Sweet Sixteen: Who the Rumble likes on Thursday, besides Verne Lundquist

Get back on the couch. Your hiatus is over. The NCAA Tournament has knocked 52 of the original 68 teams out, and it's time for the Sweet Sixteen to begin. On Thursday night, the real dance kicks off.

Four Big East teams will take the floor on Thursday night against three from the Big 10 and one from the SEC. If it wasn't for Billy Donovan's Gators, tonight would be the first ever Big East-Big 10 Challenge. Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Marquette look to make the rest of the conference proud, whether that is with either a win or loss.

The Sweet Sixteen always gives us a bevy of captivating match-ups to watch, and this year is no different. A quartet of games from Boston and Phoenix starts another long weekend of satisfying college hoops. I'm sure our loved ones are thrilled.

But don't feel bad. The Sweet Sixteen only comes around once every year. The mall and the movies will be there in June. Dinner by the TV never killed anyone. The Tournament provides us with the NBA arena version tonight, while tomorrow's action is sponsored fully by NFL domes. The venues won't make any impact on the intimacy of such a special weekend. But the Ohio Bobcats might.

The Rumble's Thursday predictions and other observations, below the fold.

Thursday's Sweet Sixteen Games, Locations, and TV Stations Picks
Location Date Time Game
TV
Tim
Quinn
Pico
TD Garden (Boston, Mass.) Thursday, March 22 7:15 PM Wisconsin #4 E
CBS
x
vs. Syracuse #1 E
x
x
US Airways Center (Phoenix, Ariz.) Thursday, March 22 7:47 PM Louisville #4 W
TBS
vs. Michigan St. #1 W
x
x
x
TD Garden (Boston, Mass.) Thursday, March 22 9:45 PM Cincinnati #6 E
CBS
vs. Ohio St. #2 E
x
x
x
US Airways Center (Phoenix, Ariz.) Thursday, March 22 10:17 PM Florida #7 W
TBS
x
vs. Marquette #3 W
x
x

Quinn's game to watch: Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Cincinnati Bearcats.

Even though you can make a case to pay most of your attention to any of tonight's four match-ups, the Buckeyes and Bearcats create a captivating game. Cincinnati, one of four Big East teams to play on Thursday, will be looking to make its first Sweet 16 since 2000-12 under Bob Huggins. Sean Kilpatrick and Yancy Gates, along with Cashmere Wright and Dion Dixon, have helped Mick Cronin's team regain stability late in the season. After a Big East Tournament runner-up performance and wins over Texas and Florida State, Cincinnati is more than ready to take one of the best the Big 10 has to offer.

Ohio State, fueled by the dynamic inside play of NBA prospect Jared Sullinger, has surprised many in its first two NCAA Tournament games. For a squad that was solid all year (enough to obtain a 2-seed), the Buckeyes did not make all that much noise or create as much buzz as it did a year ago.

But Thad Matta's team could be playing its best basketball all season - at the most opportune time. I expect this game to be a grind and a clash between two of the best defensive units left in the field. Ultimately, the depth of talent for Ohio State will overwhelm Cincinnati, but not without a valiant battle.

Tim's game to watch: Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Cincinnati Bearcats.

Interesting: I could be wrong but I don't think anyone saw Cincinnati make it all the way to the Sweet 16 especially after their brawl with Xavier (who also made it to the Sweet 16). Ohio State, led by sophomore phenom Jared Sullinger, could face their opponent in the tournament yet. Bearcats head coach, Mick Cronin, takes a lot of pride in defense and will have a game plan set with hopes that Yancy Gates can take Sullinger out of his game and help prevail Cincy to an Elite 8 appearance.

I picked Ohio State, but don't be shocked if this game goes down to the wire.

Pico's game to watch: Marquette Golden Eagles vs Florida Gators.

Yes, I'd LIKE to go to work well-rested tomorrow, but I can't possibly pass up a high-powered, high speed, guard-oriented game that will be filled with threes and dunking, and moments of truth for both teams. Marquette's defense has enveloped opponents in a shroud of manic energy and execution, dropping points like rain in transition. But Florida has athletes and can win games while playing poor defense. Meanwhile, Florida's found some defensive acumen, but can they stop Marquette? Or can they outshoot the Golden Eagles, who have held very good offensive teams like Murray State to painfully low point totals?

The swagger level in the last game of the night (which I will likely watch tomorrow morning - that's a really late start!!) will be off the charts.

Bonus: watching Wisconsin stop Syracuse's transition game, and watching Syracuse stifle Wisconsin's perimeter game will be a fun chess match.

Follow the Rumble on Facebook | Follow on Twitter: Rumble In The Garden | Tim | Quinn | Pico | Follow on Tumblr

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker