PJ's Predictions: Elite Eight
The Sweet Sixteen was a boring and exciting round, with blowouts and thrillers. An example of this is Gonzaga blowing out Florida State and Tennessee losing in overtime to Purdue. Fans all around the world do not know what to expect heading into the Elite Eight. However, these four matchups could be hectic, exciting, or boring with a blowout.
The first matchup will be Gonzaga and Texas Tech. These two teams both played amazing in the Sweet Sixteen, blowing out their competition. Gonzaga, one of the top offenses in the country, will be competing against Texas Tech, one of the top defenses in the country. This should be a great matchup, a one seed versus a very underrated Texas Tech team. Texas Tech’s defense should give the great Gonzaga some trouble and keep the game close. However, Gonzaga will survive this tough matchup and be the first team to head to the Final Four.
The next matchup in the Elite Eight will be Virginia and Purdue. This should be the closest matchup of the four games. Virginia, although very talented, has struggled in the tournament, last year losing to a sixteen seed and this year struggling in the first and second rounds. Purdue played amazing, led by Carsen Edwards in the overtime win over Tennessee. However, they will not have another great game and Virginia will outlast them.
The third matchup will be in the East Region, Duke and Michigan State will battle to make it to the Final Four. Michigan State blew out LSU in the Sweet Sixteen by seventeen points, but this was without LSU’s head coach, who was suspended for the tournament. Duke did not easily win their matchup. Right before they played Virginia Tech, Cam Redish got a knee injury and could not play. However, Tre Jones, RJ Barrett, and Zion stepped it up in a two-point victory. With Cam Redish hopefully back in the lineup, Duke will come out and play great against a tough Michigan State team and win another close one. Duke from the start of the tournament had one goal, to be national champions, they will have the same goal heading into this game.
The final matchup of the Elite Eight is a surprising matchup of Kentucky and Auburn. Auburn came out and blew out North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen with the huge upset. Going into the tournament they went on a little streak and won the SEC championship and have been on fire since. However, Kentucky played great against Houston with PJ Washington back in the lineup, stepping up in the clutch. This will be a tough matchup for both teams, but Kentucky will win it in a nail biter.
With only eight teams heading into the Elite Eight, it is starting to feel a little bit closer to the Final Four. There have been a few very surprising upsets, but mostly just the best teams advancing. With four games in the Elite Eight, the four best teams will come out and go to the Final Four for a chance to play in the national championship.