Sweet 16 Day 2 Roundtable Discussion

(photo by Sports Illustrated)

The NCAA Tournament is on to the Sweet 16. Pypeline contributors Brandon Buckman, Aarman Seth, Sunil Karnik, Mike DeVoe, and Jason Gibbs had a round table discussion on the Friday games.

#2 Michigan St vs #3 LSU (East)

Jason: Let’s get to it! Michigan St vs LSU.

Brandon: I’ve been pulling for MSU since the Izzo controversy, I love tough coaching!

Jason: “Controversy.”

Sunil: I like LSU (+6) to not only cover but to win. If MSU had Langford, they were my pick to win the natty.

Aarman: Sparty!

Brandon: Winston has been phenomenal though, 19 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.

Jason: MSU -6 just seems like too big of a spread. Of course, that makes me think Sparty in a rout.

Brandon: Plus, LSU is still without HC Will Wade.

Jason: LSU is the lowest remaining team in Ken Pom rankings at #19. Sparty is #3.

Aarman: What’s Tom Izzo’s record in March?

Sunil: Izzo is damn good in March.

Aarman: Cassius Winston is the best PG in the country.

Jason: Ja Morant would like a word with you.

Aarman: Ja Morant is a great scorer not a true PG.

Jason: LSU ranked 49th in Adjusted D. Sparty is 9th.

Sunil: I just want to be able to say FSU beat three Elite Eight teams (LSU, Purdue, Virginia). #moralvictories

Aarman: I like Winston’s patience in the game. I just want to say Illinois beat the National Champion (Michigan State).

Brandon: Winston had 10 TOs in that game Aarman!

Aarman: Cause Illinois is that good.

Sunil: I don’t think we have the same definition of good.

Brandon: Next year…. Anyway, Izzo in March is 48-18 I believe, with 7 Final Fours.. I’m taking Michigan State 82-68.?

Aarman: I’ll say Sparty outlasts them in a close one, 68-64.

Sunil: LSU-FBI 75 MSU 72

Jason: Tigah fans are not going to enjoy that dig.

Sunil: Geaux tigahs!

Brandon: Not like MSU is that clean either.

Sunil: Haha, true.

Jason: LSU gets it done 70-65.

The health of UNC’s Nassir Little could play a huge factor in their Sweet 16 matchup vs Auburn.

#1 North Carolina vs #5 Auburn (Midwest)

Aarman: Anyway, what’s the next game?

Brandon: Auburn/UNC.

Aarman: I have UNC in my bracket, but I love how Auburn is playing.

Sunil: Auburn is hotter than Ali Landry in that 98° video.

Brandon: UNC is better, but when was the last time Bruce Pearls guys lost? They are cooking.

Jason: UNC is the most complete team in the country.

Aarman: Beg to differ. I think Gonzaga is the most complete team in the country. Don’t @me when the Zags or Spartans win the tourney.

Sunil: But I love UNC to win. Coby White, aka Sideshow Bob, is SO good.

Jason: They’re like a really good FSU team.

Sunil: Hahaha!

Jason: Nassir Little is questionable with the flu. That would be a big loss off the bench for the Tar Heels.

Brandon: Even without Little, UNC still has 5 legit scoring threats. Auburn heavily relies on Brown and Harper.

Sunil: UNC wins by 8.

Jason: UNC isn’t the best at defending the 3. If Auburn gets hot from deep, things could get dicey. But the Tar Heels are also getting Manley and Leaky Black off the bench making contributions. Gotta go UNC. 80-73.

Brandon: I’m taking the underdog. Austin Wiley has to be big against Luke Maye, but I like this Auburn team. War Eagle = Final Four bound, 87-82.

Aarman: I’ll stick with the Heels 75-62.

#2 Kentucky vs #3 Houston (Midwest)

Sunil: UK vs Houston. Houston is really, really good.

Brandon: They were last year, but then Jordan Poole happened.

Sunil: Too soon.

Jason: That was one of the Top 20 buzzer beaters of all time. Or so I’ve heard.

Sunil: Haha!

Jason: Looks like PJ Washington is a go.

Sunil: Houston with the upset. They are experienced and really tough.

Brandon: You all notice they have the same logo font? Random observation.

Sunil: Damn! That is some deep research.

Aarman: Houston is good, but if PJ Washington plays, I don’t think they have anyone to matchup with him.

Jason: Seems like Houston could pull it off. The one thing I worry about is coach rumors. Especially with college kids. And the rumors with Coogs coach Kelvin Sampson to Arkansas worry me.

Brandon: Sampson wouldn’t even deny it, though. That has to be a distraction. In my opinion, Houston is a better job. But that’s another topic.

Sunil: I agree. Start the rivalry with UCF for decades.

Jason: Houston’s defense is suffocating. Can Hagans avoid the turnovers? That’s a key for the Wildcats. If they give up a bunch of transition baskets, it’ll be a long night.

Brandon: I want to see UH win, but UK is just too deep and good. Darn you, Calipari!

Sunil: I think Herro is the key.

Brandon: I agree.

Sunil: If he is getting his shots it will be a long night for Houston. But I think he will be cold. I got Houston 76-71.

Jason: 65-60 Coogs.

Brandon: I think Corey Davis Jr. can turn himself into a house hold name after this one, but he’ll have to be huge. I always go against the blue bloods, but have to go with the Cats 67-59. They’re just too deep. I do love the AAC though! Go Coogs!

The Hokies Justin Robinson looks to lead Virginia Tech to the upset. – (AP)

#1 Duke vs #4 Virginia Tech (East)

Sunil: All right. The matchup we all care about. Zion vs VT.

Brandon: Buzz did it once, Buzz can do it again.

Sunil: Oh snap! I got Kerry Blackshear going for a double-double in a 70-69 Hokies win. Zion stays under 15 points.

Mike: Think Dook will be able to follow up last game with a strong performance? Personally, I think they will. So VT is going to have to play perfectly.

Jason: UCF might not have given Va Tech the blueprint to beat Duke, but there are definitely matchups the Hokies can take advantage of. Justin Robinson being back is YUGE for VT. They are not scared of the Blue Devils whatsoever.

Brandon: Fact: no team has ever made Final Four shooting 30% or lower from 3-point range. Duke, 30.7%, ranks 331st in D1.

Jason: For me, Duke -7 is way too high. The only thing is if it were the 2nd game of the weekend for Duke, VT would have a better shot.

Brandon: Force Duke to shoot the three ball. Chances are they won’t make it. Unless they get lucky like the first half against UCF.

Jason: Duke does avg 9 more rebounds/game. Hokies will have to minimize 2nd chance points. Can’t give Zion a bunch of easy putbacks (easier said than done).

Mike: Blackshear has to have a good game.

Brandon: I’m an ABD, Anybody But Duke. Hokes 73-72. Justin Robinson 3 at the buzzer. Oh, and Ty outlaw passed a drug test, he is cleared to play.

Jason: I got the Hokies in an upset. Seems to me like Duke keeps just skating by in various games. Seems like it bites them here. VT by 4.

Mike: I’ll go VT as well. I think they win by 6. Robinson doesn’t seemed phased by the Duke stars. He is the heartbeat of the team.

LSU Tigers guard Tremont Waters has a chance to be the x-factor for the Tigahs. – (Photo: John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports)

The X-factors

Jason: Let’s get a quick x-factor for each game.

Brandon: X-factors:

MSU/LSU – Xavier Tillman (MSU)
UNC/Aub – Austin Wiley (Aub)
UK/UH – Tyler Herro (UK)
Duke/VT – Justin Robinson (VT)
I wanna see how Tillman limits Naz Reid. That’s why he’s my x-factor.


LSU/MSU – Tremont Waters (LSU)
UNC/Aub – Coby White (UNC)
UK/UH – Tyler Herro (UK)
Duke/VT – Kerry Blackshear (VT)


LSU/MSU – Matt McQuaid (MSU)
UNC/Auburn – Luke Maye (UNC)
UK/AUB – Ashton Hagans (UK)
Duke/VT – Cam Reddish (Duke)


LSU/MSU – Tremont Waters (Tigahs)
UNC/Aub – Cam Johnson (Heels)
UK/UH – Corey Davis Jr. (Coogs)
Duke/VT – Justin Robinson (Hokies)

That’s a wrap! Should be some great games! Join us next time for the next Pypeline Roundtable.