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Sweet Sixteen Previews and Open Thread

Four on the women’s side, one on the men’s. Come watch (and laugh) as the Big Ten marches on...

Hilary Duff Performs At The KISS 108 Concert Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Women’s Tournament

Saturday, March 27

[5] Iowa Hawkeyes vs. [1] UConn Huskies

12pm | ABC | Conn -15.5 | O/U 156
River Walk Region: Alamodome

Stew: I’ve got no illusions of Iowa winning this game. To even keep it within 20 would seem like an upset. But this game is gonna be a star show. Caitlin Clark vs. Paige Buekers. Easily the two best freshmen in the country, and all Americans. Clark leads the country in points and assists, Buekers is the best player in the best team. It should be a great show of talent.

[6] Michigan Wolverines vs. [2] Baylor Bears

2pm | ABC | Baylor -13.5 | O/U 136.5
River Walk Region: Alamodome

RockyMtnBlue: Sadly, I have the same number of Illusions of Michigan winning as Stew has for Iowa. Michigan wins games my dominating the paint and rebounding. Baylor does the same, but they’re better at it. Maybe Baylor’s in a funk

/checks notes

/sees Baylor clowned Va Tech 90-48 on Tuesday


[4] Indiana Hoosiers vs. [1] N.C. State Wolfpack

5pm | ESPN2 | EVEN | O/U 134
Mercado Region: Alamodome

MNW: The ‘Pack are the weakest of the 1-seeds, having struggled mightily with the USF Bulls in the Round of 32. This one might go down to the wire, and if IU’s Mackenzie Holmes can compound the rough tournament N.C. State center Elissa Cunane has been having, we could be talking a pair of B1G teams in the Elite Eight.

[3] Arizona Wildcats vs. [2] Texas A&M Aggies

7pm | ESPN2 | Arizona -3.5 | O/U 128
Mercado Region: Alamodome

Sunday, March 28

[5] Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. [1] South Carolina Gamecocks

12pm | ABC | SC -11.5 | O/U 123
Hemisfair Region: Alamodome

[5] Missouri State Bears vs. [1] Stanford Cardinal

2pm | ABC | Stan -15.5 | O/U 130
Alamo Region: Alamodome

[6] Oregon Ducks vs. [2] Louisville Cardinal

6pm | ESPN | Oregon -1 | O/U 133.5
Alamo Region: Alamodome

MNW: Consider this my processing the Northwestern Wildcats’ chokejob against Louisville in the Round of 32.

Damn, man, that hurt. A 25-point first quarter that we all knew was unsustainable, but a lead as big as 19 in the second quarter just slowly whittled away by the Cardinals as Louisville forced Lindsey Pulliam into contested shot after contested shot—which she continued to take and miss—and wore down the Blizzard with Dana Evans on the outside and Olivia Cochran racking up an easy double-double inside.

I don’t think I’d take the Toothbirds to go any father in the tournament unless Evans suddenly gets more efficient and Lhvl can get anything from its bench.

[2] Maryland Terrapins vs. [6] Texas Longhorns

8pm | ESPN | MD -12.5 | O/U 147.5
Hemisfair Region: Alamodome

larry31, on the rout of Alabama: Halftime score: MD 54- AL 25. At that point I had my OTE game summary: The women exacted sweet, vicious revenge on Alabama. Average margin of victory through the first two rounds for MD: 45 points.

There is definitely less quality depth in the women’s game versus the men’s game. Nevertheless, MD seems to be peaking at the right time.

Men’s Tournament

Saturday, March 27

[12] Oregon State Beavers vs. [8] Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

1:40pm | CBS | LUC -7 | O/U 125
Midwest Region | Bankers Life Fieldhouse

MNW: This is, like, a chef’s kiss of a game. How do you pick against the Ramblers at this point? Porter Moser flexed on Illinois with a stifling defense—and what looked to me like a really brilliant adjustment on where the Ramblers ran their pick-and-rolls on offense to make Kofi Cockburn move side-to-side to defend the roll. And Cam Krutwig is just fucking ridiculous.

(Sorry, Sister Jean. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.)

The Beavs bring with them some size to counter Krutwig in Very Large Man Roman Silva and Maurice Calloo, but it’s guard Ethan Thompson and his mop of hair that’ll shoot Oregon State through this one.

I’m just rooting for a damn good game, to be honest. Let’s get weird.

[5] Villanova Wildcats vs. [1] Baylor Bears

4:15pm | CBS | Baylor -7.5 | O/U 142
South Region | Hinkle Fieldhouse

MaximumSam: Baylor really bothered Wisconin’s guards. Wiscy was in good shape when they could get into their offense, but that seemed tough for them to do.

Villanova is missing lead guard Collin Gillespie, which makes me doubt their chances here.

[15] Oral Bob’s House of Learnin’ vs. [3] Arkansas Razorbacks

6:25pm | TBS | Ark -11 | O/U 158
South Region | Bankers Life Fieldhouse

MaximumSam: The Lord God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to inspire televangelist Oral Roberts to start his own university, to provide a stage for the one true prophet, Max Abmas.

RockyMtnBlue: Other than times when Michigan is the opponent, this will be the first time I’ve rooted against a 15 seed in my life.

[11] Syracuse Orange vs. [2] Houston Cougars

8:55pm | TBS | UH -6.5 | O/U 140.5
Midwest Region | Hinkle Fieldhouse

MNW: For as fun as Loyola-Oregon State could be? This one, uh...

Look, at this point the Fighting Boeheims are what they are. So I’ll focus on how I like the renaissance that Kelvin Sampson has had in Houston—the old Deadspin piece about him is a good read—say “Go Cougars” and leave it at that.

Sunday, March 28

[5] Creighton Bluejays vs. [1] Gonzaga Bulldogs

1:10pm | CBS | Zaga -13 | O/U 158
West Region: Hinkle Fieldhouse

[4] Florida State Seminoles vs. [1] Michigan Wolverines

4pm | CBS | Michigan -2.5 | O/U 143.5
East Region: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

RockyMtnBlue: Odds makers figure this game is a toss-up. I’m less optimistic. Without Livers Michigan cannot score enough points against FSU’s switch-all-the-damned-time forest of Ents unless they can get it going inside. If FSU can defend the post 1-on-1 this will be the end of a surprisingly enjoyable season. If Dickenson and Davis can force double teams, though, we’ll have a ball game.

Brian Gillis: Most Michigan fans probably remember the last time Michigan played Florida State – an Elite Eight match-up three years ago in Los Angeles. A game in which the Wolverines defeated Florida State 58-54 in a dogfight of a game to advance to the Final Four. Michigan may have cut down the nets that night, but it wasn’t easy. Expect more of the same this weekend.

In many ways, this Florida State team will look very familiar to Michigan fans. The Seminoles are huge (the tallest average starting line-up in college basketball) and deep (nine Florida State players average more than 13 minutes a game and another pair see regular minutes). And like most Leonard Hamilton teams, these Seminoles play defense.

But where this team differs is on offense. This is arguably the best offensive team Hamilton has had in Tallahassee and is particularly dangerous from deep. The Seminoles shoot 39% from three as a team and have a number of shooters that can fill it. Three Seminoles shoot greater than 40% from beyond the arc and three more are shooting just under 40%.

But if there’s a concern as great as the ’Noles shooting, it’s their size. Florida State’s starting backcourt is 6’5” and 6’6” and it’s more of the same when Hamilton goes to his bench. Mike Smith struggled against LSU’s heights and length. How will the 5’11” Smith and the 6’1” Eli Brooks fare against Florida State’s size and length? That, along with Michigan’s ability to defend the three, will likely decide this match-up.

[11] UCLA Bruins vs. [2] Alabama Crimson Tide

6:15pm | TBS | Alabama -6.5 | O/U 145.5
East Region: Hinkle Fieldhouse

MNW: Green Akers is spending his time pining after Nate Oats in East Lansing, but I don’t know that a win here moves that needle in any particular way. Alabama plays a more fun style of basketball, but I really like Mick Cronin as a dude. So...uh...go basketball?

[7] Oregon Ducks vs. [6] USC Trojans

8:45pm | TBS | USC -2 | O/U 138.5
West Region: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

MNW: Is there any way we could get Bill Walton on the call for this one? Just have him show up at the studio and start debating with Chuck on set? I’d watch the hell outta that.

Also Appearing This Weekend

The NIT! Saturday, March 27

[1] Memphis Tigers vs. [1] Colorado State Rams

11am | ESPN | Memphis -4 | O/U 138
Semifinal: Comerica Center, Frisco, TX

[4] Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. [4] Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

2pm | ESPN | EVEN | O/U 136.5
Semifinal: Comerica Center, Frisco, TX

Both a Championship (11am) and Consolation (2pm) will be played on ESPN the following day.

Men’s College Hockey Championships

See the previews and register your picks over here!

Other Big Ten Sports on the TV

{MSOC} Indiana at Michigan [Saturday, 1pm, BTN]
{MSOC} Maryland at Northwestern [Saturday, 3pm, BTN]
{VB} Indiana at Illinois [Saturday, 8pm, BTN]
{WSOC} Rutgers at Wisconsin [Sunday, 11:30am, BTN]
{WSOC} Indiana at Michigan [Sunday, 2pm, BTN]
{WSOC} Illinois at Michigan State [Sunday, 4pm, BTN]

Here’s your open thread for a big ol’ day of some sports. Talk about whatever you want, just don’t make me pull the car over or nobody gets Dairy Queen.