The Midwest Region was nicknamed the ‘Group of Death’ when the brackets came out, and it has certainly lived up to that name. Louisville, Duke, and Michigan St. have all looked very good and Oregon has showed it was severely under seeded. Now, the four teams have arrived in the Sweet 16 and only one team will move on to the Final Four.
Louisville vs. Oregon (7:15 PM, Friday)
Key Match up: Russ Smith vs. Damyean Dotson
The play of Damyean Dotson has been one of the biggest reasons Oregon is still alive going into the second weekend. However, he hasn’t been matched up against Russ Smith and Peyton Siva. Smith has been one of the best guards in the country this season and has elevated his game in the postseason, averaging 25 points in his first two games. Both players have a significant impact on their team’s success and the winner of this game will likely be the team with the better guard play.
Louisville will win if…
They force turnovers and find scoring from players besides Siva and Smith. The Cardinals play smothering defense and would like to slow the game down and make Oregon beat them in the half court offense. Louisville doesn’t shoot the 3 well, but they can still score and as long as Russ Smith gets help, Louisville will move on.
Oregon will win if…
The ball finds the open man and the Ducks make someone besides Smith beat them. Oregon has played well lately, so now is the time for an upset, but it’s a tall task. Oregon will have to have a good shooting night and make Louisville defend all 5 guys. Arsalan Kazemi must be a monster on the boards, as he has been against Oklahoma St. and St. Louis, and not let Louisville get second chances. Don’t be fooled by the #12 next to Oregon on Friday, but a win over the number one overall seed would still be a huge upset.
Prediction: Louisville 64-55