Earlier today we took a look at the four games being played in and eight teams competing in the Sweet 16’s East and Midwest. Now we’re considering the 2017 March Madness Sweet 16 South and West. That’s eight more teams and four more games.
The West Region games are played first. Both will be played on Thursday, Mar. 23. The winners of those games will then meet as part of the Elite Eight on Saturday, Mar. 25. The South Region teams that are part of the Sweet 16 will meet on Friday, Mar. 24. The winners of those games will play one another on Sunday, Mar. 26. By the end of Sunday, all Elite Eight games will be over. We will pick the spread and over/under for all Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games just as we have for all other 2017 NCAA Men’s Tournament contests. Here’s a quick look at the four games in the 2017 March Madness Sweet 16 South and West
The initial contest features the #4 West Virginia Mountaineers at the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs That game will be played at 7:39 p.m. ET. West Virginia was one of three teams in the Big 12 with a 12-6 conference record. The Mountaineers finished third in the Big 12. In the conference tournament, the team beat Texas and Kansas State. In the tournament final, the Mountaineers lost to Iowa State 80-74. In March Madness, West Virginia beat #13 Bucknell 86-80 and #5 Notre Dame 83-71. Gonzaga has lost one game all year. They won the regular season West Coast Conference with a 17-1 record. Gonzaga also took the conference tournament crown. In March Madness, they beat #16 South Dakota State 66-46 and #8 Northwestern 79-73. This will be a big battle and a close one.
The second game offers the #11 Xavier Musketeers taking on the #2 Arizona Wildcats. It will tip off at 10:09 p.m. The Musketeers are a good team and should not be underestimated. Xavier is one of seven teams from the Big East to make it to the tournament. They and Butler are the only teams from the conference left standing. The Musketeers’ finished seventh in the conference with a 9-9 record. In the Big East tournament, they won two games before being defeated by Creighton in the semi-finals. In the NCAA Tournament, they’ve beaten #6 Maryland 76-65 and #3 Florida State 91-66. Arizona won the PAC-12 regular season title with a 16-2 record. They also won the conference tournament beating Colorado and two nationally ranked teams, UCLA (3) and Oregon (5). In March Madness, they beat #15 North Dakota 100-82 and #7 St. Mary’s 69-60. Like the first match in the West, we expect this one to be a good one.
As noted, the South Region contests will be held on Friday. The first offers the #4 Butler Bulldogs at the #1 North Carolina Tar Heels. The game will be played at 7:09 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs finished second in the Big East with a 12-6 record. Butler got knocked out of the conference tournament in the initial round, losing to Xavier 62-57. They’ve done better in the NCAA Tournament beating #13 Winthrop 76-64 and #12 Middle Tennessee 74-65. Butler will have its hands full with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Of the eight teams from the ACC that made it into March Madness, North Carolina, which took the regular season ACC title with a 14-4 record and lost the finals of the ACC Tournament to Duke (17) 90-83, is the only club left standing. In the NCAA Tournament, the Tar Heels beat #16 Texas Southern 103-64 and #8 Arkansas 72-65. They won’t be easy to beat.
Finally, the #3 UCLA Bruins will play the #2 Kentucky Wildcats at 9:39 p.m. ET. The Bruins finished third in the PAC-12 with a conference record of 15-3. In the conference tournament, the Bruins won their initial game, beating USC 76-74. They then lost game two to Arizona (7) 86-75. In March Madness, UCLA beat #14 Kent State 97-80 and #6 Cincinnati 79-67. Overall, it’s been a fairly easy tournament road for them. The Kentucky Wildcats will give UCLA a fight. Kentucky, which won the Southeastern Conference with a 16-2 record, is one of three teams from the conference still in the big tournament. The Wildcats took the SEC tourney title and in March Madness have beaten #15 Northern Kentucky 79-70 and #10 Wichita State 65-62,
Final Word: 2017 March Madness Sweet 16 South and West
The 2017 March Madness Sweet 16 matchups will offer college basketball fans a lot of great action. We expect the games to be intense and many should be very close. Be sure to check out all of our picks. All of today’s games will be posted by 11 a.m. ET. Friday’s picks will be online by 11 a.m. tomorrow.