One week and 52 eliminated teams later, we have reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament; and as usual, there have been expectations fulfilled (three of the four No. 1 seeds are still alive) and surprises abound. (How many of us honestly had the immortal Marquette, Richmond, VCU, Florida State and Butler still alive at this point?) Players have become legends, coaches have become unemployed, some coaches have found new life as studio analysts, (Rick Pitino did very well in the studio with CBS this weekend, and Mike Rice made six hours of pregame on CBS College Sports interesting and exciting) and the overall presentation of the tournament has been open to criticism. As far as that last point, I won't reference it until after the nets are cut down, because I have quite a lot to say about that. Until then, let's focus on the many other nuggets that have commanded and received our attention over the last seven (yes, the First Four still counts regardless of whether or not you hold value in it) days.
- The Jimmer.
- Some of the best players you've probably never heard of.
- Mid-major coaches looking to move up.
- Farewell, orange blazer.
Yes, it's the end of the Bruce Pearl era (photo courtesy of Deadspin) at Tennessee after the Vols were soundly defeated by Michigan in the round of 64 after Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton issued a press release indicative of the administration's wait-and-see decision regarding their embattled head coach, who was reportedly out before the game even took place. While the charismatic Pearl may not land on his feet immediately due to the NCAA investigation surrounding his infamous barbecue incident, he won't be out of the picture for long.
The Way I See It: Sweet 16 Predictions
East: Ohio State defeats Kentucky, North Carolina defeats Marquette
West: Duke defeats Arizona, UConn defeats San Diego State
Southwest: Kansas defeats Richmond, VCU defeats Florida State
Southeast: Wisconsin defeats Butler, BYU defeats Florida