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NCAA Tournament 2015: Sweet 16 preview and SOJ Bracket Pool Update

A brief preview of each of the Sweet 16 matchups tonight plus a SOJuice Bracket Pool update.

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Is your SOJuice bracket busted yet?

I discovered that I some how picked 11 of the Sweet 16 teams after not glancing at my selections following the opening salvo of games last Thursday.

Notably, our leader 'Anybody but Kentucky' picked a nearly perfect East Region, while I can't get any more picks right in that region including my foolish choice of advancing Villanova to the NCAA final (I should have taken Gonzaga, they look good!).

Top 3:

112 pts - Anybody but Kentucky

101 pts - agam22

98 pts - Bracket Time

Sweet 16 Previews

No. 7 Wichita State vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (7:15, CBS)

Man, did the Shockers look good last weekend! They came up with all the big plays and quite frankly looked like the better team than Kansas. Most surprisingly, their front line (a supposed weak spot) held their own and then some against Perry Ellis and Kelly Oubre.

Ron Baker stepped up after some weak performances and he'll need to do so again against Notre Dame because outstanding point guard Fred VanVleet will require some help in his big-time battle against Jerian Grant. Center Zach Auguste had 25 against Northeastern, which means Darius Carter, Shaq Morris and unsung hero Zach Brown will need to play big for the Shockers in the paint.

This is a real toss-up, but I'll be rooting for Wichita State even though I have Notre Dame in my bracket.

No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 1 Wisconsin (7:47, TBS)

This will be a game of two contrasting styles. The Tar Heels (12th in tempo) played an NBA/AAU game against Arkansas that featured a ton of athleticism, physicality and up-tempo play. Wisconsin, as you may know, is the opposite style team and are 346th in the land in tempo.

The Badgers coped fairly well against an Oregon team that was playing fast and I like them again tonight with Marcus Paige playing the role that Joe Young did for Oregon. It looks like UNC forward Kennedy Meeks will play (sprained knee), but he won't be 100 percent while Badger point guard Traevon Jackson, who has been out since hurting his foot against Rutgers in early January, may return.

No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Kentucky (9:45, CBS)

Kentucky didn't look all that great against Cincinnati, but were able to dispatch a hard-nosed, poor shooting team comfortably anyway. West Virginia brings a lot of the same facets as the Bearcats on offense: 272nd in 3pt%, 251st in 2pt%. Noticeably, West Virginia attacks the offensive glass at an even better rate that Cincinnati (4th vs. 25th) and will need to come close to matching the 21 offensive boards the Bearcats pulled down in their loss.

The Mountaineers will also need to force turnovers via their relentless press and try to last in the battle of attrition against a deep Kentucky squad. It may take a hot-shooting team to beat the Wildcats, but we'll be sure to see a great effort from Bob Huggins' team tonight.

No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 2 Arizona (10:17, TBS)

Sean Miller is going up against the team he led to four NCAA tournament berths over five seasons during which Chris Mack was an assistant for. These two coaches know each other very well and it should make for a great game.

Arizona has looked dangerous in their first two NCAA tournament games and the Dee Davis/Myles Davis vs. T.J. McConnell/Gabe York back court battle will be intriguing to watch. Kaleb Tarczewski against Matt Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds will also be an area to keep an eye on. Reynolds, who was involved in some sort of incident on Xavier's campus prior to flying out to LA, will play.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 Time (ET) TV
(7) Wichita St vs (3) Notre Dame 7:15 PM CBS
(4) North Carolina vs (1) Wisconsin 7:47 PM TBS
(5) West Virginia vs (1) Kentucky 9:45 PM CBS
(6) Xavier vs (2) Arizona 10:17 PM TBS