NCAA Tournament Preview: Who’s Elite? Who’s Merely Sweet?

Kyle Wiltjer
The Associated Press
Auburn, AL

In previewing the Sweet 16, one team stands out with no stars after an opening weekend in which the Breitbart Sports All-Americans and All-Conference players dominated a crazy first two rounds of March Madness.

Danuel House might sneak into the NBA, and Alex Caruso and Jalen Jones are longshots. None of them rank in the top 5% (top 200) of all Value Add Basketball college players. They were just a few very good seniors trying to play hard for the last 30 seconds of their double-digit loss to Northern Iowa.

Then the most incredible comeback started with House scoring with 30 seconds off a steal and assist from freshman Aggies teammate Admon Gilder to make it 69-61. A steal and dunk from Jones, turnover and House three-pointer, Caruso drives and and is fouled, and one final Gilder steal and layup to force overtime and lead to the come-from-behind win.

Texas A&M goes on to play Oklahoma on TBS Thursday at 7:37 p.m. Here are the rest of the games.

South – CBS Thursday (projected winners in bold; all times Eastern)

Thursday 7:10 p.m. CBS – Villanova (Josh Hart 1st Team All-Big East, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Daniel Ochefu 2nd Team All-Big East) over Miami (Sheldon McClellan 2nd Team All-ACC). Villanova made it through the first weekend for the first time since 2009 and their utter dominance of Iowa legitimized them as the Big East hope.

Thursday 9:40 p.m. CBS – Kansas (Frank Mason and Perry Ellis both 5th Team All-American — Iowa State only other with two All-Americans — and Wayne Selden 2nd Team All-Big 12) over Maryland (Melo Trimble 5th team All-American, Robert Carter, and Diamond Stone 2nd Team). Both teams are loaded with NBA talent, but Maryland has been inconsistent while Kansas is the team to beat.

West – TBS Thursday

7:37 p.m. – Oklahoma (Buddy Hield National Player of the Year and Isaiah Cousins 2nd Team All-Big 12) over Texas A&M (None, just incredible balance). Can the one team with no stars beat the greatest star of this season?

9:55 p.m. – Duke (Grayson Allen 2nd team All-American and Brandon Ingram 1st Team All-ACC) over Oregon (Dillon Brooks and Chris Boucher both 2nd Team All-Pac 12). The Pac-12’s one hope gets a shot in the tournament of the ACC.

East – TBS Friday

7:27 p.m. — Wisconsin (Nigel Hayes 1st Team All-Big Ten) over Notre Dame (Demetrius Jackson 2nd team All-ACC). All-American bracket picked Stephen F. Austin. The battle of last second winners — the bracket picked SFA to be the first 14-seed to make the Sweet 16 since 1997 and was one second from being correct — but Notre Dame tapped in a win then Wisconsin also hit a final second shot to stun Xavier.

9:57 p.m. — North Carolina (Brice Johnson 2nd team All-American) over Indiana (Yogi Ferrell 4th team All-American). All-American bracket picked Kentucky — the most followed Sweet 16 game for sure.

Midwest – CBS Friday

7:10 p.m. — Iowa State (Monte Morris 2nd Team All-American, Georges Niang 5th Team All-American — only team besides Kansas with two Breitbart All-Americans) over Virginia (Malcolm Brogdon 3rd team All-American).

9:40 p.m. — Gonzaga (Kyle Wiltjer Player of the Year in West Coast Conference and Domantas Sabonis 1st Team All-WCC) over Syracuse (Michael Gbinije 2nd Team All-ACC). All-American bracket picked Michigan State.

The method for determining the Breitbart Sports All-American Bracket and the other approaches is explained here.