Who Will Survive The Sweet 16?

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Men's Basketball

The first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament is over and some of the teams left standing are surprising. Yes, all four top seeds have advanced, but some of the lower seeds including Duke and Georgetown have hung up their shoes for the season.

The teams able to survive this weekend’s games will advance to the Final Four, a heady proposition for four teams not expected to still be playing this late in the season. Let’s take a look at the Fab Four and their chances for extending their seasons:

Davidson — Beating Gonzaga in the first round was a nice achievement, not an entirely unexpected feat for the Davidson Wildcats. Led by Stephen Curry who scored 40 points against the Zags, Curry dumped in another 30 points when the Cats shocked Georgetown in the second round. Next up: Wisconsin, a Big Ten team that coasted in its first two contests — look for a strong battle with the Badgers gaining the upper hand down the stretch.

Western Kentucky — The Sun Belt Conference champs are probably more of a surprise than Davidson for getting this far. Tyrone Brazelton led WK with 33 points, but if you’ve been watching ESPN then you’ve seen Ty Rogers 3-pointer in overtime which pulled out the opening round victory over Drake. Next up: #1 UCLA — WK season over!

West Virginia – One of two Big East surprises still standing, the Mountaineers dispatched of Arizona, then Duke to reach the Sweet 16. Although not as dominate as Georgetown, Marquette, or Louisville in conference play, WVU has the talent and the size to go deep this year. Next up: Xavier, the class of the Atlantic 10. I’m going with the Mountaineers who would then face-off with UCLA for the West Regional championship.

Villanova — Barely making it to the tournament as a the final of eight Big East teams selected, the Wildcats have shown their mettle and are once again in the Sweet 16. A dramatic come-from-behind win over #4 Clemson underscored that Villanova is always a threat, a team that has survived the test of Big East play. Next up: Kansas, the #1 seed for the Midwest regional. I see a dogfight down to the very end, with Kansas barely escaping.

Of the four teams, I see West Virginia with having the best chances of advancing to the Final Four, but with UCLA in the way, a Final Eight showing may be it.

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