UPDATE: I’m updating the Live thread and bumping it up the page for anyone who still wants to use this as a Live Thread for the Elite 8.
We’ll use this as a Live thread for the next few days at least. If you want to continue to discuss the Parker Braun transfer or potential recruits, do it wherever you want, but we’ll consider this the live thread for the Sweet 16 AND Elite 8!
ELITE 8 GAMES
Houston (2) vs Oregon State (12) — 6:15 pm, CBS Monday
We’re not really going to see a 12 seed making the Final Four are we? Oregon State becomes just the second 12 seed in the Elite 8 and they join the richest of company in the University of Missouri Tigers. It was 2002, which don’t look now but that was 19 years ago... heh (feeling old now). Oregon State has been playing really well, but at some point the streak has to stop, and I’m betting Houston is the team to end it. Coogs!
Baylor (1) vs Arkansas (3) — 8:57 pm, CBS, Monday
After taking down Oral Roberts to win their first Sweet 16 game since 1995, Arkansas gets to face up against Baylor. The Bears were looking like a 1-seed last year before COVID stopped everything in it’s tracts, and then brought (nearly) everyone back. I’m not sure the Arkansas story is all that great from my own perspective, but that might be the rivalry talking. I think Scott Drew gets it done and Baylor goes to their first Final Four since Bill Henderson walked the sidelines in 1950. Coincidentally the Bears beat Arkansas in 1950 as well... it’s destiny.
Gonzaga (1) vs UCS (6) — 6:15 pm, TBS, Tuesday
As hard as I’ve been on Gonzaga this entire season, this is probably the only time I’ve been hesitant about them winning a game. USC is wildly under-seeded on the 6 line, and feature size and talent all over the place. They’ve beaten their last three opponents handily, so this should be a very good basketball game. I’m gonna stick with what I know and hold onto the Zags here.
Michigan (1) vs UCLA (11) — 8:57 pm, TBS, Tuesday
Juwan Howards success has spurned Indiana to hire their own alum with NBA ties in Mike Woodson. Rumors have Texas looking hard at Royal Ivey also... it’s become a trend. But Juwan took over a top 10 program with a ton of talent still on the roster. He’s fortified it and honed it and the Wolverines look great. So I’m gonna stick with my chalky picks here and go with the Fighting Block M’s.
Former Mizzou Opponents Edition:
Arkansas (3) vs Oral Roberts (15) — Razorbacks won
These two teams both lost to Mizzou this year, and Arkansas narrowly beat ORU earlier this season at Bud Walton. The familiarity with each other should be interesting, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’ll take Eric Musselman and the Hogs.
Alabama (2) vs UCLA (11) — UCLA won
Alabama blitzed Maryland from deep, and any time they’re making 12 or more 3’s they’ll run away with the game because their defense is so good. UCLA has been playing better but they haven’t faced a team who defends like Bama. I’m on the Tide.
USC (6) vs Oregon (7) — USC won
A Pac-12 matchup in the Sweet 16? Honestly either of these teams could make the Final Four based upon talent along. USC has depth and talent and length and they’re a top 15 offense plus a top 5 defense... As much as I enjoy this Oregon team and I think I trust Dana Altman more than Andy Enfield, I’m going to hop on the Trojan train and take the team with the most talented player, Evan Mobley.
The Other Games
Loyola (8) vs Oregon State (12) — Oregon State won
Loyola shouldn’t have been an 8 seed, and they just walked away from their matchup against Illinois unscathed. I think they’re the better team, and the Beavers have been mostly mediocre all year, I think their hot streak comes to a halt today.
Baylor (1) vs Villanova (5) — Baylor won
Villanova has been playing much better, but I’m not sure they have enough to beat Baylor. The Bears have looked much more like the team we expected to see all year after their COVID pause set them back. Scott Drew redemption tour continues.
Houston (2) vs Syracuse (11) — Houston won
Ugh, I’m so tired of double-digit seed Syracuse being in the sweet 16. So this pick is more hopeful, even though I’m not a huge Kelvin Sampson guy. Please knock ‘Cuse out of the tournament, Kelvin.
Gonzaga (1) vs Creighton (5) — Gonzaga won
It was a good story for a minute that Creighton got through the first weekend, but Gonzaga is on another level. I’m pretty sure the only thing stopping Gonzaga from getting to the Final Four would be COVID.
Michigan (1) vs Florida State (4) — Michigan won
The only true seeded matchup in the Sweet 16! Michigan looked a lot better than they have without Isaiah Livers against L$U and Will Wade, thankfully. The Wolverines will have to be on point if they want to get past Leonard Hamilton and his deep roster of long and athletic players. But I’m still a believer (despite me picking FSU in my bracket — ignore that).
Enjoy your Tournament action today, y’all. More Post-season coverage for the Tigers coming soon.