“Remember it’s not anarchy it’s just college basketball,” Jon Rothstein said about a Sweet 16 that includes Saint Peter’s and Iowa State but not heavyweights such as Baylor, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
Rothstein, a CBS college basketball analyst, isn’t a meteorologist, but he still offered a forecast The Weather Channel would be proud of. Iowa State’s Cyclones face the Miami Hurricanes in — where else — the Windy City.
FanDuel Sportsbook helped connect Rothstein with PlayIA about 30 hours before the first dribble of the Sweet 16.
An 8:59 p.m. Friday start means the Iowa State-Miami game will likely close out the round. Rothstein doesn’t sleep until May, but he won’t count on high-scoring basketball to keep him awake for Iowa State’s Sweet 16 game.
“I don’t think they’re going to be sending this one to a museum,” he said.
Iowa State’s Sweet 16 could have slumbering pace
Rothstein’s sportsbook partner agrees. FanDuel set the over/under at 133 points as of Thursday. It’s the lowest projected total of the eight Sweet 16 games. Miami is favored by 2.5 points.
The lower the score, the more it helps anyone who wants to place an Iowa State bet, according to Rothstein:
“Iowa State offense, with all due respect, is a little bit offensive so far. They’re averaging 56-and-a-half points in two NCAA Tournament games. You know, this is not a thing of beauty.”
The Cyclones will need to force turnovers, but Rothstein said Miami’s small-ball lineup has done an incredible job of taking care of the ball.
“Miami in the first two NCAA Tournament games: 32 assists, seven turnovers — that’s illegal in 48 states,” he said.
The Hurricanes put 6-foot-10 Sam Waardenburg in the lineup over a more traditional center. Rothstein is interested in how the Iowa State guards react:
“(The Hurricanes) are pretty much saying, ‘We are going to leave the middle of the floor open all the time for guards to drive and penetrate and dish.'”
The Iowa State-Miami winner faces either No. 1 seed Kansas or No. 4 seed Providence for the Midwest Region’s spot in the Final Four. That Elite Eight game would be Sunday, also in Chicago.
Does Iowa state have a chance to reach the Final Four?
Rothstein sees the highest remaining seeds in each region reaching the Final Four. Therefore, Kansas is his pick in the Midwest. He leaves room for a surprise in the bracket:
“Look at what the No. 1 seeds in this NCAA Tournament dealt with. Kansas needed a late steal and a dunk by Ochai Agbaji to beat a Creighton team that didn’t have its starting point guard and didn’t have a starting center. Carolina beats Baylor. Arizona needed an all-time shot from Bennedict Mathurin to send the game in overtime to beat TCU. And Gonzaga needed a tremendous second half from Drew Timme to beat Memphis.”
The Midwest winner plays the South winner in the Final Four.
- Arizona is the top seed in the South, where they face No. 5 seed Houston . No. 2 seed Villanova and No. 11 seed Michigan are also paired in the South Region.
- Gonzaga is the No. 1 overall seed and holds court in the West Region, where all of the four top seeds navigated the early rounds. The Bulldogs play No. 4 seed Arkansas on Thursday. The second game in the West features No. 2 Texas Tech and No. 3 Duke .
- No. 3 seed Purdue is the highest seed left in the East. The Boilermakers face No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s , the tournament’s Cinderella. The late game in the East on Friday is No. 4 seed UCLA vs. No. 8 seed North Carolina .
“I felt that Arizona was the best team at the start of the NCAA tournament,” Rothstein said. “That’s why I picked Arizona to win a national championship, but Gonzaga’s ceiling remains high.”