give me Indiana all the way.
Finally we come to the battle of the underdogs. Wichita State knocked off Gonzaga, leading to groans from the usual bores about how the Zags should never have been 1 seeds. Give me, and Wichita State a break. Did you see these guys play? They out-toughed Pitt, not many teams do that against a Jamie Dixon squad. Then they bullied Gonzaga. This is a good team, worthy of the Sweet Sixteen. In La Salle they face an opponent that can match them for grit. The Explorers were my pick of the best hope of a First Four team to make the Final Four. I also said they’d need a lot of help. Guess what, they’ve got almost every break they need. I’m not jumping off this train now. I’m too proud and also pretty confident. La Salle to keep on dancing.
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