2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Simulation From WhatIfSports.com image

2012 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16 Picks

Results of 2,001 NCAA tournament Sweet 16 simulations

By Ryan Fowler - WhatIfSports.com
March 19, 2012

Lehigh and Norfolk State, thank you.

Not since Hampton's head coach kicked his feet up in the air when the clock read zero had we witnessed a No. 15 seed upset a No. 2. The Mountain Hawks and Spartans pulled off two improbable upsets a few hours apart over Missouri and Duke.

Those moments etched in our memories are what March Madness is all about. Those players' "one shining moment" will linger well into the twilight of their lives.

It's the good stuff Kenny Chesney sings about.

So, too, is the Buckeye State's stranglehold on this year's NCAA Tournament. What were the odds that Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier and the mighty Bobcats of Ohio would all still be alive? Probably around the same as the chances North Carolina would lose their starting point guard and floor general, Kendall Marshall, to a fractured wrist. As a college basketball fan (perhaps with the exception of those outside of Durham, NC), your heart aches for the Tar Heels as their path to New Orleans just hit a major bump. Don't forget John Henson just missed a few games because of a sprained wrist.

Fellow No. 1 seeds, Kentucky, Syracuse and Michigan State all advanced to the Sweet 16. As expected, the Wildcats still look like the toughest out of the tournament with big wins over Western Kentucky and Iowa State, but a rematch with Indiana looms. The Hoosiers beat UK during the regular season at the buzzer.

The Orange's 2-3 zone will face a stiff test in Boston as the Badgers have the ability to shoot over the top of it.

Tom Izzo's Spartans didn't breeze to a third-round victory over St. Louis as many expected. The Billikens took MSU down to the wire before bowing out. The win set the stage for two seasoned coaches, Izzo and Louisville's Rick Pitino, to square off in Phoenix.

To assist those who entered FOXSports.com's Second Chance Bracket, the WhatIfSports.com college basketball simulation engine went back to work and simulated the entire Sweet 16 Bracket 2,001 times. Note: we removed Kendall Marshall from this simulation.

The Wildcats improved their chances of cutting down the nets in New Orleans. They remain the simulation favorite at 21.7 percent. Despite their sluggish play against Purdue, Kansas emerges as the simulation engine's second-favorite team at 18 percent. It doesn't hurt the Jayhawks that they are playing a No. 11 seed and either a No. 13 or No. 1 seed without their point guard in most of the regional simulations. Syracuse remains a threat, minus Fab Melo, as the Orange are the sim engine's third-favorite at 16.2 percent. The Tar Heels (11 percent) and Baylor Bears (9.1 percent) round out the top five.


Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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