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Breaking Down the Sweet 16: East

This region is playing its games at Madison Square Garden. Ticket prices are soaring through the roof for the games at MSG and are more expensive than final four tickets.

(1) Virginia vs. (4) Michigan State
Friday, March 28 at 9:57 pm

Background: Virginia has their best team in 30 years and they are going up against Tom Izzo, should be a fun matchup to watch. Mich St. got through Delaware and survived Harvard to get here. Virginia dominated Memphis after struggling with Coastal Carolina. Tom Izzo’s Spartans have made their tenth sweet sixteen since 2000. For Virginia it is just their eighth in history and first since 1995.
Difference Maker: The experience of Tom Izzo, Michigan State has won half of their sweet sixteen games
Virginia Wins if: Their number one ranked defense holds true and they can stop the Michigan State offense from scoring like they’ve done in this tournament.
Michigan State wins if: The Spartans work quickly and outrun the Cavaliers.
Prediction: Michigan State

(3) Iowa State vs. (7) UConn
Friday at 7:30pm

Background: Iowa State fans still have to be on the edge of their seat after the thrilling win over North Carolina to get here. UConn completely outplayed Villanova after beating Nova’s biggest rival, St. Joe’s, in overtime. Iowa State is without Georges Niang, their third leading scorer. But Kane and Ejim are playing great in the tournament to make up for the major loss. Kane and Napier were both injured in their last games and that might play a major roll in this game.
Difference Maker: Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Kane. Whoever plays better defense in this epic matchup gets the nod.
Iowa State wins if: They can keep the backcourt of Napier and Boatright under control and force UConn to have to score inside.
UConn wins if: Napier and Boatright outplay Ejim and Kane. Going to be an incredible game to watch if you like stellar guard play.
Prediction: Iowa State by a point or two

Scott Zolotorow