2011 NCAA Tournament: Sweet Sixteen Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 NCAA Tournament: Sweet Sixteen Picks

Results of 2,001 Sweet 16 simulations

By Joel Beall - Whatifsports.com
March 21, 2011

Months of preparation vanished in seconds. Unbelievable twists and turns tugged at the heart. Countless aspirations were crushed. Some cursed the gods while others thanked the heavens for their fortune.

No, we aren't referring to the mindset and emotions of college basketball coaches and players, although surely they share similar sentiments. Rather, the above statement denotes the state of the office bracket landscape, a ceremony that sidetracks more sporting dreams than puberty. Out of the millions that partake in this annual ritual, only a select few harbor realistic chances of obtaining that ever-elusive Holy Grail.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=fdab9267-5475-4db3-b877-5c369ace8263" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: NCAA Simulation</a>

While most of us don't get a mulligan to revive our brackets, the WhatIfSports college basketball engine has resimulated the tournament with the squads that have survived to the Sweet Sixteen. Run 2,001 times, the prognostication gives us a preview of what is to come.

In the East, the engines are still fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who easily disposed of UTSA and George Mason. Consequentially, the computers are steadfast in their contempt with North Carolina. In our first prognosis of the tournament, the Tar Heels were taken down by the Washington Huskies. Carolina's 86-83 victory on Sunday did not alleviate the computers' concerns, with the engines predicting a Marquette upset in the Sweet Sixteen.

Having already dismissed schools from the Pac-10, Big East and Big Ten, the engines like the Rams of VCU to add the Florida State Seminoles of the ACC to their big conference hit list. However, their Cinderella run will end in the Elite Eight, as a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks is too tough of an endeavor to overcome.

Despite supporting the highest seed remaining in the Southeast, the Florida Gators are no match for Jimmer Fever as BYU keeps defying the critics with lead rebounder Brandon Davies on the bench. But it's the No. 4 seed Wisconsin Badgers that are determined to win the region, taking care of Butler in the Sweet Sixteen and the Cougars in the Elite Eight.

Finally, Duke and San Diego State remain the engine's Elite Eight expectation in the West, with the Blue Devils estimated to head to Houston. The return of Kyrie Irving has provided Duke with added depth to the guard positions, giving Coach K a three-headed monster of Irving, Nolan Smith and Seth Curry in the backcourt.

In our revamped Final Four forecast, the addition of Irving has given the Blue Devils the edge over the Buckeyes. However, our choice for champion remains the Jayhawks, with the Morris clan downing the Plumlees in a frontcourt family foray. You can simulate the tournament yourself by using the WhatIfSports SimMatchup tool, changing the minutes and depth charts at your disposal.

Now, if only restarting your bracket was just as easy.

Check out our 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 Predictions


Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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