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NCAA Bracket 2011: Sweet 16 East Bracket Predictions

After a few close calls, the majority of the top seeds made it through to the East Regional Finals in New Jersey. Syracuse was the lone top four seed to fall, and now the Kentucky Wildcats and (possibly) the North Carolina Tar Heels will get their shot at top seed Ohio State, who ravaged George Mason and Texas-San Antonio in their first two games. Can anyone stop the juggernaut that is the Buckeyes?

Or, will Marquette continue to stun the world and knock off two more highly-regarded teams to try to avenge their Big East brethren? Lets take a look at the Sweet 16 leftovers in the East bracket.

East Region Predictions
1. Ohio St. Buckeyes versus 4. Kentucky Wildcats

Projected Winner (Pomeroy): Ohio State 74-67 (76%)
Prediction: Ohio State

It’s hard to find a real chink in the Buckeye armor the way they’re playing right now. Kentucky is, I think, a pretty decent matchup for them. The only real weakness the Wildcats have on paper is that they’re not very good at forcing turnovers, and giving the ultra-efficient Ohio State offense any extra possessions is asking for trouble. Kentucky’s game-plan needs to be focused more on underdog tactics if they hope to win; they need to draw fouls and shoot three-pointers well. While I can imagine scenarios where Kentucky walks away with the victory, Ohio State is playing so well right now that it’s hard to pick against them.

11. Marquette Golden Eagles versus 2. North Carolina Tar Heels
Projected Winner (Pomeroy): North Carolina 76-73 (64%)
Prediction: North Carolina

Marquette’s chances in this game revolve more around the three-point line than I think they’d like them to. They didn’t shoot many against either Syracuse or Xavier, and it’s not going to be easy to take the ball into the paint against Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Harrison Barnes also causes matchup problems for them. I’d feel a lot better about the Golden Eagles’ chances in this game if Syracuse hadn’t shot 55% against them in the loss, because North Carolina’s offense can be spotty from time-to-time. However, I’ve got to give North Carolina the nod here because I just can’t see Marquette having any real matchup edges or the ability to take advantage of the Tar Heels’ offense.

Hate these predictions and want to stick it to the man by printing out your own NCAA Bracket? Well hey, you can do so right here. I swear, I’m pulling for you Marquette! I just don’t think you’ve got a chance. Here’s the schedule, as well.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.