This article is part of our Sweet 16 Preview series.
Site: Kansas City
Tip-off: Thursday, March 23rd
In a tournament where chalk wins have been abundant, the Midwest region saw three of its top-four seeds reach the Sweet Sixteen. The biggest casualty in the first weekend was Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals, who fell victim to Michigan in a second-round upset. No. 11 Rhode Island made a valiant effort by beating No. 6 Creighton and nearly pulling off an upset against No. 3 Oregon, but Tyler Dorsey's 27-point performance (9-10 FG, 4-5 3Pt, 5-9 FT) was too much in the end for the Rams. The remaining four teams provide for a couple intriguing contrasts in both matchups and style.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Purdue
Key Matchup: This matchup pick was tough to pick, as Kansas boasts a stellar backcourt, while Purdue's front court is one of the best in the country, making for several defensive mismatches. That being said, I'll head straight to the matchup between National Player of the Year candidate Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan and likely NBA lottery pick Josh Jackson. Jackson is long and athletic at 6-foot-8, 207 pounds, but he'll need to play more physical in order to stop the 6-9, 250 pound Swanigan from getting buckets inside the paint. Likewise, Swanigan will also be put to the test against Jackson's natural scoring ability, improving outside shooting and finesse game.
Kansas will win IF: They continue offensively dominating and stop Purdue from getting second chance points. It will be crucial for the Jayhawks to keep their