March Madness: 3 Potential Sweet 16 Upsets
It’s officially time to throw out the records, as the NCAA Tournament is down to 16 teams. We have already seen major upsets in the rounds of 64 and 32, and there are still multiple Cinderella teams still alive. It’s safe to say that we likely haven’t seen the last upset of the 2015 Big Dance.
With that, here is a look at three potential upsets in the Sweet 16 round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
1. Notre Dame over Wichita State
Point Spread: Wichita State favored by 2 points
If you were judging this game strictly by seeding, this wouldn’t be considered an upset. As we have learned though, at this point in the Big Dance, seeding is irrelevant. Wichita State is coming off of impressive wins over Indiana and Kansas in their first two tournament games, but Notre Dame is going to be their most difficult test of the season. The Irish have two stellar guards in Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson that are going to give the Shockers major headaches in this game. And if sharpshooter Pat Connaughton is knocking down threes, Notre Dame will be tough to beat. Additionally, Irish big man Zach Auguste presents another mismatch, and should have his way with the Wichita State frontcourt. Don’t be surprised to see Notre Dame end Wichita State’s Cinderella run and advance to the Elite Eight.
2. N.C. State over Louisville
Point Spread: Louisville favored by 3 points
N.C. State knocked off Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East region, while Louisville is coming off of an impressive win over Northern Iowa in the round of 32. The Cardinals played one of their best games of the season against the Panthers, and they were the more consistent regular season team, but that may not matter in this Sweet 16 matchup. Rick Pitino was forced to dismiss one of his best players, guard Chris Jones, earlier this season, and the Cardinals have yet to find an adequate player to replace Jones’s production.
The Wolfpack, on the other hand, have proven time and time again that they can play with, and beat, any team in the country when they are playing up to their potential. They beat the Cardinals 74-65 earlier this season, so they should be coming into this game with full confidence that they can pull off the upset. N.C. State’s backcourt trio of Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner, and Anthony Barber combine to average 40.8 points per game, and will likely cause major matchup problems for the Louisville. N.C. State big man Beejay Anya is a massive human being and should match up well with Cardinals’ forward Montrezl Harrell, who is a future NBA lottery pick. This game looks like a fairly even matchup, and given N.C. State’s backcourt advantage, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see the Wolfpack pull of the upset and move on to the Elite Eight.
3. North Carolina over Wisconsin
Point Spread: North Carolina favored by 6.5 points
Wisconsin is a serious Final Four and national title threat. North Carolina is a superbly talented, yet inconsistent team that can play with any team in the country when things are going well for them. The Badgers are led by Wooden Award candidate Frank Kaminsky and forward Sam Dekker. The Tar Heels have the size and the athleticism to match up well against both players. If Roy Williams’s crew can take advantage of their superior athleticism in this game, they have the talent and the ability to knock off one of the best teams in the country. If they let Wisconsin control the pace of the game, the Badgers will likely be moving on to the Elite Eight. Either way, this matchup has the makings of a potentially classic NCAA Tournament game.