Experts’ Picks for the Sweet 16 from March 24

Upsets are in full swing now with Xavier topping Zona last night. PJ did really poorly, Mark did pretty well (quack), Jack was somewhere in the middle. Even experts make mistakes. Here’s predictions for day 2.

East

  1. Florida vs. 8. Wisconsin

Mark: Wisconsin 67, Florida 63

Bronson Koenig is a closer. This game is going to be close, but Koenig, Hayes, and Happ are too much on offense for the Gators.

PJ: Wisconsin 68, Florida 65

Wisconsin simply looks like the best team left in this region. If anyone else comes out of the East I would be surprised.

Jack: Wisconsin 65, Florida 59

Koenig is a king – he’ll hit big shots down the stretch and steal a barn-burner right from the Gators chomp.

  1. Baylor vs. 7. South Carolina

Mark: South Carolina 80, Baylor 69

Sindarius Thornwell thrives at getting to the rack. He’s getting Motley in foul trouble early and Dozier’s length will disrupt Manu Lecomte the whole game. Gamecocks by 10+.

PJ: South Carolina 62, Baylor 60

I haven’t been sold on Baylor all year, and this game is no different. Thornwell will decimate the zone and South Carolina will neutralize Baylor’s few offensive threats. Thornwell at the buzzer.

Jack: South Carolina 74, Baylor 59

I don’t care much for this game, but I’m all-aboard the Sindarius Thornwell train. Baylor just can’t mount a big enough second-half push, and the Gamecocks march to the regional final.

South:

  1. North Carolina vs. 4. Butler

Mark: Butler 76, North Carolina 73

I know Justin Jackson is the leading scorer, but the Tar Heels go with Joel Berry. He’s hobbled with an ankle injury and they barely got past Arkansas. Let’s go Bulldogs.

PJ: North Carolina 84, Butler 78

I simply can’t see Butler matching up with the Tar Heels’ front court. Also, I couldn’t see Nova matching up with basically the same front court. So, this game is a toss-up for me.

Jack: Butler 80, North Carolina 73

Sound the upset-alert horn. UNC was anything but dominating in their second round bout with Arkansas, and Butler plays a Razorback style of ball. I’m thinking the Bulldogs come out with a “no one thinks we can win” attitude and stun the Tar Heels.

  1. Kentucky vs. 3. UCLA

Mark: Kentucky 93, UCLA 90

I love both of these teams so very much. I’m hurt that they have to play so early because this could be the most entertaining game of the tournament. I think it’s scoring back and forth the whole way. It’s a coin toss, but I’m taking Monk at the buzzer.

PJ: UCLA 94, Kentucky 91

Did you see this game in the regular season? If not, take my word for it when I say this is MUST-SEE TV. Both these teams can ball, and they both play fast. Lonzo Ball dagger three late. Bryce Alford for 30. Book it.

Jack: UCLA 88, Kentucky 82

This is the premier Sweet Sixteen matchup, but I think Lonzo edges Fox, Monk has a rough night from beyond the arc, and UCLA overpowers the Wildcats on the offensive end.

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