Expert Sweet Sixteen Projections - March Madness 2022

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The early rounds of the tournament are an absolute minefield, to put it mildly.

But Sidekick is here to guide you through those opening stages and help you avoid blindly backing heavy favorites coming up against sneaky good underdogs.

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TENNESEE, AUBURN OR KENTUCKY ALL TO REACH THE SWEET SIXTEEN @ +200

West Region Projection

  • #1 Seed: Gonzaga @ -1000 - I think that Gonzaga is one of the most well rounded teams this season. During the tournament, I see them having the best path to the Sweet 16. According to KenPom, Gonzaga has an 84.4% chance of making it to the Sweet 16.
  • #4 Seed: Arkansas @ +110 - I have Arkansas facing a tough UConn team to advance to the Sweet 16. I keep going back and forth on this one, but I think that the guard play of Arkansas and the offensive power they have will be enough to take them down. Arkansas has the 17th best chance to advance to the Sweet 16 with a 36% chance. KenPom has UConn slightly higher in this category. Honestly, this is a coinflip and could go either way.
  • #2 Seed: Duke @ -275 - I am not in love with this Duke team. They have been very inconsistent in a weak ACC conference. I am basically putting them in the Sweet 16 because of the competition they have to face in the tournament. I think they can handle Cal Fullerton and will either face off against Michigan St. or Davidson. I have Davidson advancing and losing to Duke. According to KenPom, Duke has a 63.6% chance of making it to the Sweet 16.
  • #3 Seed: Texas Tech @ -250 - As far as a 2 or 3 seed goes, I think Texas Tech has the best chance to advance to the Sweet 16. I have them facing off against a Duke team that I am not big on. According to KenPom, Texas Tech has a 63.7% chance of making it to the Sweet 16. They have the 8th highest probability of making it this far, slightly ahead of Duke.

South Region Projection

In my opinion, this will be the toughest region for teams to advance to the Sweet 16. This side of the bracket is loaded with talent and could definitely be the make or break section in everyone’s bracket.

  • #1 Seed: Arizona @ -500 - Next to Gonzaga, Arizona has the best chance to advance to the Sweet 16. KenPom has Arizona with a 76.3% chance to advance to the 3rd round. In my bracket, I have them beating Houston to get there, but it could very well be an Illinois team that’s facing off against Arizona.
  • #5 Seed: Houston @ +115 - Houston is great on both ends of the floor, but will need to get past a tough Illinois team. I think they can do it, if they stay out of foul trouble. They rely on an 8 man rotation that could hurt them to make a deep run in the tournament. KenPom has Houston with the 11th best chance with 54.4%.
  • #3 Seed: Tennessee @ -200 - Tennessee looked very impressive in the SEC Tournament. KenPom has Tennessee as the 6th team with the best chances of getting to the sweet 16 at 65.4%. They will have a tough matchup against Longwood, but should advance. This is a team that can make it to the Elite 8.
  • #2 Seed: Villanova @ -190 - Villanova should have an easy path to the Sweet 16. They should dominate Delaware and then I have them facing Loyola-Chicago. KenPom has them with a 58.8% chance to advance and I think they should do so easily.
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East Region Projections

In the East Region, I think it’s pretty much laid out once you get past the opening round. I think we see a couple of upsets early, but then the better teams show up and ruin a chance for a Cinderella Story.

  • #1 Seed: Baylor @ -300 - Baylor has a 71.9% chance of advancing to the Sweet 16. I have them winning the first round pretty easily and then should have a favorable matchup against UNC. When Baylor is healthy, they can compete with anyone in the nation!
  • #4 Seed: UCLA @ -150 - I have UCLA in a close matchup against a red hot Indiana team to advance to the Sweet 16. According to KenPom, UCLA has a 58.2% chance of making it to the 3rd round.
  • #3 Seed: Purdue @ -190 - In my bracket, I have Purdue beating Virginia Tech to advance to the Sweet 16. I think they create too many mismatches for VTech and should be a good choice to push through to the 3rd round. KenPom gives Purdue a 50.5% chance of making it this far.
  • #2 Seed: Kentucky @ -250 - Kentucky has shown highlights this season of being a true contender. I think they have an easy path to the Sweet 16. I have them beating a solid San Francisco to get there, but should do so convincingly. KenPom gives the Wildcats a 64.9% chance of making it to the Sweet 16!

MidWest Region Projections

If you are looking for some upsets, it will come from this side of the bracket. There are a couple of mid-ranged seeded teams that I think will pull through in the tournament and a couple of higher seeded teams that I don’t have a ton of confidence in.

  • #1 Seed: Kansas @ -400 - Kansas is definitely one of the best teams from this Region and is well deserving of the 1 seed. I have them beating a good Creighton team to advance to the 3rd round. KenPom gives the Jayhawks a 68.7% chance of getting to the sweet 16.
  • #5 Seed: Iowa @ -185 - Iowa is my favorite to advance from this Region. I think they got hot at the right time and can play with anyone! I have them beating a very good Providence team and will do so by a decent margin. KenPom gives Iowa a 60.5% chance of making it to the Sweet 16, which is the 10th best chance and higher than some better seeds!
  • #6 Seed: LSU +175 - This is a play that I am not extremely confident in. I have been back and forth on it the past few days. LSU recently fired their coach and they haven’t been playing well down the stretch. I originally was thinking maybe Iowa St. can upset them, but there’s too much talent on this roster for an early exit. I did have Wisconsin advancing, but I am not a big believer in Wisconsin either and ultimately decided to back the Tigers! KenPom would also agree with me, giving LSU a 40.2% chance to make it to the Sweet 16. Wisconsin has a 34.8% chance of getting to the 3rd round.
  • #2 Seed: Auburn -225 - Auburn has been a team that I thought had championship potential throughout the season, but has recently fallen short of meeting that standard. If they play their best basketball, they can compete with anyone in the country. They will have the toughest 2nd round in the tournament for a 2 seed, facing either USC or Miami. I think both of those teams are really good and it should be a good matchup in the first round for them. KenPom gives Auburn a 68.8% chance of advancing to the Sweet 16!
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