NCAA Tournament 2013: Ranking the Sweet 16 Match-Ups

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  • 4: #4 Syracuse Orange vs #1 Indiana Hoosiers – East Region at Washington

Mar 24, 2013; Dayton, OH, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls (1) celebrates with guard Victor Oladipo (4) in the game against the Temple Owls in the second half during the third round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at University of Dayton Arena. Indiana defeated Temple 58-52. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those games that is full of tradition and pageantry. I have always hated Syracuse in basketball and have liked Indiana since I was a kid. Tom Crean turning around the program from the scandal a few years ago is great not only for his kids and the state of Indiana, but for college basketball in general. Meanwhile Jim Boeheim has done himself proud as well, avoiding most of what could have become a lightning storm in New York with the whole child rape thing. I’m very happy that each program has survived and is even thriving, as it makes this match-up something of a must-see!

  • 3: #4 Michigan Wolverines vs #1 Kansas Jayhawks – South Region at Arlington, TX

Mar 21, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Mitch McGary (4) reacts to a basket in the second half against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at The Palace. Michigan won 71-56. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The resurgence of Michigan over the past couple seasons has been an absolute joy to college basketball enthusiasts like myself. Anybody who got to watch the “Fab Five” play has missed the maize & blue, but they’re back now. This could easily be the number one match-up of most Sweet 16’s, if not for the two ahead of it in 2013. After eviscerating a very good VCU team while KU struggled for 25 minutes with UNC, Michigan might even end up as a small favorite in this game. But let’s not forget the Jayhawks are #1 for a reason and they absolutely will not shoot as badly as they did Sunday in back to back games. Also, KU figures to have a decided advantage in the stands, which always seems to fuel this team in the second half. This one promises to be a great game.

  • 2: #3 Michigan State Spartans vs #2 Duke Blue Devils – Midwest Region at Indianapolis

Mar 24, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Seth Curry (30) celebrates making a basket during the second half against the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Duke defeated Creighton 66-50. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

This is a classic heavyweight fight between two of the premier Final Four contenders. Unfortunately, it has to happen in the Sweet 16, but it doesn’t make the game any less important or intriguing. The different styles of these programs has been long developed, so year in and year out, if and when these two get together it’s a battle. Sparty is going to look for a half court game that boasts beef on the inside. Duke is going to gun it from everywhere but they are not the classic run & gun team, they’d rather have their big men beat you in transition and they shoot plenty of threes. It’s worth repeating, this is a Final Four match-up in the Sweet 16.

  • 1: #15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs #3 Florida Gators – South Region at Arlington, TX

Mar 24, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Florida Gulf Coast Eagles players huddle before the start of game against San Diego State in the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

How fitting that the buildup to this game will end with it being the final matchup of the Sweet 16! FGCU and Florida will be one of the most electric atmosphere’s you have ever seen and the game itself promises to live up to the hype. It should be noted that coach Andy Enfield mentioned after their win over San Diego State that his team tried to schedule Florida for a scrimmage in the preseason, but the Gators blew it off. I’ll bet they wish they had played so they would be more familiar with the incredible quickness that the Eagles possess. Big brother vs little brother in potentially the most exciting game of the tournament.