ALL PICKS, SIMULATIONS, AND INSIGHTS
Kansas State is making its second Sweet 16 appearance in the last two decades. These Wildcats dominated Creighton in the first round and caught a break by catching No. All-conference Dean Wade, who missed those games, like will play against Kentucky. Freshman Jordan Poole bailed out the Wolverines with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to top Houston.
The Aggies were terrific in dismantling North Carolina in Charlotte. Starks controlled action against the Tar Heels. But he came off the bench and contributed some big buckets in the upset victory. They'll come strong again when the Cyclones face the Jayhawks -- an elite team that squeezed by an abundance of opponents in games decided by five points or less -- in the Sweet This will be another thriller, but Iowa State will limit its turnovers and advance.
Virginia lacks an offensive catalyst beyond London Perrantes , which is one of the reasons the Cavaliers failed to finish multiple games they led at halftime this season.
They're an aggressive defensive team, but Kevin Keatts' squad doesn't commit many turnovers second nationally in turnover rate, per KenPom. They'll keep this game close and finish Virginia in the final minute. At least you have great weather, because you won't have much success in the NCAA tournament. Miami may escape Michigan State, but the Hurricanes can't handle Kansas in the second round with their unreliable, turnover-prone offense.
I liked Florida far more before shot-blocker John Egbunu 's season-ending knee injury. The Gators are over their past six games without him. They'll lack the depth to overcome a hot-shooting UNC Wilmington or efficient Virginia in the second round. Yeah, Duke's messy season complicates projections about this up-and-down crew. But if you're a Duke fan, you know you have the pieces to make a run and earn a slot in a prime-time matchup against Villanova in the Elite Eight.
SMU is also top 30 in adjusted defensive efficiency. It is here to ruin that coveted Duke-Villanova affair a year after an academic scandal barred the Mustang from the postseason.
Don't say you never saw it coming when Giddy Potts Yes, Xavier finished over its past 10 games. But the win over Butler and its battle with Creighton in the Big East tournament reminded all of the Musketeers' potential. Maryland committed turnovers on nearly one-fifth of its possessions this season. Carelessness will cost the Terps in a loss to Xavier in the opening round. Outside Tallahassee, however, FSU has been a more docile group.
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