March 17, 6:30 a.m.: Good morning, everyone. This is Eric. I believe Steve leaves for Kansas City tonight. I depart for K.C. tomorrow morning. Some loyal readers have requested my Sweet 16 picks. And after examining the matchups for a considerable amount of time yesterday, here’s my Sweet 16:
Louisville: Samardo needs to raise level of play for deep run
Wake Forest: Three NBA first-round picks need to play like it
West Virginia: Sleeper team poised to return to regional semifinals
Michigan State: Second-round matchup with USC worries me
Connecticut: Huskies could fall in Sweet 16 to emerging Purdue
Purdue: May go farther than any Big Ten team
Marquette: This pick worries me more than others
Memphis: Tigers have a chip on their shoulder. That’s good
Pittsburgh: Florida State’s size will make for intriguing matchup
Florida State: Don’t expect large media contingent in Boise
Villanova: Home-court advantage springboards Wildcats
Duke: These Blue Devils won’t go out early
North Carolina: All eyes on Lawson’s toe
Gonzaga: Size, depth will give Tar Heels all they can handle
Arizona State: James Harden is worth checking out
Oklahoma: Coach Jeff Capel on the move?
Don’t you love all the mid-major picks? I hate not picking true mid-majors in the Sweet 16. The problem I have with the bracket – perhaps more than the fact that only four non-BCS conference teams received at-large berths – was that a couple elite mid-major teams, Siena and Butler – both capable of reaching the Sweet 16 with the right matchups – were put in very tough situations. They both were given No. 9 seeds and will have to play a No. 1 if they win the first game. That’s unfortunate.
March 17, 2009; 6:34 AM ET
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