Now that the Sweet 16 is set, it is time to dig into each of these teams and realize what they need to do in order to continue their runs into March.
Zion. Zion Williamson has been incredible over the last couple of games. Not only did he average 27 PPG and 11 REBS in the ACC tournament, but he has been incredible in the NCAA tournament as well. When Zion can't do it, RJ Barrett can. If RJ cleans up his shot selection a bit, he can take his game to the next level. Trae Jones has also looked solid hitting mid-range jump shots while playing tenacious defense. The one thing that I'm still looking for from Duke is the real emergence of Cam Reddish. We've seen his potential but his inconsistent play is still haunting the Blue Devils. If Cam gets going, the Blue Devils will play at an even higher level than they are now and there is no ceiling for this group.
The Virginia Cavaliers opened up the first round of tournament play by giving everyone a scare against 16 seed Gardner-Webb. Tony Bennett's team pulled it off, reassuring everyone that this years Virginia team is unlike any other. On any given night, any one of these guys on the floor can have a great game. Not only do they have a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft in Deandre Hunter, but they also have great shooting and excellent guard play. All of their guards look like Malcolm Brogdon defending, which should scare opposing guards. When you key on the guys who play the 1-4, Mamadi Diakite will also hurt you. Do not expect Kyle Guy to go 2-15 from the field and 0-10 from 3 again. This Virginia team is very solid and poised to make a deep run.
There is one sole question of Kentucky's ability to make a deep run into the Tournament: what is the health of PJ Washington? PJ Washington developed his game in a monstrous way this year, becoming Kentucky's leading and main scorer of the basketball. If Washington is unavailable to play, Kentucky will have a tough road ahead. Although, the Wildcats do sport great guard play and great depth. Freshmen Ashton Haggans and Tyler Herro will need to step up in the loss of PJ Washington. Haggans is a phenomenal defender who was not expected to play at this high of a level and Tyler Herro can score on virtually almost anybody. They still have to transfer Reid Travis who is a double-double machine along with big man Nick Richards. Did I mention NBA prospect Keldon Johnson? As long as Herro does not slump as he did against Wofford going 2-11 from the field, I like the Wildcats chances of moving forward against a great Houston Cougars team.