“If North Carolina can get past Wisconsin, that will be a lot of offensive recovery for Baylor,” said Ellis. “As good as they are defensive, they are very big.”
He said he thought North Carolina could cause problems for the bears if they “could dominate the boards and keep their young backcourt from turning the basketball over”.
Cunningham and Oklahoma State were likely understaffed at # 4, and now they could take them to # 1 in Illinois in the last 16. This could mean an early end to Cunningham’s college career if he makes his way to the NBA draft, or it could be a chance for him to shine on a giant stage in front of his 2-year-old daughter Riley and cause the surprise .
The Cowboys had already played against a tough Liberty team (23: 5) and could then possibly compete against the power of the Southeastern Conference in Tennessee (18: 8).
“If I had picked a team that had the worst draw: Oklahoma State,” said Bilas.
The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, a longtime college basketball writer, likes Gonzaga beating SEC regular-season and tournament champions, Alabama, in one national semifinals while Illinois leads Purdue in the other. He got Gonzaga in the final against Illinois, just like Obama. Choosing Purdue for a run is a smart move as the Boilermakers will play all games in their home state.
“The Zags were the best team in the country since the start of the season,” wrote DeCourcy. “And while their dominance at the West Coast Conference was even more overt than usual because they weren’t forced to deal with all the crazy crowds in bandboxing gyms, the WCC final against BYU showed that they can be resilient.”
Of course, it is always advisable to check into Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. He has Gonzaga with a 43 percent chance of the championship game and a 28 percent chance of winning the title. Illinois, the Big Ten tournament winner, has a 27 percent chance of winning the title game and a 15 percent chance of winning it next.