We have made it to the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. The 64 teams that started last Thursday have been whittled down to 16, and – as always – there were some major shocks and upsets along the way. This preview and ticket information post is for the Sweet 16 pods in Kansas City (Midwest Regional) and Louisville (South Regional) that will play on Friday, April 24, and Sunday, April 26. If you want tickets to Las Vegas (West Regional) or New York (East Regional), check out our post on those pods here.
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Kansas City (Midwest Regional)
The Midwest is the toughest bracket in terms of remaining seeds. Houston (1), Texas (2), and Xavier (3) all battled through their Round of 64 and 32 games, with only Indiana (4) falling by the wayside. The Hoosiers only did so in a 4 vs. 5 game, however, with Miami (5) completing a lineup of teams that will all fancy their chances of making it to the Final Four.
Houston would be playing that Final Four in their home city, and their first task is to get by the Hurricanes. The Cougars were being eyed for an upset with questions around the health of their best player, but Marcus Sasser went 7-of-14 for 22 points against Auburn and will be even better another week removed from his injury. Miami relies on its high-end guards to cover for a lack of size in the paint, with 6-foot-7 Norchad Omier playing above his listed size. They will try to win this by shutting down Sasser and relying on their depth.
Texas is a real threat to win this whole thing. The No. 6 team in the country in terms of overall experience, they have a pair of wins over Kansas this season and looked outstanding in the Big 12 Tournament. Someone will have to turn this team over consistently to beat them. Xavier will have a shot because of how fast they p[lay. If the three-ball is dropping – they are one of the best in the country – then this is a formidable squad.
Louisville (South Regional)
Alabama (1) will love how the South looks heading to Lousiville. This has been the most chaotic of all the pods, and the South has lost Arizona (2), Baylor (3), and Virginia (4). That leaves ‘Bama as the clear favorite in Lousiville as they will be joined by San Diego State (5), Creighton (6), and the biggest Cinderella of the tournament in Princeton (15).
Alabama scores 82.3 points per game and is also great on the defensive end, where KenPom has them as the third-best team nationally in defensive efficiency. The battle will be at the three-point line, with ‘Bama used to sinking the three-ball and SDSU giving up just 28.8% three-point shooting on the year. They will try to slow the Crimson Tide down and beat them up inside. If the game gets physical, then the Aztecs will have a shot.
It will be fascinating to see Princeton try to deal with Creighton’s 7-foot-1 rim protector Ryan Kalkbrenner at the offensive and defensive ends. Getting him into foul trouble would be huge for the Tigers, who will be undersized here. Their ability to chase down rebounds saw them hold Arizona and Mizzou well under their season-scoring averages. They will need to ramp up that intensity even further on Friday.