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2023 Sweet Sixteen Expert Picks – March 24, 2023

Sweet Sixteen Expert Picks – March 24, 2023

SWEET SIXTEEN EXPERT PICKS – MARCH 24, 2023 – The Sweet 16 is approaching quickly, and we already examined the games for Thursday’s slate. Now, let us take a look at the games for Friday, with the two remaining 1-seeds facing off and 15-seed Princeton trying to do the unthinkable. 

Friday, March 24

#5 San Diego State vs #1 Alabama, 3:30 PM PST 

This is going to be a fantastic showdown. The Aztecs defeated a tough Charleston team and then beat Furman by 23 to get to the Sweet 16, and their defense is as tough as it gets in the entire country. On top of that, the Aztecs offense scored 75 points on Saturday, which is the most they have scored since February 25. 

Alabama hasn’t been tested yet – they beat 16-seed Texas A&M Corpus Christi and then topped Maryland by 22 points, so the Crimson Tide have yet to have a tough game. Brandon Miller shook off his injury to score 19 points but on 5-17 from the field, and Jahvon Quinerly exploded with 22 points on 9-14. 

The Aztecs defense has been playing at a magnificent level, and their swarming, relentless play on the defensive end has been tiresome for both Charleston and Furman. Also, neither Charleston nor Furman was able to score more than 60 points. 

If the Aztecs defense plays as they did over the past month, they win and move on to the Elite Eight. Does Brandon Miller show up? 

Prediction: San Diego State +7.5 and San Diego State, ML (+280)

#5 Miami (FL) vs #1 Houston, 4:15 PM PST 

The Hurricanes are the last ACC team remaining, and they get paired with #1 seed Houston. The Cougars have survived even with multiple injuries, and they just ran over Auburn by 17 points. 

Miami held off a tough Drake team in the Round of 64, but they then walked all over Indiana in an 85-69 upset despite a masterful outing from Traye Jackson-Davis. 

Isaiah Wong went 1-10 against Drake but responded with a 9-17 outing for 27 points and 8 rebounds against the Hoosiers. Houston has been one of the best teams in the nation, and as long as Marcus Sasser is healthy, the Cougars keep winning games. 

Prediction: Houston, ML (-325)


#15 Princeton vs #6 Creighton, 6 PM PT 

This is where it gets fun. The Princeton Tigers stunned Arizona and then defeated Mizzou to get to this point. Creighton topped NC State and then beat Baylor by nine points, and the Bluejays are one of three Big East teams left in the field. 

The marvelous story of Princeton will be remembered along with the wonder that Fairleigh Dickinson was. Princeton dominated Mizzou by 15 points in a terrific outing, and if they play like that, they move on to the Elite Eight. 

Ryan Nembhard dropped 30 points against Baylor, and the Bluejays starting five is one of the best in the country. Princeton gives them a run for their money, but Creighton moves on. 

Prediction: Creighton -9.5


#3 Xavier vs #2 Texas, 6:45 PM PST 

The final game of the Sweet 16 might be the best. Sean Miller and Xavier are a popular Final Four pick, and the winner of this game is my pick to get to the Final Four. The Musketeers withheld a furious Kennesaw State team, then they beat Pitt by 11.

Texas beat Colgate by 20 and then beat a very good Penn State team by five points. The Longhorns and the story of Rodney Terry are sensational, and their depth is one of the best in the country. Dylan Disu scored 28 points against Penn State and 17 against Colgate with 10 rebounds in each game, and the Longhorns are as complete as they come. 

I picked Texas in the Final Four, and I’m sticking with it as the Rodney Terry run continues. 

Prediction: Texas, ML (-195)

#3 Gonzaga vs #2 UCLA, 6:45 PM PST 

This is the one you want to tune in for! This is a 2021 Final Four rematch in the game where Jalen Suggs hit an unreal buzzer-beater, jumped on the table, and sent the Bulldogs to the national title game, ending UCLA’s improbable Final Four run as an 11-seed. 

This time, the Bruins are short-handed without Jaylen Clark, and they had a tough time against Northwestern, winning 68-63. Jaime Jaquez Jr. is doing what he can, and Amari Bailey has stepped up for Mick Cronin’s team with 31 points in the tourney so far. 

Gonzaga beat Grand Canyon and then engineered a 51-point second half to top TCU, 84-81. Drew Timme is making a run for player of the tournament with 49 points and 14 rebounds so far, and he was everywhere against TCU. Rasir Bolton stepped up against TCU with 17 points, and Julian Strawther dropped 28 points and 10 boards against Grand Canyon in the first round. 

UCLA is a much different team with Clark in the lineup, and if he was there, they probably win this game. But, Drew Timme is playing out of his mind, and Gonzaga wins on another thrilling finish. 

Prediction: Gonzaga, ML



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