Skip to content

Ranking the Watchability of the Sweet Sixteen matchups

Mar 26, 2013, 10:00 AM EST

Illinois v Miami Getty Images

Click here to browse through all of our Sweet 16 previews:

I’m going to do this countdown style, starting with the eighth-most-watchable game and finishing up with el numero uno.

8.  (3) Marquette vs. (2) Miami (CBS): Someone had to be the eight seed here. This game will be tough to watch because Marquette went through a couple of point-guard deficient mid-majors to get to the Sweet 16, and they’re about to get exposed. Shane Larkin has proved himself equal to the pressure of the national tournament, and the Hurricanes may well turn this into a laugher. Also, the eyeball impact of Marquette’s road unis and Miami’s highlighter-pen-inspired shoes will be devastating. One thing that might push this one higher in the end: the possibility of another brilliant Julian Gamble photobomb.

7. (13) La Salle vs. (9) Wichita State (TBS): Two very inspiring teams, but probably not the most telegenic basketball. Points had to be deducted when Carl Hall shaved off his visually dynamic dreadlocks, though some more were added back on for the braids of Tyrone Garland, which sway in most pleasing fashion when he lofts up the “Southwest Philly Floater”.

6. (6) Arizona vs. (2) Ohio State (TBS): It may be painful to watch Arizona’s guard-based attack attempt to battle past Aaron Craft only to run into the Buckeyes’ star big man DeShaun Thomas. Neither team has been associated with the term “win pretty” this season, so whichever way it goes, it could be a slog. If there’s another dramatic game-winner, this one will be much more interesting.

5. (4) Michigan vs. (1) Kansas (TBS): We’re sort of at the tipping point here. If the Kansas backcourt shows up in this one, it could be far better than I’m predicting. A Trey Burke/Tim Hardaway, Jr. vs. Elijah Johnson/Ben McLemore backcourt battle could be spectacular if the latter pair break out of the slump they inhabited in the first two games of the tourney. The emergence of Mitch McGary as a possible foil to the excellent Jeff Withey is a subplot to watch, as well.

4. (12) Oregon vs. (1) Louisville (CBS): I honestly could have flip-flopped this one with the No. 5 matchup without losing any sleep. Oregon has been dynamic and fun to watch thus far, but Louisville is such a meat grinder on defense, with a strong guard corps, that they might slow the Ducks down to an unwatchable pace. Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng setting up to reject anyone who gets inside could be fun, but not if we end up with a blowout.

3. (3) Michigan State vs. (2) Duke (CBS): It bothered me that I was more excited about the coaching matchup here than the actual styles of play, but there’s no doubt that this will be an epic showdown between two programs who have become synonymous with big tournament moments. There’s a lot of size and experience inside, so this could be one of the better big man games we’ll see in the Sweet Sixteen.

2. (4) Syracuse vs. (1) Indiana (CBS): Based on the sheer blue-chip athleticism that will be on display, I had to bump this one over the MSU-Duke game. You’ve got Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. Fair on one side, and Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller on the other. If you’ve watched any college hoops this season, you probably got a buzz just remembering some of the highlight-reel plays those four players have put up this year. Plus, the seeding works to our advantage, because the Hoosiers will be wearing their classic home jerseys and the Orange will be in… well, orange.

1. (15) Florida Gulf Coast vs. (3) Florida (TBS): If the Eagles played any other style, this would be a terrible game to watch, but the running, gunning, high-flying Dunk City underdog is great television, win or lose. I love the FGCU uniforms, and nobody can deny that coach Andy Enfield and his family burnish the school’s visual image as well. I’m including the Gators in this, of course, it’s not all about the Eagles. Florida gets a rather sizable 40 percent of their points from three-pointers, and they are the most perfectly balanced tourney team in terms of offensive and defensive prowess. Florida has serious hair game as well, from Billy Donovan’s distinctive widow’s peak to Will Yeguete’s puffy Fro-hawk.

It should be an incredibly watchable game on all fronts, but most especially because of the possibilities it represents. Florida would be in the Elite Eight for the third time in as many years if they prevail, and Florida Gulf Coast would be building on their incredibly improbable tournament resume. If the Eagles make an Elite Eight, can you really afford to be the person who was watching Letterman instead?

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Latest Posts
  1. Georgetown lands commitment from Class of 2015 wing

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    John Thompson III AP

    Johnson was considering some other high major programs.

  2. Report: Stanford’s Reid Travis to return on Wednesday

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:39 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Travis is a key piece for the Cardinal front court.

  3. Pregame Shootaround: Get ready for Duke-Notre Dame

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EST

    J.P. Tokoto, Jerian Grant AP

    A thrilling top ten battle highlights the night.

  4. Michigan’s Derrick Walton missed Tuesday with foot injury, extent unknown

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:25 AM EST

    Derrick Walton Jr. (AP Photo) AP

    You know what Michigan doesn’t need? More injuries.

  5. Heartbreak fuels Renardo Sidney’s new sense of purpose

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:16 AM EST

    Photo via the Island Storm facebook page Photo via the Island Storm facebook page

    We have heard Renardo Sidney say he is a changed man before. He explains why a two-year hiatus from basketball has changed him.

  6. Late Night Snacks: Florida, Xavier, West Virginia earn good road wins; VCU rolls past George Washington

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:35 PM EST

    wvu Getty Images

    Xavier and West Virginia earned nice conference road wins while VCU rolled over George Washington.

  7. #POSTERIZED: Dorian Finney-Smith with the rare game-winning poster (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:16 PM EST

    MISSISSIPPI FLORIDA MISSISSIPPI FLORIDA

    Florida needed this win badly. Dorian Finney-Smith dunked them there.

  8. Wyoming guard Riley Grabau banks in 3/4 court first-half buzzer-beater against Utah State (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EST

    Wyoming v UNLV Getty Images

    Wyoming’s Riley Grabau banked in a buzzer-beater from long distance to end the first half against Utah State.

  9. Uncertainty still plagues South Florida forward after weekend hospitalization

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Chris Perry AP

    South Florida is still without its most productive player after after he went into the hospital with chest pains this weekend.

  10. Colorado gets a commitment from Class of 2016 guard

    Jan 27, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

    Tad Boyle AP

    Colorado gets another guard in the 2016 class.

  11. Akron to play second-annual ‘Purple Out’ in purple uniforms to help raise pancreatic cancer awareness

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    (Akron Athletics) (Akron Athletics)

    Akron is having its second-annual “Purple Out” against Ball State to help raise pancreatic cancer awareness.

  12. Duke releases awesome ‘mixtape’ to celebrate Coach K’s 1,000th win (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    You sometimes forget just how good some of the Duke guards were throughout the years. Here’s a reminder.

  13. New Mexico governor donates $10,000 to Lobo star’s charity

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:33 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Hugh Greenwood made headlines last week for responding to an online troll.

  14. Dan Patrick Show: Coach K talks 1,000 wins, most important player (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    Mike Krzyzewski AP

    Can you guess who the most important player in program history was?

  15. Winter Storms postponing a few college basketball games (UPDATED)

    Jan 27, 2015, 9:16 AM EST

    Ed Cooley (AP Photo) AP

    DePaul may have to reschedule their trip to Providence.