2012 Sweet 16 West Region Vegas Odds, Predictions and Free Picks – NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: Although the West Region of the 2012 NCAA tournament started off on a surprise note, things have settled down since. The second-seeded Missouri Tigers were upset by 15th-seeded Norfolk State, but three of the top four seeds in the region did advance to the Sweet 16. Not to mention the fact that the Cinderella Spartans were later eliminated in blowout fashion by the seventh-seeded Florida Gators. Considering the West Region features teams coached by Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan, there is a good chance that whichever team advances to the Final Four could keep right on rolling to a national title.
2012 Sweet 16 West Region Matchup Previews
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 1 Michigan State: Does it get much better than a meeting between Pitino and Izzo in the NCAA tournament, especially when the matchup is also between the Big East tournament and Big Ten tournament champions. Both the Cardinals and the Spartans take care of business on the defensive end, and both are excellent rebounding teams. Izzo and Pitino both get the most out of their players every single year, and whichever team losses, isn’t going to be an easy out by any means.
Both sides have adequate offensive firepower inside and on the perimeter, and Louisville’s offensive issues have been helped immensely since the team got healthy late in the year. For the Cardinals, the play of point guard Peyton Siva will be crucial. When he is taking care of the ball and finding the right balance between scoring and distributing, Louisville is a much better basketball team. The Spartans have a star of their own in Wooden Award candidate Draymond Green. The forward averages a double-double, and he does everything from scoring in the post and knocking down 3-pointers to playing the point and blocking shots.
While Siva has triple-double potential, Green has been a rock solid performer all season. With these two teams being so similar in personnel and style, the consistency of Michigan State should give Izzo’s bunch the edge. The Spartans are a little bigger inside, a little more battle tested after playing a brutal schedule, and they aren’t as dependent on the 3-point shot on the offensive end. Make no mistake. Louisville will fight to the final buzzer, but the small advantages for the Spartans should add up to a big win.
2012 Sweet 16 West Region Projected Winner: Michigan State
No. 7 Florida vs. No. 3 Marquette: While the other Sweet 16 matchup in this region will likely be as physical as a game can get, this game will be all about speed. The Gators and the Golden Eagles are two of the fastest teams in the country, and both the guards and big men on both sides can get up and down the court in a hurry. An entertaining game should be on tap, with plenty of fast breaks, steals and 3-pointers providing non-stop action. Conditioning is going to play a huge rule in deciding the outcome of this one.
Both teams have a ton of firepower on the perimeter. Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder give the Golden Eagles to athletic scorers that can knock down shots from beyond the arc and slash to the hoop and score. Meanwhile, the Gators have Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Bradley Beal in their backcourt. Florida’s trio gives the Gators the advantage in terms of 3-point shooting, but Marquette’s duo is more athletic and versatile.
In the end, coaching and the Florida frontcourt could tip the scale in favor of the Gators. Marquette’s Buzz Williams is an up-and-coming coach, but Donovan has led the Gators to three Final Four appearances since 200, including back-to-back national titles. His experience will make a difference. More importantly, forward Patric Young gives Florida an athletic scoring option in the post that the Golden Eagles just don’t have. The Gators should outlast Marquette in a back-and-forth affair.
2012 Sweet 16 West Region Favorite to Make the Final Four
Michigan State: Of the four teams remaining in the West Region, none of them are likely to completely steamroll their way to the Final Four. That being said, it’s tough to bet against the Spartans. Izzo has taken to Michigan State to the Final Four six times, and he never missed out on the Final Four when his team has earned a No. 1 seed. The Spartans have a senior leader and a star player in Green. They also have size inside, a reliable point guard in Keith Appling, and a stout defense. Michigan State has the personnel and the experience needed to grind out a couple of more wins and reach New Orleans.
2012 Sweet 16 West Region Projected Winner: Florida
WEST REGION ODDS TO WIN
Michigan State +125
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