The lull in between the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and the second weekend of the tournament generally means there isn't much news in college basketball. Twitter feeds are noticeably less active, interviews more sparse, and stories a bit more contrived. That doesn't mean nothing is happening, though. Here are the stories making news while the teams prepare.
- Xavier freshman Dez Wells is "living in the training room," according to Coach Mack, in his attempt to return from a sprained toe in time to play against Baylor on Friday. Wells is also being held out of practice to give the toe the most amount of healing time possible. None of this is encouraging news.
- You have heard by now, but Ohio has fully a quarter of the Sweet Sixteen teams. Half of those teams (UC and Ohio) would have been considered a surprise before the season. Jason King surmises that that the Buckeyes are still the state's most popular team, but also posits that Xavier has a good chance of advancing against Baylor.
- Joe Lunardi has the same love for Wisconsin basketball that we here at Banners do. Lunardi gives the Badgers a very good chance to advance out of the East Region. This article is behind the pay wall but does an excellent job of describing why Wisconsin is about so much more than just slowing down the game.
- Meanwhile, Dick Vitale is not nearly so organized. He lists several reasons why Xavier has a very good chance to beat the Baylor Bears... and then picks Baylor. You can read that, and his predictions for the other seven games (no shocker, it's all chalk), here.
- The ESPN theme continues with an article from Eamon Brennan. Brennan is by far the most talented of the current stable of ESPN college basketball analysts and his primer on the 16 teams is a must read. Interesting note, Brady Heslip has made 22 of his last 36 three point attempts. That's unreal.
- Going to the Brennan well one more time, here is a list of the most indespensible players on the Sweet 16 teams. Kenny Frease rings the bell for Xavier, as Brennan points out that Xavier is thin, literally and figuratively, after that. Quincy Acy is the pick for the Baylor Bears. Much of this game will hinge on how well Big Kenny handles Baylor's active and athletic big men.
- Finally, how sweet is the Sweet 16? Dana O' Neil would like you to think that it is as much a barometer of potential failure as it success. For the big names (Duke, UK, Kansas) maybe it is, but for nearly everyone else, it still matters. There's still nothing that compares to being one of the last 16 standing. Does anyone think that the Ohio Bobcats are one of the 16 best teams in the nation? No, but they are still playing, and some of the big boys aren't.