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March Madness Sweet 16 Bracket Is Set
And then there were 16.
We are now down to the “Sweet 16” part of the 2022 NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament.
Four games are scheduled for Thursday, and the other four Sweet 16 Games will run on Friday. Thursday’s slate features Gonzaga vs. Arkansas (7:09 p.m. EST), Michigan vs. Villanova (7:29 p.m. EST), Texas Tech vs. Duke (9:39 p.m. EST) and Houston vs. Arizona (9:59 p.m. EST).
On Friday, Saint Peter’s will look to put an end to Purdue’s surprising season (7:09 p.m. EST). Providence and Kansas will commence action 20 minutes later (7:29 p.m. EST). The two evening games will feature North Carolina vs. UCLA (9:39 p.m. EST) and Iowa State vs. Miami (9:59 p.m. EST).
For March Madness Betting, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the favorites to win the national championship at multiple sports books. FanDuel gives them +240 odds, and DraftKings has Gonzaga at +180 to win it all.
FanDuel and DraftKings both give the Jayhawks the second highest odds of winning it all at +500 and +400, respectively. Iowa State (+10000) at FanDuel and Saint Peter’s (+25000 at DraftKings) are the biggest long shots to win.
Gonzaga lost to the Baylor Bears in the championship game last year. The Bulldogs have long been viewed as the favorites to win it all this year. They are now just four wins away from bringing the school its first men’s basketball championship.
The Elite Eight will run from March 26 to 27. The Final Four matchups will run on April 2, and the championship game will be played on April 4. All three of those games will be played at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. Louisiana.
Matt McMahon Reportedly Leaving Murray State For LSU
The LSU Tigers are bringing in Murray State’s Matt McMahon to replace Will Wade as head coach.
Citing sources, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports that McMahon is expected to become the new head coach of the Tigers. The 43-year-old has been the head coach of the Racers since 2015-16, compiling an impressive 154-67 record.
LSU fired Wade and named Kevin Nickelberry the interim head coach. They were eliminated by the Iowa State Cyclones in the first round of March Madness play.
Wade spent five seasons as head coach of the Tigers (2017-18 to 2021-22), compiling a 108-53 record. The Tigers never had a losing season under Wade, but he was let go following allegations that he illegally gave money to LSU recruits.
Jabari Smith Doesn’t Know If He’ll Enter 2022 NBA Draft
Auburn Tigers forward Jabari Smith hasn’t yet decided if he’ll return for another collegiate season or declare for the NBA Draft.
The Tigers were one of the biggest surprises of the 2021-22 NCAA basketball season, but it all ended with a 79-61 blowout loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday.
With Auburn eliminated, one can’t help but wonder if Smith — widely projected to go first overall in this year’s draft — will leave Auburn after a thrilling season.
“I don’t know yet,” Smith said after the game, per Tom Green of AL.com.
The 6-foot-10, 220-pound freshman averaged 16.9 points, two assists and 7.4 rebounds in 34 contests this season.
Prediction: Gonzaga Will Win National Championship
The Bulldogs have been considered the team to beat by many throughout the 2021-22 season. Their performance in March Madness up to this point should inspire plenty of confidence among the fans.
To date, the Bulldogs have only lost three games all season. This battle-tested group made easy work of Georgia State last Thursday, before surviving a scare against Memphis State (82-78), and now they will look to get by a powerhouse Arkansas team.
This tournament is anyone’s to win, but the Bulldogs simply feel like the safest pick to win it all. Mark Few’s group has been firing on all cylinders, and their stingy/lockdown defense will continue to cause headaches for opponents.
There is simply too much scoring depth to go around here, and it all starts with the dominant two of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. When all is said and done, the Bulldogs will avenge last year’s heartbreaking finals loss by claiming the championship once and for all.
Written by Max Miller
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)
The Athletic: Mark Few wishes someone warned Gonzaga ‘what we were in for’ vs. Baylor
New York Times: L.S.U.’s Mess of a Season Ends Amid Coach’s Firing
Bookies: March Madness Betting 2022
Top Image Courtesy of Todd Greene – Unsplash Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Dan Carlson – Unsplash Creative Commons License