Sweet 16 Preview: Xavier vs. Arizona

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With three quarters of the teams eliminated, we are entering the Sweet 16, the round that has given hoops fans instant classics for years.  Hopefully Thursday’s late game in Los Angeles won’t disappoint. Seven-seed Xavier is taking on 2-seed Arizona in the “House that Kobe Built,” also known as the Staples Center.

More than half the country has picked Kentucky to win it all.  I have the Wildcats going all the way in my bracket, but not the Cats of Kentucky.  Arizona waxed 10-seed Ohio State this past Saturday and is riding high on a 13-game streak that includes a Pac-12 championship.  The Musketeers of Xavier are the recent eliminators of Georgia State, 75-67 in the Round of 32.

Familiar Foes

Arizona head coach Sean Miller will face his former team (Xavier) on Thursday in the Sweet 16. Miller helped current Xavier coach Chris Mack get hired after he left for Arizona.  This story is almost movie like, two former colleagues and current friends forced to do battle!

Players to Watch

Arizona freshman forward Stanley Johnson is averaging 14.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for the Wildcats this season.  Xavier’s center Matt Stainbrook is averaging 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.

Where to Watch

The game will tip off at approximately 9:15 p.m. CST Thursday on TBS.

Prediction

I think the Wildcats of Arizona win and win big, and that’s not just because I picked them to win it all.  I think Xavier is a good team but comparatively lacks talent to Arizona.  The Wildcats roll the Musketeers of Xavier, 85-68.

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