Results yesterday were pretty fun eh?
In a small way, perhaps watching 1-seeded Illinois get handled by criminally under-seeded Loyola of Chicago cleansed the palate for many Missouri fans. That being the opening game and result set the tone a bit. But it was overall a good day for Mizzou’s rooting interests:
Arkansas wins? Eh, good for the SEC I guess, and at least Mizzou beat them this year.
Oral Roberts lost to Mizzou by 27 points, Florida lost to Mizzou by 2, ORU beat Florida by 3.
So the Midwest Region Sweet 16 is: Loyola vs Oregon State, and Houston vs Syracuse. Sure, why not?
Meanwhile the South Region Sweet 16 is: Baylor vs Villanova (probably more intriguing if Collin Gillespie is playing), and Arkansas vs Oral Roberts. lol
Arkansas beat ORU earlier this year, but the Golden Eagles held a 10 point lead at halftime. This tournament has been weird. So lets keep the weirdness going, eh?
Onto today’s games!
Former Mizzou Opponents Edition:
Iowa (2) vs Oregon (7) — 11:10 am, CBS
So far there has been one cancelled game in the tournament, and Oregon was the beneficiary. The Ducks, who Missouri beat back on December 2nd, are 20-6 and won the Pac-12. Iowa is an offensive powerhouse led by All American Luka Garza. This game has the potential to be the most entertaining of the day. Since my picks were so good yesterday... * eye roll * I’ll keep up the streak here and take the Ducks.
Gonzaga (1) vs Oklahoma (8) — 1:40 pm, CBS
This is the game Missouri would have been playing in if they’d have won on Saturday. Not only do you get a quick turnaround, but you get to take on the Murder-Death Machine known as the Zags offense. In the words of Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox in the Dark Knight, staring at a man who’s plan was to blackmail Bruce Wayne... “Well, good luck!” Give me the Zags.
Michigan (1) vs LSU ($8) — 6:10 pm, CBS
Regardless of how I feel about Will Wade, this is a fascinating matchup. LSU is powered to score points, and Michigan runs the 8th most efficient offense AND the 6th most efficient defense. LSU has been prone to some defensive miscues, so this game could feature a LOT of points. And that’s kind of fun right? The B1G has taken it a little on the chin here so far, and even though I picked LSU in my bracket (Sweet 16 banners are more fun to vacate than a simple first round win), I’m reversing course and going with the Wolverines.
Alabama (2) vs Maryland (10) — 7:45 pm, TNT
Can the Nate Oats as offensive wizard media tour continue? (he says mockingly) Alabama is great not because they take a ton of 3s but because they defend their asses off. Maryland is a bit of an okay team with a solid cast of players, but I’m not sure they have enough offensive firepower to overcome the Tide’s very excellent defense. And then if Alabama makes their shots... it’s good night. I’ll take Alabama.
The Other games
UCLA (11) vs Abilene Christian (14) — 4:15 pm, TBS
I wonder how many brackets have this matchup. Abilene Christian is fresh off their huge upset of Texas and these games seem to go one of two ways. They either regroup quickly and give UCLA a helluva game, or they are hungover and a quickly dismissed. There doesn’t seem to be any room in the middle. UCLA is legitimately good, though not great, but led by Mick Cronin and they played some very good basketball down the stretch in dismissing Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans. I’m on UCLA.
Creighton (5) vs Ohio (13) — 5:10 pm, TNT
In one of the few upsets I correctly predicted, the Ohio Bobcats slew the reigning National Champion Virginia Cavaliers who were coming off a COVID pause and walking nearly straight into a tournament game. That’s...uh, hard to do. The Bobcats are led by Jason Preston, who has a great back story (just google it, I don’t have time for a full recap here), and Creighton is coming off a very narrow win over UC-Santa Barbara. So this should be a good one. I’ll stick with chaos and take Ohio to win.
Florida State (4) vs Colorado (5) — 6:45 pm, TBS
What’s this? Two teams who were the favored seeds and both won their opening round game? Is that allowed? I don’t have a ton of insight here, Colorado played great and made a ton of shots against Georgetown. So because they flew through their matchup, and FSU had to fight through theirs, I’m picking Leonard Hamilton because I’m hopeful he is what Zo will become.
Kansas (3) vs USC (6) — 8:40 pm, CBS
If you weren’t paying attention you might not notice that USC is actually favored in this game. They’re incredibly long and athletic and TOP 10 IN KENPOM. Seriously how did they land on the 6 line? Kansas meanwhile has played really good defense late in the season, but they’re still prone to shooting blanks offensively, and USC can make those struggles worse with their length. It’s hard betting against Bill Self honestly, as much as we hate him in these parts he’s just a damn good basketball coach... especially when the other sideline has Andy Enfield. But USC has the best player on the court, and Evan Mobley is a matchup nightmare for the Jayhawks. I’ll hop on the USC hype train.
Enjoy your Tournament action today, y’all. More Post-season coverage for the Tigers coming soon.