Sweet and Sour Predictions

For the second year in a row, the NCAA tournament still has meaning for fans in Pittsburgh. But will the Panthers move on despite Marquette's torrid 3-point shooting?<br><br> That question and others highlight a fabulous Sweet Sixteen round beginning Thursday.<p>

THURSDAY'S GAMES 

7:10 p.m. ET – Midwest
Kentucky vs. Wisconsin: The only thing the Badgers have going for them will be the heavy Pro-Badger crowd. This is not going to be repeat of Duke/Indiana from last season.

Outcome: Kentucky by 12.

7:27 p.m. ET – West
Arizona vs. Notre Dame: I really, really want to pick the Irish in an upset, but they don't match-up well with Arizona's players. The only team that's going to beat Arizona is one with a standout defense. That is the Irish. But, if Torin Francis can get hot, the Irish will stick around for most of the game.

Outcome: Arizona by 5.

9:40 p.m. ET – Midwest
Pittsburgh vs. Marquette: I'm reminded of Human League's 80's hit "Mirror Man". Then I think of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". Finally, I ponder The Who's "Go to the Mirror". Well, I did, and the only thing I saw was a cat whose reflection was bouncing off the mirror from his outside perch.

Outcome: Pittsburgh by 6.

9:57 p.m. ET – West
Kansas vs. Duke: For some reason this game feels more like a regional championship than a regional semifinal. But the nagging voice in my brain tells me two things: Jennifer Garner from Alias is really, really hot; AND, Danny Manning doesn't play for Kansas anymore.

Outcome: Duke by 3.

FRIDAY'S GAMES
 
7:10 p.m. ET – East
Oklahoma vs. Butler: How hurt is Hollis Price? Well, I'd be lying if I said it made any difference. Still, I'm going out on a limb and will say that Darnell Archey will hit 20 – 20 field goals and 9 out of 10 free throws (he aint perfect), and Butler will get real close as the game moves into its final seconds. But how close?

Outcome: Butler by 1.

7:27 p.m. ET – South
Texas vs. Connecticut: Everything in my bracketed final four is still going as planned… and then this game shows up. You see, I have Pitt, Arizona, Texas, and Syracuse in my Final Four on both the AOL and SI fan brackets. I've realized that the important thing is to have your Final Four intact if you want to have a chance to win. More importantly, I have Texas winning the whole damn thing. Could UConn destroy my brackets in one fatal swoop? With Caron Butler at…wait he's in the NBA. Whew.

Outcome: Texas by 7.

9:40 p.m. ET – East
Syracuse vs. Auburn: Syracuse had me worried when they were down by 17 against Oklahoma State. I could hear Dorothy screaming to Carmelo Anthony, "Tap your heals together. Tap your damn heals together. And then you'll go home." Well, Gerry McNamara must've heard ‘cause he tap danced all over Oklahoma State's hearts.

Outcome: Syracuse by 14.

9:57 p.m. ET - South
Maryland vs. Michigan State: Let me say this once. Maryland will not get to the Final Four. Let me repeat. Maryland will not get to the Final Four. Remember when Mateen Cleaves got hurt in the 2000 championship game against Florida and came back limping and played the rest of the game. I remember. So does Michigan State.

Outcome: Michigan State by 3.

--John Biles
PittInsiders.com


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