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2011 NCAA Tournament: Sweet Sixteen Predictions

The second weekend of the Big Dance is almost underway, and we here at SBNation Pittsburgh are looking in our crystal ball to see how the round of sixteen will pan out:

EAST
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky, March 25 at 9:45 PM -
Jared Sullinger and the Buckeyes will roll past a Wildcat team that worked way too hard to beat Princeton and West Virginia.  Ohio State is simply too good to get beaten by a team not playing at their absolute best.  Ohio State: 77, Kentucky: 65


No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Marquette, March 25 at 7:15 PM -
The Golden Eagles are the Big East's breakout team in the tournment, playing their best basketball down the stretch.  The Tar Heel fast break will drive the tempo, but the Golden Eagles have athletes too.  If Darius Johnson Odom gets hot, and I think he will, it would spell trouble for the Tar Heels.  Marquette: 84, North Carolina: 81

WEST
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Arizona, March 24 at 9:45 PM -
The Blue Devils are rolling, with Kyrie Irving back in the fold, and Nolan Smith making a strong play for the Naismith Awards.  I'd love to see the Dukies go down... but it's not happening anytime soon. Duke: 76, Arizona: 60

No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 3 UConn, March 24 at 7:15 PM - Kemba Walker has been one of the most talked about players in the country all season long, and the Huskies have won seven a row, and they won't be stop now.  A rematch of the 1999 Title Game awaits them in the Elite Eight.  UConn: 69, SD State: 60

SOUTHWEST
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Richmond, March 25 at 7:27 PM -
Richmond, the city with two teams in the Sweet Sixteen has been a nice story.  Nice story and all, but no match for the Morris twins.  Kansas: 85, Richmond: 60


No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU, March 25 at 9:57 PM - A balanced attack led the Seminoles past Notre Dame in the tournament's second round.  They shouldn't need nearly that effort to best the Rams, who have to be happy just to be there.  FSU: 80, VCU: 71

SOUTHEAST
No. 8 Butler vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, March 24 at 9:57 PM -
Butler has been the nation's Cinderella team for over a year.  The Bulldogs won two games that went down to the wire in the opening round, and Wisconsin doesn't score enough to keep teams from hanging around.  The Badgers suffocating defense should keep this one low scoring, and should put Wisconsin into the Elite Eight.  Wisconsin: 58, Butler: 50


No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU, March 24 at 7:27 PM - Jimmer Fredette has the Cougars growling despite the loss of leading rebounder Brandon Davies.  Jimmer's crew was supposed to fold the moment they lost Davies.  Instead, they look better than ever.  Jimme shoots 'em into the Elite Eight.  BYU: 71, Florida: 68

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.