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Ryan Miller’s Sweet 16/Elite Eight Prediction Extravaganza

Ryan Millers Sweet 16/Elite Eight Prediction Extravaganza

The Sweet 16 is here and my bracket is doing awesome (Iowa State lost to who?). But while I can still lie about that, it’s time to man up and put some things on record. So welcome, ladies and gentleman, to Ryan Miller’s Sweet 16/Elite Eight Prediction Extravaganza!

— Let’s get things started with a bang: Kentucky will not survive the weekend. The Wildcats’ undefeated run will end in the Elite Eight against my boys from Wichita State. Let’s flash back to a season ago when Kentucky and Wichita State played a tournament game for the ages. Both teams traded shot after shot right until the very end when Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet missed a three pointer that sealed the victory for Kentucky, and ended the Shocker’s perfect season.

Oh, what is that, Kentucky is undefeated this year? What goes around comes around, Wildcats, and Wichita State will get some revenge.

Arizona will beat Wisconsin by double-digits. Utah has seen first hand what happens when Arizona gets a little mad. The Wildcats win, and they win convincingly. Remember how the Utes were punched right in the mouth by Arizona in January? Yeah, that’s what is going to happen to Wisconsin, since I’m pretty sure the loss to the Badgers in last season’s Elite Eight didn’t sit very well.

Wisconsin is led by a really freaking good white guy (For those asking, I don’t think he had an offer to BYU, though it would have made sense) and though Frank Kaminsky can score from everywhere, this Wildcats team as a whole is just too good.

When I remember back to last season’s Arizona squad, I start to get a little hot. I’ll admit I had some man crushes. Aaron Gordon’s high-flying awesomeness and Nick Johnson’s rip-your-heart-out jumpers still make me swoon. No one on this year’s version of the ‘Cats is doing anything for me, and that’s exactly why they are so dangerous. They play so well as a team that no one really stands out, and that’s why they are headed to Indianapolis.

— I won’t watch any of the East bracket. This is the one I can control the most and it’s probably the one that will be most wrong, but the point is, I just don’t care about any of these teams. People talk about an East Coast bias — I apparently have a West Coast one.

I like my tournament filled with blue-bloods, but I also like those blue-bloods to actually be good. Michigan State and Louisville are both traditional powers, but neither of them have been very impressive this season.

People always say to not bet against Tom Izzo in March, well I’m about too. Yeah, that’s right Tom, what are you gonna do about it? N.C. State is coming out of the East. (Someone will probably have to tell me if this is right.)

— Utah will…. Ok, I want to pick the Utes, I do. But can I in good conscience? Let’s take a look.

Duke has this man of a 19-year-old in Jahlil Okafor that will be making millions next season dropping 20 per night in the NBA, and I don’t think Jakob Poeltl, Dallin Bachynski or anyone else on Utah’s roster can stop him. But we must remember the simple fact that Okafor is only one man.

Duke shoots at almost a 40 percent clip from the three-point line, and rely on that shot quite a lot (not as much as Utah does, but I digress). The Utes hold opponents to about 31 percent shooting from deep, and if they can hold the Blue Devils to that, then they definitely have a chance.

And while the Utah big men will probably get beat by Okafor a fair amount of times, I still think the Utes will be comfortable enough not to send an immediate double team towards him, choosing instead to stop everyone else. Okafor is good, but Wilt Chamberlain he is not — if Utah can shut down the rest of the Dukies, then there is no reason to think that the Utes can’t pull off the upset.

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Here’s my biggest qualm about picking Utah, though — an upset over the Blue Devils makes me ask, are the Utes a Final Four team? Are they a National Championship game team? Because if Utah gets by Duke it’ll face either UCLA or Gonzaga (both very winnable games), and then one of the bore fests of the East Region (also a very winnable game). So, am I willing to take the Utes all the way to the title game, and risk being called a homer? You bet your ass I am.

Get your flights ready everyone, the Utes are headed to Indianapolis.

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