March Madness Sweet 16 Best Bets, Predictions, and Where to Watch!
The 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket continues with the March Madness Sweet 16 on Thursday. We've already seen a No. 1 seed (Baylor) and two No. 2 seeds (Auburn, Kentucky) sent home. The Gonzaga Bulldogs bit off more than they could chew in the first round against Georgia State and needed to make-up a 12-point second-half gap to sneak by Memphis. Now, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament 2022 bracket faces No. 4 seed Arkansas.
Duke’s Blue Devils and Coach K have looked poised as he pursues a sixth chip in his final season, but he'll run into one of the toughest matchups in the 2022 March Madness bracket in the Sweet 16. Texas Tech leads the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (84.4), so should you back the Red Raiders with your 2022 NCAA Tournament picks?
Now that we have identified the main characters of this year's NCAA Tournament a bit better, it will be easier to precisely predict the Sweet 16 matchups. With four games set for Thursday and four more set for Friday, the regional semifinal action will again require viewers to make difficult television viewing choices. Reaching the Sweet 16 stage is a dream come true for many college teams, while it is a priority for some others. The Sweet 16 phase is just two steps outside of the Final Four, so this is the stage where everything becomes possible.
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No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Arkansas
When: Thursday, 4:09 p.m.
Line: Gonzaga by 8.5
The Bulldogs have been the best shooting team in college basketball all season long, which was on full display in Saturday's victory over Memphis. The Zags scored 51 points in the second half and will enter Thursday's matchup against Arkansas knocking down 52.6 percent of their field-goals this season.
In addition to an elite offense, Gonzaga features a ferocious defense that continues to create havoc. The Bulldogs are securing 32.1 defensive rebounds per game, which ranks first in the country.
The Zags are the top team in the country if we look at the metrics and they are ranked as the number one overall seed. The outcome here will depend less on what Gonzaga can do, and more on what Arkansas can’t do.
Prediction: Gonzaga 88, Arkansas 70
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 11 Michigan
When: Thursday, 4:29 p.m.
Line: Villanova by 5
The road to the Big Ten had some tough losses down the stretch and has hardened the Michigan Wolverines, they’ve proven to be ready for a deep bracket run. If they can contain Villanova’s two-star players, then they might stand a chance. But between Gillespie and Villanova's other veterans, the Wildcats are a much more seasoned squad. They are the second-seed in the South Region and won the NCAA Tournament two times in the last five years, so they are definitely contenders to win it again this year.
Prediction: Villanova 68, Michigan 65
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Texas Tech
When: Thursday, 6:39 p.m.
Line: Texas Tech by 1
The different on-court styles of these two teams here creates for a fantastic duel between Duke's brilliant offense and Texas Tech's gritty and zero tolerance defense. For the Blue Devils this is their last dance with Coach K, and being knocked out of the tournament before Sweet 16 would be tragic. But that’s not the only reason why we see Duke in the Top 16 – they are the second-ranked team in the West Region and they come into the tournament with 10 wins against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, including Gonzaga, Kentucky, and others. The top spot for defense in the nation belongs to Texas Tech though, and this is still the team that reached the final game a couple of years ago, but their offense needs some work.
They are also ranked third in the West and they enter this tournament with eight Quad 1 wins, so they have shown a great amount of potential so far.
Prediction: Texas Tech 71, Duke 67
No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 5 Houston
When: Thursday, 6:59 p.m.
Line: Arizona by 2.
Arizona is one of the best teams this year and their track record this season speaks for itself and many see them reaching the final game of the tournament.
But before they can reach that point this will be a moment of chaos that they will have to get through. Urgency should be the expectation for this one as Houston and its tough, physical gameplay are pitted against Arizona's high-flying attack. There's a certain desperation that both these teams play with, and that should make it a captivating game. Even if one team opens a lead by double digits, rest assured there will be a comeback. This one will be interesting and a great game to watch because it will definitely go down to the 4th quarter and in the final minutes of the game the team that is more disciplined will finally be able to edge the winning game shot.
Prediction: Arizona 65, Houston 55