The 2019 NCAA Tournament has lacked a ton of surprises this year, but we all still find a way to enjoy March Madness. The top 12 teams in the tournament have advanced to the Sweet 16 with Oregon being the only double-digit seed remaining in the field.
The lack of Cinderellas in the tournament creates even more exciting matchups for the Sweet 16 and beyond.
What are the top games you should be watching when March Madness resumes?
Here are the top five matchups in the Sweet 16.
5. No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Date: March 28, 9:39 p.m.
The matchup between Texas Tech and Michigan is intriguing due to the teams’ similar styles of play. Both teams are defensive-minded that go through rough patches offensively. The Wolverines are making their second consecutive appearance in the West Regional semifinals and are looking to make it back to the Elite Eight.
The Red Raiders also made the Elite Eight last season and are trying to make their second appearance in school history. Jarrett Culver is the most talented player in the game, but Michigan has a trio of good scorers in Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews, and Ignas Brazdeikis. The interior battle between Tariq Owens and Jon Teske will be a deciding factor in the game as both players are elite rim protectors.
The matchup between two of the nation’s elite defenses will be exciting to watch.
4. No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Virginia
Location: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky
Date: March 28, 2019 9:59 p.m.
Oregon is the hottest team in the nation right now as the Ducks are currently on a 10-game winning streak. The Ducks will be putting their winning streak on the line against top seed Virginia, one of the nation’s top defenses. The point guard matchup between Ty Jerome and Payton Pritchard might be the best battle in the Sweet 16 as both players excel at controlling the pace of play.
Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter are capable scorers on the wing for the Cavaliers, but Oregon’s Louis King has improved his play in the NCAA Tournament with seven three-pointers in two games. Kenny Wooten has dominated the paint for Oregon in the NCAA Tournament as he has recorded 11 blocks in two games. The contrasting styles of play combined with elite defense makes this game one of the most exciting Sweet 16 games on the docket.
3. No. 3 Houston vs. No. 2 Kentucky
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Date: Friday, March 29 9:59 p.m.
While the Auburn-North Carolina matchup seems like a better game on paper, Houston and Kentucky is more intriguing. For starters, star sophomore forward P.J. Washington might be unable to play in the Sweet 16, leaving the Wildcats very thin on the front line. Reid Travis, E.J. Montgomery, and Nick Richards are capable big men, but they are the only three healthy big men on the team.
The Cougars are one of the nation’s elite defenses, leading the nation in field percentage defense at 36.7 percent. Corey Davis Jr. is one of the most underrated players in the entire nation as he is capable of going off for over 20 points at any given time. Houston and Kentucky should be an instant tournament classic, especially if Washington is unable to play.
2. No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Duke
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
Date: Friday, March 29 9:29 p.m.
A conference battle in the NCAA Tournament is always exciting to watch and this game is no different. Virginia Tech beat Duke this season the only time they played each other, but the Blue Devils were without Zion Williamson. The Hokies did not have point guard Justin Robinson for that game so both teams will be playing at full strength on March 29.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. is a reliable scorer for Virginia Tech, but he is the only big guy for Buzz Williams’ squad. Duke has the size to attack the basket in RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. Virginia Tech will look to pull off a massive upset as the Hokies will try to beat Duke for the second time this season.
1. No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Date: Thursday, March 28 7:09 p.m.
A rematch of last year’s Sweet 16, Florida State-Gonzaga promises to live up to the expectations. The Seminoles have the size and depth in the frontcourt to give Gonzaga problems around the rim. The Bulldogs did not have forwards Killian Tillie and Brandon Clarke in last year’s Sweet 16, making the game more intriguing.
Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins are one of the nation’s better backcourts, but Terrance Mann and Trent Forrest run Leonard Hamilton’s offense to perfection. The Seminoles have added motivation as senior forward Phil Cofer is going through a personal tragedy. Florida State-Gonzaga is the first Sweet 16 game to be played this season and could be the most entertaining game of the Sweet 16.