Basketball

NCAA 2021 Elite Eight Predictions

It has been one of the craziest March Madness Tournaments ever! We have not one but 2 double digit seeds still standing. Will one of them make a cinderella run into the Final Four? We predicted all 4 of the remaining games. 

#12 Oregon State vs. #2 Houston: In their dominant win against Syracuse on Saturday, Houston showed the defensive prowess they showed throughout the regular season. They were able to hold Syracuse to the fewest points scored in a NCAA tournament game in their school’s history. Meanwhile, this will be the second straight game that Oregon State faces one of the top teams in defensive efficiency. They faced Loyola-Chicago who was number 1 in holding teams to fewest points scored and now they are facing the number 2 team in Houston. In their win against Loyola, Oregon State defeated them at their own game holding Loyola to their lowest point total of their tournament run at 58 points, when they were averaging about 70 ppg so far in the tournament. Overall, it looks like it’s going to be a battle between two teams who are playing their best defense right now, but if Houston is truly back to being the strong defensive team they were in the regular season, it can be assumed that they will be the ones to pull out the victory. 

#3 Arkansas vs. #1 Baylor: This will be another game where the power of defense could determine the winner. This Arkansas team has proven to be one of the most resilient teams in the tournament, coming back from double digit deficits in each of its tournament victories so far. Meanwhile, the Bears had been one of the hottest three-point shooting teams in the tournament, but that didn’t happen in their most recent game as they went 3-19 from deep in their win against Villanova. However, their defense proved to be rather strong as they forced Villanova into 16 turnovers, four more turnovers than the Wildcats’ last two games combined. Needless to say, it looks like the Bears have the power to be just as strong on defense as they have been on offense. This will be the toughest opponent the Razorbacks have faced in the tournament, and while they have proven themselves to be a tough team, considering how close their game was with Oral Roberts in the end, the Bears could prove to be too strong for them to handle and their tourney run will come to an end. 

#11 UCLA vs. #1 Michigan: Many people believed that Michigan would lose a step by losing their star player Isaiah Livers before the tournament started, but they have proven those doubters wrong and have put together a dominant tournament run so far. In their win yesterday against Florida State, their defense held the Seminoles to a season low 21 first-half points. Their offense has also been impressive as they are averaging close to 80 ppg. Meanwhile, the Bruins have put together a great tournament run as well, becoming the second ever First Four team to reach the elite eight. So far in the tournament, they have averaged about 8 turnovers per game and a 40% three-point percentage. While their offense has been stable, their defense has also been rather impressive as they just held one of the hottest three-point shooting teams, Alabama, to a measly 25% from three-point range. Overall, this game is definitely going to be a battle and it would not be surprising to see the Bruins find some way to pull off another stunning victory and continue their magical Cinderella run to the Final Four. 

# 6 USC vs. #1 Gonzaga: Gonzaga has definitely proven to be a dominant team, winning every one of their tournament games so far with ease. They have been one of the hottest three-point shooting teams while averaging a decent 43% from the three-point line and are currently averaging more than 83 ppg. In their recent win against Creighton, their stellar defense was put on display as they committed 16 turnovers, but still managed to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the game and hold a decent three-point shooting team in Creighton to a measly 22% from the three-point line. Meanwhile, the Trojans have also proven themselves to be a dominant team in this tournament. Over their last two tournament games, they have averaged a scorching 60% from the three-point line while also holding their opponents to a rather low field-goal percentage at 30%. Overall, this should definitely end up being a rather entertaining game between two powerful teams, but the Trojans will prove to be the team to finally dash Gonzaga’s dream of going undefeated.

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