Top 10 Sweet Sixteen Picks: 2012 Tournament
Top 10 Sexy Sweet Sixteen Picks
Its one thing to pick a few first round upsets (here are 10 likely ones), its a whole other thing picking cinderella sweet sixteen teams. Every good bracket has at least one surprise sweet sixteen team (if not two), so here are the 10 best ones to choose from:
10 #12 VCU
Can last year's Cinderella team do it again? In a different spot, I'd think they'd have a much better chance to make a run, but Wichita St might be the best of the 5 seeds. VCU arguably deserved to be a 10 seed considering their top 40 RPI and strong finish. If VCU can get past Wichita St, then Indiana in the 2nd round might actually be an easier game.
9 #14 BYU/Iona
The odds of either of these teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen is obviously hurt by the fact they'd need to win an extra game. But these teams are really 11 or 12 seeds that got knocked down to 14 because of scheduling issues. Both of these teams run high-octane, high-tempo offenses and thus should fare well against a Marquette team that plays a similar style.
8 #11 Texas
While Cincinnati had a good run in the Big East tournament, they're more than capable of flaming out early in the Big Dance. Texas has a lot of losses, but most of them are to Top 30 teams, and the computer rankings say that Cincinnati is not a Top 30 team. The biggest thing holding Texas back is a lack of 3-pt shooting.. if they happen to find a hot streak and J'Covan Brown is on his A game, the Sweet Sixteen is easily possible
7 #12 Harvard
With wins over Florida St and St. Joseph's, Harvard has shown ability to beat post-season quality teams. Facing Vanderbilt in the first round is not a bad draw for Harvard, considering Kevin Stalling's teams have been known to fizzle out in the NCAA Tournament. A potential second round matchup with Wisconsin seems favorable as the Badgers tempo plays right into Harvard's style.
6 #12 Long Beach St
Long Beach St lost to Top 5 teams North Carolina and Kansas by just 6 and 8 points in true road games. That shows you how dangerous the 49ers are. Point guard Casper Ware was hot in the Big West tournament, and he has the ability to dominate a game. If Long Beach St could somehow top New Mexico, they might even be favored in the next match against Louisville or Davidson.
5 #13 Ohio
Two years ago, Ohio won a first round game against Georgetown, and their opening game against Michigan seems quite similar. Guard DJ Cooper has star potential, but his scoring ability is highly eratic. When he's on, Ohio can be extremely dangeorus.
4 #11 NC State
Appropriately seeded in the 11 range, NC St takes on San Diego St to start things off. According to KenPom.com and other similar computer ratings, NC State is actually ranked higher than the Aztecs. In a sense, the ratings suggest this is really a battle between two 11 seeds, exemplified by the game's 1 point spread. Lurking beyond San Diego St is Georgetown, arguably the weakest of the 3 seeds.
3 #14 Belmont
Many thought Belmont had an outside shot at the Top 25 this year, but they lost a couple close games early before finding their groove late in the season. The A-Sun champs are feared due to their highly efficient offense. Georgetown rarely loses to lesser teams, but their zone could play into Belmont's hands. The winner of this game faces San Diego St or NC State.. Las Vegas could easily favor Belmont against either of those two.
2 #13 Davidson
Davidson faces West #4 seed Louisville to open things up. Louisville used stifling defense to win the Big East tournament, but yet somehow they seem vulnerable. The Cardinals tend to play a lot of close games, and although they tend to win those game, it always keeps the door open for a potential upset. If Davidson manages to squeeze by, they'd face the winner of Long Beach St and New Mexico.
1 #14 Saint Bonaventure
The Bonnies, led by star Andrew Nicholson, face East Region #3 FSU to start things off. Despite winning the ACC title, FSU has shown a willingness to play down to opponents, and Leonard Hamilton teams have lost in the first round two of the last three years. A potential second round matchup with either Cincinnati or Texas looms, but neither of those teams strike fear into anybody.