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March Madness 2019: Why your team won't advance to the Final Four

Sporting News logo Sporting News 3/25/2019 Bill Bender

© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited The Sweet 16 field is set heading into the second week of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, and the field is loaded with chalk. 

So, if your bracket is busted, then that's on you.

All the 1-, 2- and 3-seeds advanced in the first weekend, which makes for some heavyweight matchups in the regionals Thursday through Sunday. You can make several cases for why each team should advance to the Final Four. But what are the cases against them?

RELATED:   Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket, matchups, more

Sporting News lets you know why your team will not make the Final Four this weekend.

East Region

Duke

Virginia Tech beat Duke — the Blue Devils without Zion Williamson, the Hokies without Justin Robinson — in a game that resembled the second-round squeaker with UCF. Duke should anticipate that style of game in the Sweet 16. LSU or Michigan State pose a threat in the Elite Eight with their veteran rosters, too. There’s also the possibility, however unlikely, Zion's shoe explodes again.

Virginia Tech

The Hokies are the largest underdog in the field at plus-8. Duke shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. If the Blue Devils shoot that well from the outside, the Hokies will be making the short trip back from Washington, D.C. We won’t even talk about the Elite Eight unless they beat the top overall seed.

LSU

The Tigers shot 33.3 percent from the field in the second half against Yale, and 28.6 percent from the field in the second half against Maryland. The Tigers have rallied despite the suspension of Will Wade, and the nothing-to-lose-mentality has worked out so far. But if they continue to shoot like that in the second half against Michigan State, it won't be close.

Michigan State

Forget about Tom Izzo yelling at Aaron Henry. That's a non-issue. The Spartans are a veteran team playing well together. That just hasn't mattered against the Blue Devils. The Spartans are 1-11 against Duke under Izzo. That is one of the biggest reasons the Spartans were so upset about their seed heading into the tournament. The only win against Duke came in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

MORE: Ranking Sweet 16 teams' chances to win it all

West Region

Gonzaga

The Seminoles jumped out to a nine-point halftime lead and never looked back in a victory against the Bulldogs in last year's tournament — and Gonzaga had one more rebound in the loss. This year, Florida State shot 50.7 percent from the field against Murray State and lottery pick Ja Morant. The Elite Eight matchup against either Michigan or Texas Tech won't be easy either.

Florida State

The Seminoles are confident, but this is a better Gonzaga team than the one it faced last year, one that dismantled its first two opponents by a combined 50 points. FSU shot 43.1 percent or less in its seven losses this season, and the Bulldogs ranks sixth in the country in defensive shooting percentage (38.7 percent). FSU has to shoot the 3-ball well, and that is no guarantee. The potential Elite Eight opponents also rely on their defense.

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are looking to return to the Elite Eight, but they will be up against another top-10 defensive team in Michigan. The Red Raiders averaged 14.3 turnovers per game in their losses this season. Michigan allowed 52 points per game in the first weekend. FSU and Gonzaga present matchup problems, too.

Michigan

The Wolverines' offense is sporadic in the halfcourt — especially when the 3-pointers aren't falling. Texas Tech ranks second in the nation in defensive shooting percentage (36.8) and can win an ugly game with Michigan. Will the Wolverines force bad shots as a result?

MORE: Updated odds to win NCAA Tournament

South Region

Virginia

Virginia's next opponent is Oregon, which dismissed Wisconsin, holding the Badgers to 33.3 percent shooting. Oregon is shooting with confidence. The Ducks hit 20 of 40 from 3-point range in their first two tournament victories. If the 3s are falling, UVA could be in trouble. That's not even talking about Purdue or Tennessee.

Oregon

Virginia is a better team than Wisconsin — and that hot shooting can wear off in a week. They allowed just eight offensive rebounds in two games over the weekend. The Cavaliers will be closer to home in Louisville, too, and that will make life difficult for the lowest seed left in the tournament. If the Ducks win this region, then it will be the surprise of the tournament.

Purdue

You know the drill by now. Just when it looks like Purdue is unstoppable — and they looked the part in an 87-61 blowout against Villanova — the Boilermakers have a meltdown in the Sweet 16. Purdue coach Matt Painter is 0-5 in the Sweet 16, including three straight losses coming into this one. Tennessee has the same questions, but they also have a talented starting lineup. Carsen Edwards was held to fewer than 20 points in losses to Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State this year. The Boilermakers role players will need to step up.

Tennessee

The Vols have never made the Final Four, and this team has question marks. Can you trust Tennessee for 40 minutes against anybody? Colgate and Iowa had second-half comebacks and shot well from 3-point range against the Vols. Tennessee has a veteran team that will have to show poise against teams that won't fall behind that far. Purdue — and perhaps Virginia — pose major roadblocks.

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Midwest Region

North Carolina

It's difficult to find a good reason. The Tar Heels are loaded on offense, control the tempo can run with any team left in the tournament. Sometimes that doesn't matter when you are playing a hot team. Auburn has won 10 in a row, and Bruce Pearl won't be afraid to run in this game.

Auburn

The Tigers are making 12.2 three-pointers per game during this 10-game win streak. Auburn must have that hot shooting this weekend, because North Carolina can still beat you with it. Without it, the Tigers stand no chance against the Tar Heels.

Houston

Kelvin Sampson is back in the Sweet 16, and the Cougars get a chance against the blue bloods in Kansas City. Houston can win with its defense, but in its three losses this season, the Cougars didn't lose the rebounding by much and did not turn the ball over. They just didn't shoot the 3-pointer well. Kentucky can win against that — so a grinder game would favor the Wildcats.

Kentucky

Kentucky got out of the first weekend without P.J. Washington, who is out with a sprained foot. It's doubtful they get out of the second weekend without him, considering the Wildcats shot 25.9 percent from 3-point range the first weekend. Kentucky cannot shoot that poorly against the teams left in its region.

Related slideshow: Best photos of the NCAA Tournament (Provided by imagn)

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