#2 West Virginia Mountaineers
#11 Washington Huskies
Vegas Odds: Wext Virginia -4
Why Watch? Perhaps no team comes into the Sweet Sixteen riding a better wave of confidence than Washington, who has won 9 straight and has been shooting the lights out. They face a WVU squad built to ruin a team's confidence.
How West Virginia Got Here: WVU 68 - Missouri 59
How Washington Got Here: Washington 82 - New Mexico 64
Why Washington will win:
Washington's been in a groove in recent games thanks to hot shooting from the floor and behind the arc (over 50% in the tourney so far). The Huskies overall defensive numbers don't look great, but that's because their 10th in tempo, so they can defend better then you think. This will come in particularly handy against WVU team that can struggle at times offensively.
Husky to Watch:
Isaiah Thomas, G - 17 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg
While Quincy Pondexter is UW's best player, Thomas is often the X-factor. Despite being about a 30% 3-pt shooter over his career, he's hit 7 of 12 threes in the tourney and has a been a big reason why the Huskies are such an offensive groove. If he goes cold again, defending the Huskies is much easier.
Why West Virginia will win:
While UW is hot, its not like WVU is entering on a down note. They've won 8 straight as well, including the Big East tournament, and have an overall resume that makes Washington look like a 3rd rate team.
Mountaineer to Watch:
Devin Ebanks, F - 12 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 apg
Da'Sean Butler is Mr. Consistent, but you never quite know what you're going to get out of Ebanks. Most of his big games have been against lesser opponents (Morgan St, Seton Hall, South Florida, etc) and he's had some duds in big games.
How it will go down:
It's hard to pick against such a hot UW team, but this is easily the Huskies toughest opponent yet. Don't forget that UW barely escaped against Marquette, and eventually their hot-shooting will come to an end.
Betting Pick: West Virginia
Real Pick: West Virginia