NCAA Tournament: Thursday Sweet Sixteen Preview

March 26th, 2009

So many games, so little time. helps you out by cutting to the core of each Tournament game. Click on team names for stats, results, and more. "Matchup" links include helpful injury news, betting tips and information.


Sweet Sixteen: Thursday



Purdue vs Connecticut



Favored: UCONN by 7

Over/Under: 134.5

More: Matchup


Star Watch: JaJuan Johnson has been key to Purdue's early wins (18 ppg on 60% shooting). He'll have his hands full against UCONN's front line.

Nutshell: UCONN destroyed two lesser opponents, while Purdue squeaked by in two hard-fought wins.

At Stake: The last time UCONN didn't at least make the Elite Eight for three straight seasons was all the way back in 1992. Impressive.

CHN Prediction: UCONN (75% certainty)


Looming next: Memphis/Missouri


Announcers: Dick Enberg/Jay Bilas

Watchability: Two options here. A) UCONN Wins by 15+. B) Purdue wins a defensive slugfest that bores half the viewing public.



Xavier vs Pittsburgh



Favored: Pittsburgh by 7

Over/Under: 139

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Levance Fields showed signs of life against OSU after struggling against ETSU. Xavier has no PG to counter him.

Nutshell: Xavier beat two NIT-quality teams to get here, but is finally welcomed to the Big Dance.

At Stake: For all the talk about the rise of Pitt basketball, the Panthers haven't been to the Elite Eight since 1974.

CHN Prediction: Pittsburgh (70% certainty)


Looming next: Duke/Villanova


Announcers: Verne Lundqusit/Bill Raftery

Watchability: Pitt has yet to put away either of their opponents, which could cost them against a pesky Xavier squad.



Missouri vs Memphis



Favored: Memphis by 5

Over/Under: 141.5

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Who is Kim English, and how has the Missouri freshman averaged 15 ppg in just 23 minutes of tourney action?

Nutshell: Memphis gives up 57 ppg. Missouri scores 81. Something's got to give.

At Stake: An Elite Eight trip would be an amazing accomplishment for a Mizzou squad that couldn't even make the NIT in Mike Anderson's first two seasons.

CHN Prediction: Memphis (51% certainty)


Looming next: UCONN


Announcers: Enberg/Bilas

Watchability: Memphis has lost to the only Top 20 RPI teams they've faced this year. Will their big winning streak prove to be a fluke?



Villanova vs Duke



Favored: Duke by 2

Over/Under: 148

More: Matchup


Star Watch: Villanova leader Scottie Reynolds has been in a major slump (7 ppg in 3 games) and needs to break out.

Nutshell: A win by Villanova here would prove definitively that the Big East is far and away the best league in 2009.

At Stake: Duke has only been to the Elite Eight once since the 2001 Championship. A loss here would just prove the doubters right.

CHN Prediction: Duke (60%)


Looming next: Pittsburgh


Announcers: Lundqusit/Raftery

Watchability: (CBS saved what should be the most entertaining game for last. )