UPDATE #MarchMadness: Your Guide to the Sweet 16 - Tonight’s Lineup


Did you check Viral Read’s Sweet 16 primer for yesterday’s games? Here’s tonight’s offering.

Tonight’s games:

Oregon (12) -vs- Louisville (1)

Louisville wins: if they keep playing like Louisville. As Dana O”Neill at ESPN.com puts it: “Since a five-overtime loss to Notre Dame, UL is beating teams by an average of 21 points per game. No one has gotten closer than 12 points.”

Oregon wins: Dana Altman, the coach of the Ducks, puts it well: “We had two games in the NCAA tournament where we turned it over 18 times each night. We’ve got to figure out what the number is that we can live with. I’m hoping 15, 16 is a number we can hold it to.” If they can figure it out, they’ll hold on against arguably the best team in the nation.

Trivia: Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson and New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch are both former UL Cardinals. John Ssebaana Kizito, the mayor of Kampala, Uganda, is a former Duck.

Florida Gulf Coast (15) -vs- Florida (3)

FGCU wins: The Eagles are 23-10 this season — including the NCAA Tournament — when they post a starting lineup of Sherwood Brown, Bernard Thompson, Brett Comer, Chase Fieler, and Eric McKnight. FGCU is 15-2 when throwing down five or more dunks in a game, and they have been held without a dunk in just two games. Under Head Coach Andy Enfield, the Eagles had won 41 games the past two seasons as opposed to only 39 games the previous four seasons under Dave Balza.

Florida wins: The Gators are 25-1 under Billy Donovan against current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Florida has outscored their opponents by an average of 18.2 points and ranks second in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 53.8 points per game.

Trivia: FGCU Coach Andy Enfield holds the NCAA record for free throws at 92.5% efficiency when he played for Johns Hopkins. Florida is 15-2 when Patric Young grabs at least 7 rebounds.

Michigan (4) -vs- Kansas (1)

Kansas wins: if freshman Ben McLemore can stop his disappearing act when it counts. ESPN.com’s Jason King notes: “The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging just seven points in his past four games while shooting 30.8 percent from the field. Those figures are well below his season averages of 15.8 points on 49.4 percent shooting.” Foul Watch: Jeff Withey could swing the game away from the Jayhawks, if he can’t stay out of trouble. His team is 23-1 in games in which he’s committed two or fewer fouls.

Michigan wins:  Pay attention to Trey Burke. Before the Wolverines’ first round game against South Dakota State, Burke had only failed to score 15 points in a game three times all season. But even his feats might not be enough in the long-run, with Kansas (and Florida) boasting big men on their squads. How will Burke match-up against a Syracuse 2-3 zone?

Trivia: The buzz over Trey Burke can’t be overstated. He’s a finalist for the 2013 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year, a short-list which includes only Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Georgetown’s Otto Porter. KU forward Thomas Robinson has rebounded from a personal tragedy during his sophomore season in 2011: his mother died of a heart attack at age 42, after his grandmother and grandfather had just passed away.

Michigan State (3) -vs- Duke (2)

Duke wins:  Coach Mike Krzyzewski has his players focused on and hungry for the national championship every year; this year is no different. Krzyzewski’s also looking for a measure of revenge against Tom Izzo, who led Michigan State to a victory over Duke in the Sweet 16 back in 2005. Ryan Kelly’s play adds versatility to the Blue Devils’ lineup.

Michigan State wins: Every player who has attended Michigan State and stayed four years under Coach Tom Izzo has played in at least one Final Four. Adreian Payne is coming into his own and becoming a major force after a somewhat slow start to his career.

Trivia: Coach K leads all active coaches with 11 Final Fours, and is only one of three coaches in NCAA history to win at least four national championships, with two of those coming in Indianapolis. Izzo owns a school-record 439 career wins in 18 seasons at Michigan State.

Sources: USA TODAY, Wikipedia, Bleacher Report and Fort Myers (Florida) News-Press

Rick Bulow contributed to this article.


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