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2011 Sweet 16 Matchup Betting Preview

2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- Sweet 16 Predictions

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The expanded field of 68 teams has been whittled down to the Sweet 16 after three rounds of games and as expected there have been a number of blowouts, bracket-busting upsets, and some classic buzzer-beating victories. Three of the four No.1 seeds have advanced as well as five double-digit seeds. Here is a brief look at this Thursday and Friday’s matchups along with the current odds as provided by Sportsbook.com.

Thursday, March 24

West Region – No.2 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No.3 Connecticut Huskies (-1)
Over/Under 129.5

The San Diego State Aztecs, out of the Mountain West Conference, hammered No.15 seed Northern Colorado 68-50 in the second round as a 14 ½-point favorite and got by No. 7 seed Temple 71-64 in overtime as a 5 ½-point favorite in the third round. Look for Kawhi Leonard and Billy White to once again lead the scoring for the Aztecs.

Connecticut demolished No. 14 seed Bucknell 81-52 in the second round as a 10-point favorite and knocked-off out No.6 seed Cincinnati 69-58 as a 3 ½-point favorite in the third. Kemba Walker has scored a total of 51 points in the first two games.

San Diego State will struggle to contain Walker as the Huskies advance to the Elite Eight.

Southeast Region – No.3 BYU Cougars vs. No.2 Florida Gators (2.5)
Over/Under 149

BYU beat No. 14 Wofford 74-66 as an 8 ½-point favorite and hammered No. 11 Gonzaga 89-67 as a one-point favorite. Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points and added six assists in the win over the Bulldogs.

Florida opened things up with 79-51 win over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara in the second round as a 12 ½-point favorite and followed it up with 73-65 victory over UCLA as a 5 ½-point favorite in the third round. Reaves Nelson and Joshua Smith came up big against the Bruins with 16 points each.

Another huge effort by Fredette advances the Cougars onto the next round.

West Region – No.5 Arizona Wildcats vs. No.1 Duke Blue Devils (-8.5)
Over/Under 145

Arizona had to sweat out a two-point 77-75 victory over No.12 Memphis as a 5 ½-point favorite in its first game only to find itself back in the grinder in a 70-69 victory over No.4 Texas in the third round as a 5 ½-point underdog. Derrick Williams scored a team-high 17 points in the win over the Longhorns.

Duke crushed No.16 seed Hampton 87-45 as a 25-point favorite in the second round but had to hold off Michigan 73-71 as a 12 ½-point favorite in the third round. Kyrie Irving’s return to the lineup after missing most of the season due to injury will certainly help the Blue Devils chances in this game but Nolan Smith remains the key to the win.

Duke starts getting serious about its national title defense with a convincing win over the Wildcats.

Southeast Region – No.8 Butler Bulldogs vs. No.4 Wisconsin Badgers (-4)
Over/Under 124

Butler needed a last second tip-in to pull out a 60-58 win over No.9 Old Dominion as a one-point underdog, but became a bracket-buster with a 71-70 victory over No.1 seed Pittsburgh as an eight-point underdog. This team is starting to look more and more like the one that went all the way to the finals last season.

Wisconsin took care of No.13 Belmont in the second round with a 72-58 win as a four-point favorite. The Badgers advanced to the Sweet 16 with a solid 70-65 win over No.5 Kansas State as a 3 ½-point favorite. Jon Leuer led the way over the Wildcats with 19 points.

Wisconsin has looked impressive but the dream continues for the Bulldogs for at least one more round.

Friday, March 25

East Region – No.11 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No.2 North Carolina Tar Heels (-5)
Over/Under 148

Marquette knocked-off No.6 seed Xavier 66-55 as a one point favorite in the second round and then upset No.3 Syracuse 66-62 as a 4 ½-point underdog in the third round to join Connecticut as the only two teams in the Sweet 16 from the Big East.

North Carolina beat No.15 Long Island in a 102-87 romp as an 18 ½-point favorite, but had its hands full against No.7 Washington in an 86-83 victory as a four-point favorite. Tyler Zeller’s game-high 23 points led the way for the Tar Heels against the Huskies.

The Golden Eagles keep things close enough to cover the five-point spread, but the Tar Heels advance.

Southwest Region – No.12 Richmond Spiders vs. No.1 Kansas Jayhawks (-10.5)
Over/Under 138

Richmond ousted No.5 Vanderbilt 69-66 as a three point underdog in the second round and then ended Morehead State’s dream of a second straight upset with a 65-48 win as a 4 ½-point favorite. Justin Harper led the way for the Spiders with a game-high 19 points against the Eagles.

Kansas posted two routine wins with a 72-53 rout over No.16 Boston University as a 23 ½-point favorite and a 73-59 win over No.9 Illinois as an eight-point favorite. Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 41 of Kansas’s 73 points in the win.

Kansas does not slip up like last year and ends Richmond’s run with a double-digit victory.

East Region – No.4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes (-5)
Over/Under 138.5

Kentucky outlasted a very persistent No.13 Princeton team 59-57 in the second round as a 12 ½-point favorite and then knocked another Big East team out of the tournament with a 84-76 win over West Virginia as a 3 ½-point favorite.

Ohio State hardly broke a sweat in a 75-46 win over No.16 UT-San Antonio 75-46 as a 24 ½-point favorite. It was pretty much the same case in its 98-66 romp over No.9 George Mason as an 11 ½-point favorite. Look for Jared Sullinger, who has been relatively quiet so far, to play a much bigger role in this game.

The youthful Wildcats finally hit the wall against the deeper and more talented Buckeyes.

Southwest Region – No.11 VCU Rams vs. No.10 Florida State Seminoles (-4)
Over/Under 133

VCU, out of the CAA made the most of the selection committee’s decision to award it an at-large bid by winning three games to advance to the Sweet 16 including a 74-56 rout over No.6 Georgetown as a 5 ½-point favorite and a 94-76 beatdown of No.3 Purdue as a 9 ½-point underdog.

VCU keeps making a statement against its critics with an impressive victory over Florida State.

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David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.


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