2022 March Madness–Sweet 16

‘Wolverines are playing their best basketball’

With the Sweet Sixteen taking place this Thursday and Friday, here’s a breakdown of each team left in the March Madness field, and how they stack up heading into this week’s games.

Saint Peter’s:

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks certainly have the momentum and confidence as of late, but their next test will be against the Purdue Boilermakers, who have been beating teams by double digits all year. This Cinderella team is making history by being the third 15-seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen; and if they can beat Purdue, they will be the first 15-seed to ever reach the Elite Eight. To win, they will need to limit Purdue star Jaden Ivey defensively. Daryl Banks III and KC Ndefo will certainly need to help carry the offensive load for the Peacocks once again. Saint Peter’s has already stamped their legacy in March Madness. Do they have what it takes to keep this miraculous run going?


Up against an unpredictable Saint Peter’s team, the Boilermakers will look to star player  Jaden Ivey to produce offensively. A high scoring game is definitely in their favor, as they’re 19-0 this season when scoring over 80 points. Additionally, they will need to excel once again through rebounding and inside presence down low (size advantage). Purdue is scary; they’ve beaten six ranked teams just this season, and have reached the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in five years. On paper, you would think Purdue will run away with this one, but you never know.


It’s fitting that the Hurricanes will travel to the Windy City to take on the Cyclones of Iowa State. Fresh off two strong and dominant tournament victories, Miami is battle-tested and ready to go in the Sweet Sixteen. After a statement win against a talented Auburn team, Miami must look to set the pace and attack early, just like they did in their second round matchup. Assuming they execute properly, this should be a win for the Hurricanes.

Iowa State:

The Cyclones excel defensively, and that’s exactly how they plan to stop Miami. They limited LSU to only 54 points, and Wisconsin to a mere 49. If they can pressure the Hurricanes’ dynamic guards, Iowa State will have a good chance to keep it close. This game is not going to be a blowout by any means. However, it is imperative that the Cyclones take advantage of their great defense, and are able to score offensively.


The overall number one seed hasn’t had the smoothest tournament run so far. In their first round matchup, Georgia State was staying nearly even with the Bulldogs, until they were able to pull away late in the game. Then, Memphis gave them a scare in the second round, as Gonzaga was barely able to secure the win (only a four point margin). The Gonzaga Bulldogs are looking to play with a fast pace (running transition, fast breaks), but they will have to adapt to the Arkansas Razorbacks’ tenacious perimeter defense. This game will definitely be close, but look for the Zags to go on a few big runs down the stretch.


The Razorbacks’ have managed to squeak out victories in their last two games, but they’ve only won these matchups by a combined nine points. Similar to their defensive scheme against New Mexico State (in stopping Teddy Allen), they will need to focus on limiting Drew Timme in the post, as his contributions are always the difference maker for the Zags. If they are able to lock down defensively, limit Gonzaga’s points, and slow the game down, they have a legitimate chance to contend against the top team.

Texas Tech:

The Red Raiders, led by senior Bryson Williams, are a scary team to face. They have multiple scoring threats, and they’re a physical team that isn’t afraid to assert their dominance inside the paint. It will be tough to stop Duke’s raw talent and athleticism; however, Texas Tech does have a strong advantage in postseason experience and veteran leadership, which might be the deciding factor in this close matchup.


The Blue Devils are determined to win a national title for the legendary Coach K, who will retire after this season. But Paolo Banchero and company will have to face a challenging Texas Tech squad. In order to win and stamp their ticket into the Elite Eight, Duke will need to gain an early lead and keep it in the second half. With the Blue Devils’ lack of experience, they do not want a close game scenario down the stretch.

North Carolina:

The Tar Heels are playing their best basketball of the year right now, as they’ve scored over 90 points in both of their tournament games so far (even knocking off a top four team – Baylor). They will look to push the tempo and continue this offensive dominance against the Bruins. To win, they will need to avoid the Bruin’s slow pace and hope for a big game from Brady Manek.


Coming off of a convincing win against St. Mary’s, the Bruins should be in prime position to win this game. However, with Jamie Jaquez Jr.’s injury status up in the air, the Bruins will need to rely on Tyger Campell to slow the game down, as well as Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard to pick up the scoring load. Jaquez is the heart and soul of UCLA; let’s hope he can play and our last Los Angeles team can survive and advance to the Elite Eight.


The Wildcats barely survived a second round matchup against TCU, which gave them their first Sweet Sixteen berth since 2017. However, with point guard Kerr Kriisa back in the mix, and with Bennedict Mathurin essentially carrying this Wildcats team offensively, they will be tough to beat going forward. They can score at will inside the paint; having multiple seven footers helps this talented Arizona group out with rebounding as well. Houston will need to play as well as they have all season to beat them.


One advantage that the Cougars have over Arizona is tournament experience. Houston’s starting lineup consists of four seniors, plus other sophomores and juniors that were part of their Final Four run last season. It will be a tough task, but the Cougars will need to limit Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko to keep this game close. If Houston matches the Wildcats’ physicality, and plays with more effort (chasing loose balls, boxing out, securing rebounds), they could steal a win.


Michigan wasn’t even supposed to make the tournament, but now they’re in the Sweet Sixteen! With two upset wins over Colorado State and Tennessee, the Wolverines are playing their best basketball here in March. Look for them to utilize center Hunter Dickinson down low, as his touch around the basket mixed with height makes him a dangerous X-factor that the Villanova Wildcats may not be able to stop. Michigan will have to lock in defensively to win, and not give the Wildcats any open looks from beyond the arc.


The Wildcats have the highest free throw percentage out of any team in the country. Mix that with the fact that pretty much everyone on their roster can make three-pointers consistently outside, as well as finish with contact inside. This Wildcats squad is well coached and disciplined by Jay Wright, as they play in control, committing almost no turnovers. They should get the win against Michigan, as long as they limit the Wolverines’ rebounds and scoring runs down the stretch.


The Jayhawks are a top three team for a reason; they play efficiently and just find ways to win games, time and time again. Ochai Agbaji leads the way for this team, averaging 19 points and 5 rebounds a game. Some more good news if you’re a Kansas fan is the emergence of senior Remy Martin, who put up 20 points in their last win against Creighton. No matter how good they are, the Jayhawks can’t overlook Providence. The Friars are a team that can put up tons of points and make clutch plays in close game scenarios.


The Friars were ‘overrated’ entering this year’s tournament, but they’ve silenced the doubters, running through their first two matchups. The focus for this upcoming game against Kansas should be on rebounding, shot selection, converting three-point attempts, and limiting turnovers. They can definitely stay close with the Jayhawks; but they can’t give up an early lead, as it’s going to be very tough to regain momentum and get back in the game.

Finally here are my picks for each game this week:

Gonzaga > Arkansas

Texas Tech > Duke

UCLA > North Carolina

Purdue > Saint Peter’s

Houston > Arizona

Villanova > Michigan

Kansas > Providence

Miami > Iowa State