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Midwest: Louisville and Duke will dominate their Sweet 16 matchups

Two great Sweet 16 matchups are set to tip off this Friday night in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. The top three seeds in the region remain with a No. 12 seed in the mix.

The first game of the night will feature the No. 1 seed in the tournament and region the Louisville Cardinals versus the No. 12 seed in the region the Oregon Ducks.

Louisville entered the tournament playing better than any other team and it showed last weekend. The Cardinals easily defeated the No. 16 seed, North Carolina A&T in the first round 79-48 and then crushed the Colorado State Rams on Saturday in the second round 82-56.

The two wins push Louisville’s consecutive win to 12. During that stretch of wins, the Cardinals have won 11 of the 12 by more than 10 points, which includes their games played during the Big East tournament.

Oregon won their conference tournament over UCLA in the Pac-12 and used that momentum to carry them to two upsets during the first two rounds of the tournament. The Ducks played very well against Oklahoma State in the opener and then defeated a strong Saint Louis team in the second round.

Against Saint Louis, the Ducks put 74 points on the board and it was only the fourth time the entire season that Saint Louis had allowed 74 or more points to be scored against them.

The Oregon offense at this point is hitting on all cylinders. In addition, the Ducks have improved their rebounding in the first two games of the tournament.

The strength of both the backcourt and frontcourt game of Louisville should be enough to offset the offensive explosion Oregon enjoyed in its first two tournament games. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva should be able to control the backcourt for Louisville, while their defensive specialist in the paint Gorgui Dieng should slow the Ducks offense.

In the second matchup in the Midwest region, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils play the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans. Duke played mediocre basketball in their opener against Albany, but turned their game around in the second round and soundly defeated a strong Creighton team. Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry led the team offensively in the first game and the two along with Rasheed Sulaimon did the same in the second game.

Michigan State played well in both of their first round games. In the first, the Spartans defeated Valparaiso easily and then played impressively against a tough Memphis team to win 70-48.

This should be the better of the two Sweet 16 games as both are playing particularly well. Both teams played very well in their second round games and that will help both in this game.

Duke has shot better this season than Michigan State and do not turn the ball over as much as the Spartans do.

Look for Duke to prevail in this matchup and make for a great final in the region between them and the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday.


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