I will be covering the Southeast region of the bracket, a region that has already had it's top seed eliminated. All has gone according to the script in this bracket with the exception of #11 Gonzaga upending #6 St. John's in round 2, and Butler's stunning victory over the top seeded Pittsburgh Panthers in round 3. Here is a preview of the two Sweet 16 games to be played in this region from the New Orleans Arena.
The first game of the night in this region will pit #3 Jimmer against the #2 Florida Gators. I strongly believe that Florida is a weak 2-seed, and have had a cake run through the tournament thus far, running through UC-Santa Barbara and UCLA. However, the Gators have always been coached well by Billy Donovan, and have many great weapons led by SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons. The Gators are playing their best basketball of the year and should not be underestimated, but they are running into a buzz-saw in BYU. Of course, there is no BYU conversation without mentioning one James Fredette. Fredette has looked absolutely unstoppable in BYU's first two contests. The Cougars have beaten Wofford and steamrolled a very good Gonzaga team to get to this point. If the Gators can figure out any way to slow this man down, they will have a chance, but the Cougars have proven that they can get other players involved even with the loss of Brandon Davies. In the end, I believe Jimmer and friends will come out on top, and play the winner of this next match-up in the Regional finals.
Final Score: BYU: 83 Florida: 76
The late game in this region will be last year's runner-up #8 Butler against a very disciplined #4 Wisconsin team led by Bo Ryan. With a very low scoring offense, two inexplicable losses to Penn State and tight games against Indiana and Michigan down the stretch, the Badgers have not looked very consistent as of late. If they are going to beat Butler, they will need a big game from their leading scorers Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor. On the other end of the court, the Butler Bulldogs, winners of 11 in a row, will have all the momentum on their side. Led by Senior Matt Howard and Junior Shelvin Mack, the Bulldogs are a well rounded team. Brad Stevens has done a magnificent job at the helm in his four seasons in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs not only have the momentum, but they have the experience of going through the big dance. However, like Wisconsin, their offense has not been very sharp this year, especially with the loss of Gordon Hayward to the NBA over the offseason. In the end, do not expect an offensive onslaught. I believe Butler will come out on top in this game over the inconsistent Badgers team simply because of their experience of having been there and done that, and good ol' Big Mo.
Final Score: Butler: 55 Wisconsin:51
Expect a preview of the Elite 8 matchup between Butler and BYU on Friday night. Enjoy the games