Friday Sweet Sixteen Preview and Predictions

Team huddles during introductions against Texas A&M at Reed Arena in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Mar 4, 2023.

Let’s get this out of the way from the top. Yes, I went 0-4 on my picks yesterday. It happened. I spent well over an hour doing analysis on all four games yesterday and coming up with a prediction for each, and I got all four of them wrong. I almost was discouraged enough to not make predictions again today. That, and the fact that I don’t want to jinx the Crimson Tide with my clearly poor predictions. But, it’s a new day and we ride again. Surely, we can only go up from here:

South Region: #5 San Diego State vs. #1 Alabama:

If I told you I wasn’t nervous, I would be a liar. The Crimson Tide are favored by 7.5 points over a very solid Aztecs team who plays defense as well as anyone else in the nation. SDSU took down Charleston in the first round and destroyed Furman in the Round of 32. If Alabama plays their game and gives the SDSU offense problems, the Tide should be just fine. But if the Aztecs, whose offense is really just average, are making shots early, Alabama could be in some trouble. This all to be said, I believe the Tide do enough on both ends of the court in order to pull this one out and advance to just their second Elite Eight in program history.


Alabama 65

San Diego State 57

Midwest Region: #5 Miami vs. #1 Houston:

Miami has played two very good games with wins over Drake and a beatdown over Indiana led by star guard Isaiah Wong, who is one of the best players in the country. Houston, who was arguably the favorite to win the whole thing entering the tournament, played one terrible game where they escaped over Northern Kentucky, and half of a phenomenal game against Auburn to beat the Tigers by 17 after trailing by 10 at halftime. The Cougars look to be back on track, and while Miami is hot, I expect Houston to be able to handle them.


Houston 73

Miami 61

South Region: #15 Princeton vs. #6 Creighton:

The Princeton Tigers are the Cinderella story of the entire tournament. Last year’s St. Peter’s team became the first 15 seed to ever reach the Elite Eight, and now Princeton is trying to become the second. The Tigers took down 2 seed Arizona and 7 seed Missouri to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Creighton is a fantastic team (12th in KenPom) and is favored by 1o points tonight. They beat NC State and really dominated 3 seed Baylor from start to finish to get to this point. Princeton has been a nice story, but this feels like one Creighton runs away with.


Creighton 83

Princeton 65

Midwest Region: #3 Xavier vs. #2 Texas:

Point spread wise, this is the closest matchup of the night. These two teams are from the two best conferences in college basketball and have each been through their own respective gauntlet. Xavier had a scare in the first round against Kennesaw State, but came back to win, followed by a dominant victory over Pitt. Texas handled Colgate and then took care of Penn State in the second round to reach this point. I don’t feel great about this pick and think it will be close, but I’m gonna go with Texas in this one, who has consistently been one of the best teams in the nation all year long.


Texas 72

Xavier 70