Top March Madness Predictions for Sweet Sixteen 2022

Top March Madness Predictions for Sweet Sixteen 2022
Thu 24th March 2022

Look below to find our top March Madness predictions for all the Sweet Sixteen action.

Thursday, March 24th, 2022

#4 Arkansas vs #1 Gonzaga – 7:09pm ET

The Arkansas Razorbacks have picked up two wins over Vermont and New Mexico State. Meanwhile Gonzaga has beaten Georgia State and Memphis. Now these two will face off for a trip to the Elite Eight to face the winner of Duke and Texas Tech on Saturday evening.

Marko Nadin

The Gonzaga Bulldogs remain the top favorite to win the tournament but they have shown their vulnerabilities as well. The Zags were down by 10 points at halftime against Memphis in the second round but their top player Drew Timme stepped up when needed, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half to turn things around for the Bulldogs. The Zags missed 11 free-throws in the game and had only 2 points off the bench. Gonzaga is the best scoring team in the nation with 88.3 points per game and are ranked second with 39.3 rebounds per game.

The Arkansas Razorbacks had a tough road to the Sweet 16 with two close wins in the previous rounds. First they defeated Delaware 75-71 and they went past New Mexico State who eliminated the Connecticut Huskies in the opening round. Arkansas played with only seven players in the first two rounds and the short rotation will be the main difference maker in this matchup. The Razorbacks are a nine-point underdog going into this one and they have covered the spread in the last 4 games coming in as underdogs but in none of the last four NCAA tournament games.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga (-500)

Tony Battalio

The Arkansas Razorbacks come into this game as one of the most surprising teams this season. Back when the regular season started not many people would’ve expected them to be on the doorstep of the Elite Eight. However, they will have to contend with the number one team in the nation, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Arkansas comes into this game with a record of 27-8. It would be the program’s second straight Elite Eight appearance.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are clear the nation’s number one team this season. As long as Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren stay healthy they are also the national championship favorites as well. Gonzaga comes into this game with a record of 28-3 as they will be looking to finally get that long awaited national championship this season after coming up short several times. As for the result of this game I have the Gonzaga Bulldogs getting the win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga (-500)

Noah Dunlap

Gonzaga managed to sneak past Memphis in the second round, and they almost solely have Drew Timme to thank for that. After trailing by ten at the half, Timme put on one of the best tournament performances I’ve ever seen in the second half, as he was simply unstoppable. I actually had Memphis winning that one, as it was a bad matchup for the Zags, but I don’t have the same concerns in this one. 

Arkansas, similarly, had to sneak past their second round opponent, the New Mexico State Aggies, but I’m not sure they get so lucky in this one. While Memphis had the size to bully Gonzaga in the paint, the Razorbacks don’t have that same luxury, as their best player, JD Notae is a relatively small guard. Notae vs Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard could be a fun matchup to watch, but without an answer for Timme or Chet Holmgren, I don’t think Arkansas is able to hang around. Give me the Zags by double-digits. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga (-500)

#11 Michigan vs #2 Villanova – 7:29pm ET

The Michigan Wolverines picked up two wins over Colorado State and Tennessee. Villanova has beaten Delaware and Ohio State. Now these two will face off for a trip to the Elite Eight to face the winner of Arizona and Houston on Saturday evening

Marko Nadin

The Villanova Wildcats are ranked sixth in the nation and are a legit contender to win the trophy. The WIldcats routinely won in the opening two rounds by a total margin of 30 points. Villanova finished second in the Big East and won the conference title against Creighton. They are a decent defensive team allowing 63.6 points per game and hold the opponents to 41% shooting from the field. Villanova is five-point favorite going into this one and that may be tough to cover as they have covered the spread only once in the last 7 games following a against the spread win.

The Michigan Wolverines didn’t have a promising season and many are surprised with their recent success. Michigan had their biggest win of the season as they passed by Tennessee in the second round by 76-68. Center Hunter Dickinson is the main reason for Michigan’s Sweet 16 appearance as he averages 24 points and 9 rebounds in the last 2 rounds. Michigan is not much off a defensive team being ranked under 200th in all major categories. 

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova (-230)

Tony Battalio

Absolutely nobody including yours truly, thought the Michigan Wolverines deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament this season. However, they have proved the doubters wrong with two big wins and now they will be looking to grab a third big win. The Wolverines come into this game with a record of 19-14 on the season. After all the controversy that surrounded them at the end of the year, they have been playing their best basketball when it matters the most.

The Villanova Wildcats are looking to add to their impressive six year stretch with a third national championship under head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats come into this game with a record of 28-7 after beating the Wolverines rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes in the round of 32. Villanova is a dark horse favorite in my opinion to win this entire tournament. They are capable of lighting up the scoreboard at any time. As for the result of this game I have Villanova getting the victory over Michigan.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova (-230)

Noah Dunlap

This is a matchup that not many people expected to see, as Michigan arguably shouldn’t have been in the field in the first place, and then certainly shouldn’t have made it past both Colorado State and Tennessee. The Wolverines used a strong performance in the second half to get past the Rams of CSU, and then watched Hunter Dickinson lead the way against the Vols, as through two games in the tournament, he’s averaging 24 points and 9 rebounds per game. 

They get a much tougher test in this one though, as the Villanova Wildcats are a team that a few people have looked at as title contenders. They’ve taken care of business with ease, for the most part, through the first two rounds of the tournament so far, and with Collin Gillespie leading the way, shooting the ball extremely well, I think that continues here. Look for Michigan to create minor issues for the Wildcats down low with Dickinson, but other than that, I like Nova to cruise. Wildcats by 12. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova (-230)

#3 Texas Tech vs #2 Duke – 9:39pm ET

Texas Tech fended off Notre Dame in the last round, while Duke and Coach K’s final run continued after a win over the Michigan State Spartans. Now the winner of this game gets to face off with either the Arkansas Razorbacks or the number one overall seed Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Marko Nadin

The Duke Blue Devils are trying to win one more championship for coach Mike Krzyzewsky who will retire after 43 years on the bench. The Blue Devils have a pretty good team this season but fact is that they were not challenged in the first two rounds as they played against Cal Fullerton and Michigan State. Duke is 1.5 point underdogs going into this game which is not often the case. They have covered the spread the last 6 times they were underdogs on neutral site but only once in the last 8 tournament games.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders found their way into the Sweet 16 after defeating Montana State and Notre Dame. The Red Raiders are among the top defensive teams in the nation as they allow 60.7 points and 26.8 rebounds per game. How serious of a team the Red Raiders are speaks of the fact that they have won 14 of the last 17 games against opponents with a winning record of over 60%. They have also covered the spread in 5 of the last 7 tournament games going in as favorites.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Texas Tech (-118)

Tony Battalio

The Texas Tech Red Raiders come into this game after knocking Notre Dame out of the NCAA Tournament in the round of 32. The Red Raiders closed out the game with a hot run and some great defense to get them into the Sweet Sixteen to play the Duke Blue Devils. Texas Tech comes into this game with a record of 27-9 on the season. The Red Raiders are only a few years removed from a national championship appearance and will be looking to get back to the title game and get a win this time around.

The Duke Blue Devils will be the center of attention for as long as they are playing in this year’s NCAA tournament. With it being the last hurrah for coach K, everytime Duke steps on the basketball court it will be a must watch moment. Duke comes into this game as the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season champions. As for the result of this game, I think it will go down to the final buzzer. But in the end I have the Duke Blue Devils getting the win over the Red Raiders.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Duke (-102)

Noah Dunlap

Is this the last game that we ever see Coach K on the sideline for? Duke comes into this Sweet 16 matchup knowing that this is his last season, and this is the first time throughout the tournament to this point that they’ve been underdogs. There’s no doubt that the talent is there for this Blue Devils to get the win, with guys like Paolo Banchero and Wendell Moore leading the way,, but that won’t be an easy feat against a really good Texas Tech team. 

The Red Raiders come into this one as being one of the best defensive teams in the country, as they only allow a touch over 60 points per game. Throw in the fact that, while they don’t score that many points, then shoot the ball efficiently, as they are extremely deep in terms of the number of guys they can throw at you that can hit big time shots. This is the main reason I had Texas Tech in the title game of my bracket, and I’m not backing down now. Defense wins championships, and I think the Red Raiders prove that in this one. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Texas Tech (-118)

#5 Houston vs #1 Arizona – 9:59pm ET

In the final game of Thursday evening the Houston Cougars will take on the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona got a big win over TCU in their last game, while the Houston Cougars beat the Illinois Fighting Illini and Kofi Cockburn in the round of 32. The winner of this one will meet the winner of Michigan and Villanova. 

Marko Nadin

The Arizona Wildcats survived a serious test in the second round against TCU and with that lesson learned, they will have to step up against Houston who is a real threat. The Wildcats needed a heroic three-pointer in their last possession and a good defense to take the game to overtime where they took over and managed to advance to Sweet 16. Arizona is the third best offensive team in the country scoring 84.7 points per game on 49.5% from the field which ranks them fifth in the NCAA.

The Houston Cougars are one of the sleeper candidates to win the tournament this year and if they find a way to go past the Wildcats, that definitely may launch them to the trophy. The Cougars finished the season on top of the American conference with a 31-5 record. The Cougars routinely took care of business against UAB and Illinois in the first two rounds and have a legit reason to believe that they can defeat the second ranked team in the nation. Unfortunately, Houston has three players on the injury list which weaken their chances for a win over Arizona.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Arizona (-126)

Tony Battalio

The Houston Cougars have put together an amazing season and they are looking to keep it going with a victory in the Sweet Sixteen. Houston comes into this game after knocking out Kofi Cockburn and the Illinois Fighting Illini in the round of 32. Houston comes into this game with a record of 31-5 on the season. Houston has been dominant through their first two tournament games and they would love for it to continue as the tournament’s second weekend begins.

The Arizona Wildcats survived a scare from the Horned Frogs of TCU in their second round matchup. TCU took the Wildcats all the way to overtime before Arizona pulled out the victory to advance to this Sweet Sixteen matchup. Arizona comes into this matchup with a record of 33-3 on the season as they won both the PAC-12 regular season and conference tournament championship. As for the result of this game I have the Arizona Wildcats getting a victory.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Arizona (-126)

Noah Dunlap

Houston has been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament so far. After a great regular season that saw them win the American regular season and tournament titles, they’ve now started the NCAA tournament with wins over a really solid UAB team that shot the ball well, and then an even more impressive win over Illinois in the second round. They now get the Arizona Wildcats, the one-seed out of the region, and this is a matchup I can’t wait to see. 

Despite how good Houston has looked this year, as well as in the tournament, they’ve shown the tendency to struggle against teams that have real size and can shoot the ball well, which is why they dropped two games to Memphis this year, as well as a close matchup to Alabama early in the year as well. The problem for them is that that’s exactly what this Arizona brings to the table with guys like Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko. Mathurin’s incredible performance late against TCU is the only reason they pulled that out, and I like him and Koloko to continue the hot streak, as I have Arizona winning this one in close fashion. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Arizona (-126)

Friday, March 25th 2022

#15 Saint Peters vs #3 Purdue – 7:09pm ET

Saint Peter’s Cinderella run has made it to the sweet sixteen, meanwhile the dark horse Purdue Boilermakers are still in contention for a national championship. The winner of this game will face off with the winner of the North Carolina and UCLA. 

Marko Nadin

The Purdue Boilermakers are going into the Sweet 16 game against Saint Peter’s as a 12.5-point favorites. It seems like they will have an easy task facing Saint Peter’s in this phase of the tournament but that may cost them if they underestimate the opponent. Purdue is coming off two routine wins against Yale and Texas in the first two rounds of the tournament. They are ranked third in the country in field goal percentage with 49.7% and in three-point percentage with 39.7%. Purdue has covered the spread in 4 of the last 5 tournament games going in as favorites.

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks are the Cinderella story of this year’s tournament. The team that finished second in the MAAC has found its way to the Sweet 16 after defeating Kentucky in overtime and MUrray State in the first two rounds. The Peters are a quite good defensive team allowing only 62.4 points per game which ranks them 24th in the country. They are 12.5-point underdogs going into this game and they have covered the spread in the last 7 games played on neutral site. 

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue

Tony Battalio

The clock hasn’t struck midnight yet on the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. After shocking the Kentucky Wildcats then beat the Murray State Racers in round 2. Knocking out two of the tournament favorites and claiming ownership over the state of Kentucky. It almost makes you wish they could play the University Of Louisville in this one. However, the team they will be facing is even more dangerous than the Cardinals as they meet the Purdue Boilermakers.

The Purdue Boilermakers are my dark horse team to win this entire tournament. This year’s edition of the Boilermakers is the best team that head coach Matt Painter has ever had during his time on campus. They are coming into this game with a record of 29-7. They will be looking to end the path of destruction that the Peacocks are leaving in their path. As for the result of this game, I think this is the evening that the clock finally strikes midnight as I have the Purdue Boilermakers beating the Saint Peter’s Peacocks.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue

Noah Dunlap

Size, size, size, and size. That’s going to prove to be the problem in this matchup. With guys like Zach Edey, Jaden Ivey, and Trevion Williams, who are all big in terms of their positions, this Purdue team is massive, which is why they’ve been one of the best teams in the country all year long. That’s also one of the reasons why they shot 46 free throws, an absurd number,  in their second round win over Texas (questionable officiating also played a part.) Now, with them getting the Cinderella of this tournament, Saint Peters, this is almost a perfect chance for the Boilermakers to reach the Elite Eight. 

The Peacocks of Saint Peters come into this matchup on one of the more magical runs we’ve seen lately. They came into the postseason at 22-11, and had to win the MEAC tournament just to get a bid. Since then, they’ve taken out Kentucky and Murray State, and now they get Purdue. The problem for the Peacocks is that there are two issues surrounding this matchup. Size is one, as they simply don’t have the size to compete against the guys they’re about to see, as they’re 295th in the country in total size. More proof of that is that while they did beat Kentucky, player of the year candidate Oscar Tshiebwe managed to go for 30 points and 16 rebounds against them, but he simply didn’t get enough guard help to get the win. I like Jaden Ivey to take care of the guard play, while Zach Edey just dominates with his 7’4” frame. The other issue is that Saint Peters head coach Shaheen Holloway is almost certainly headed to Seton Hall at the end of this run, which could potentially play an impact on his players. The run has been incredible, but I think it ends here, as they just don’t have enough to get past Purdue. Look for Saint Peters to play with real heart, keeping it close early, but I like the Boilermakers to pull away in the second half, winning by 15+. 


Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue

#4 Providence vs #1 Kansas – 7:29pm ET

The Providence Friars will look to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in decades. Meanwhile College Basketball blue blood Kansas will look to make their run towards another national championship. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Iowa State vs Miami game. 

Marko Nadin

Kansas is facing Providence as a 7.5-point favorites. The Jayhawks finished the regular season on top of the Big 12 with a 30-6 record. They demolished Texas Southern in the first round of the tournament by 83-56 and went past Creighton in the second by 79-72. The last time the Jayhawks lost was at the beginning of March against TCU and have won seven consecutive games since then. Kansas is scoring 78.6 points per game which ranks them 29th in the league and are 23rd with 48% shooting from the field.

The Providence Friars had no difficulties reaching the Sweet 16 after routinely winning over South Dakota State and Richmond in the first two rounds of the tournament. These two wins have picked up the Friars’ confidence after they were blown out in the conference final against Creighton losing by 85-58. Providence are a decent three-point shooting team with over 35% from behind the artc and if they want to stand any chance against Kansas, they will have to be hot from deep.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas (-345)

Tony Battalio

The Providence Friars have been perhaps the best school not affiliated with a top five conference this season, when you exclude the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They come into this game against the Kansas Jayhawks with a record of 27-5 on the season. As they will be looking to make an Elite Eight appearance for the first time in 25 years, much like they are making their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 25 years as well.

The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the blue bloods of the sport of college basketball and this year they will be looking to retake their place on the mountain top. It has been a decade or so since the Jayhawks cut the nets down and this season may be their best shot in a very long time. So they will have to take full advantage of it in this one. As for the result of this game, however, I have the Providence Friars getting the victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in this game.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Providence (+270)

Noah Dunlap

Providence continues to prove me wrong, and I keep betting against them, which is exactly what I’m doing again in this one. They’ve had a good run so far through the tournament, as well as winning the regular season title in the Big East, but the metrics remain hesitant on the Friars, and so do I. In the end, winning in March against the elite teams is built around guard play, and having a guy you can go to for sure when you need a bucket, and I’m not sure that Providence has that. 

Kansas, however, does, and his name is Ochai Agbaji. He’s a certain first rounder for the Jayhawks, and he provides the luxury that I don’t think anyone on the Friars roster provides. Kansas has been great this year, as they’re the one-seed in the region, and while they did struggle a bit against Creighton, I don’t think they have the same problem in this one. Give me the Jayhawks by double digits. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas (-345)

#8 North Carolina vs #4 UCLA – 9:39pm ET

Two of the Blue Bloods of college basketball will face off in this game. As the North Carolina Tar Heels face off with the UCLA Bruins for a trip to the elite eight on Sunday. The winner of this game will face the winner of Saint Peters and Purdue. 

Marko Nadin

In the most interesting matchup of the Sweet 16, UCLA and North Carolina will face each other. Not many analysts put UNC among the favorites to win but after the first two rounds of the tournament, the Tar Heels definitely are having a team that can go to the very end. UNC has defeated Marquette and the defending champion Baylor in the first two rounds and in both games the Tar Heels had a 25-point lead. UNC is ranked 28th in the league scoring 78.6 points per game but with 72.6 allowed points per game they are 279th. 

The UCLA Bruins are having a good season finishing the regular season in second place of the Pac 12. The Bruins had a tough first-round game against Akron winning by only 4 points but were much better in the second round with a 72-56 win over Saint Mary’s. UCLA is scoring 76.7 points per game, 12 more than they allow. They are a 2.-5 points favorites going into this one and they have covered the spread in 7 of the last 8 tournament games and in the last 5 games played on Friday.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: North Carolina +2.5 (-110)

Tony Battalio

This one is going to be an instant classic in my opinion as two of the college basketball blue bloods will face off on Friday. As the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the UCLA Bruins in what should be a great game that goes down to the wire for a trip to the Elite Eight on Sunday. The Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina are looking to make their 29th Elite Eight and their first since 2017 when they beat Gonzaga in the national championship game.

The UCLA Bruins will be looking to make their 23rd Elite Eight with a victory in this one. The Bruins are the most iconic program in the history of college basketball as they have won a record 11 national championships. Now they will be looking to make another run towards their 12 college basketball national championship. After last year’s heartbreaking buzzer beater loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs this year is all about redemption for the Bruins. However, as for the result of this game I have the North Carolina Tar Heels getting the win.

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: North Carolina (+122)

Noah Dunlap

As they’ve proven throughout the later parts of this season, if they’re playing well, this North Carolina team can take care of anyone in the country. However, if they aren’t playing well, then all of that goes out the window and they don’t even look remotely like the same team. So far throughout this tournament, they’ve been incredible, apart from a ten minute stretch against Baylor. They beat Marquette by nearly 30 in the first round, and opened up a 25-point lead over Baylor in the second round before letting the Bears back in it, partially due to Brady Manek’s ejection for throwing an errant elbow. Now they get a UCLA team that made the Final Four last year, and has much of the same roster, so they absolutely have the potential to get there again. The biggest question in this one is the health status of Jaime Jaquez Jr., who suffered a lower leg injury in the Bruins second round win over Saint Mary’s. If he plays, and they add production from Johnny Juzang, I think UCLA can get the win. However, with the uncertainty of Jaquez, and the struggles of Juzang at times this year, I’m actually leaning UNC in this one, especially with how they’ve been playing. Give me the Tar Heels in an extremely tight one. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: North Carolina (+122)

#11 Iowa State vs #10 Miami – 9:59pm ET

The two lowest seeds remaining in the field will face off for a trip to the Elite Eight in this game. As the Iowa State Cyclones are in the middle of the best turnaround season ever. While the Miami Hurricanes are shocking everyone on the road to the final four. 

Marko Nadin

The Miami Hurricanes are the dark-horse candidate this year to make it to the Final Four. Miami played great in the two opening rounds defeating USC and Auburn. No one expected that from the Hurricanes as they finished the regular season fourth in the ACC with a 25-10 record. Miami is ranked 28th in the league shooting 47.7% from the field and 99th with 35.5% from the three-point line. They are a two-point favorite against Iowa State and have covered the spread in 6 of the last 8 games and in 4 of the last 5 games played on Friday.

Iowa State is going into the Sweet 16 after defeating LSU and Wisconsin in the previous two rounds. The Cyclones started the regular season very well winning the first 12 games but were not that consistent finishing the regular season seventh in the Big 12. Iowa State is ranked 28th in the country allowing 29.5% shooting from deep and are 27th in the nation allowing 62.7 points per game. The Cyclones have covered the spread in 6 of the last 7 games playing at neutral site as underdog  and in their last 4 Friday games.

Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Miami (-140)

Tony Battalio

The Iowa State Cyclones only won two games over the course of last year’s college basketball season. Now they are in the middle of perhaps the sport’s greatest turnaround in a year’s time, as they find themselves on the doorstep of the Elite Eight. Iowa State comes into this game with a record of 22-12 on the season and they are the lowest remaining power five seed left in the tournament. They will be looking to pick up a huge win over the 10th seeded Hurricanes.

The Miami Hurricanes knocked out the Trojans of Southern California in the first round. In the second record they beat the Auburn Tigers in what was a great tournament game. Now they will be looking to play their way into the Elite Eight with a win over the Iowa State Cyclones in this game. As for the result of this however, I can’t see it happening as I have the Iowa State Cyclones getting the win over the Miami Hurricanes in this game. 

Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Iowa State (+116)

Noah Dunlap

A double-digit seed is guaranteed a spot in the Elite Eight, as this matchup gives us the 11-seeded Iowa State Cyclones taking on the 10-seeded Miami Hurricanes. Iowa State has continued a great turnaround from last year, as they’re now in the Sweet 16, when last year they went 2-22 for the season. Guys like Izaiah Brockington have led the way for the Cyclones, but at some point the question has to become whether the magical turnaround has to come to an end. 

They take on Miami in this one, and it’s a Miami team that just dismissed Auburn in the second round. They key to this Hurricanes roster is experience, as they’re one of the oldest teams in the country, and that looked to be the biggest difference against Auburn, as guys like Isaiah Wong, Charlie Moore, and Kameron McGusty led the way. As I mentioned in one of the prior picks, guard play oftentimes plays the difference when it comes to March, and with the experience that these Hurricanes guards have, especially getting a good draw against Iowa State, who struggles to score, I’m taking Miami in a close, low scoring affair. 

Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Miami (-140)

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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