Sweet Sixteen: Barrera's Breakdown

Photo Cred: sportingnews.com

Well, that was fun. After a year like 2020, are any of us really surprised at these upsets? It’s safe to say that my bracket is fairly busted, but I did hit on a few things! The Sweet Sixteen starts this weekend, so here are my thoughts on the final teams in the big dance.

West Region

Gonzaga v Creighton

Creighton is known for their scoring, and they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders vs Gonzaga’s solid D. The Bluejays put up 76 ppg, and they shot 42.9% from 3 vs Ohio. That said, their biggest issue is rebounding. They have been out-rebounded in both wins in the tournament, which doesn’t bode well against the Bulldogs. Zags are 48th in the country in total rebounds, and 10th in the nation for Opp. Total Boards. Whereas, Creighton ranks 109th and 253rd in the same categories, respectively. If the Bluejays aren’t making shots, then don’t expect them to get many second chances. I feel confident that Gonzaga advances here, but not sold that they cover 13 points.

USC v Oregon

One of my Dark Horses from my first Bracket article is looking pretty good right now. Yes, Evan Mobley and the Trojans have rolled their way through the first two rounds. USC enters their Sweet 16 matchup after an absolute beat down of the Jayhawks, where they shot 61% from 3! The Trojans had similar success vs the Ducks in February, where they came out the gate with a 15-0 run. I remember watching this game. The Ducks looked overwhelmed by USC’s size and their defensive presence within the arc. Speaking of, let’s look at the numbers. USC is 1st in Opp. 2pt %, and 3rd in Opp. overall shooting %. That said, they’re only 160th in opp. 3pt%. On the flip side, Oregon is a good shooting squad. They are 15th in 3pt%, 47th in 2p%, and 24th overall. Regardless, the game will be won on the boards. As you’d expect, USC is one of the best teams in the country at collecting their misses, while Oregon falls much closer to the bottom. If USC gets more chances to score, then the Ducks might be headed home. This is very similar to the Gonzaga matchup vs Creighton. Oregon will need to shoot well to compete with USC’s length. I think Trojans advance, and a 2 point spread is worth a play.

East Region

Michigan v Florida State

This is one of the few matchups that was expected. LSU gave Michigan a run for its money, but the Wolverines took advantage of the Tiger's shaky offense in the 2nd half. FSU just handled Colorado, as they overwhelmed them with their size and athleticism. This is a game that could go either way. Both teams have shown moments of greatness, and they are led by strong coaching staffs. Personally, I want Hamilton to get a chance at a Final Four. I’m not going to dive too deep into this one, as I’m really torn. I will look at the gambling side of It though. It’s at -2.5 as of Thursday. Although Michigan has covered well all season, they are 1-1 so far in the tournament. On the other hand, FSU only covered about 54% of their games, and have only done so once this tournament. If you’re betting on FSU, you might as well just take the Moneyline at +120. If they lose, history this season says they