As a result of the top two seeds in the top half of the Midwest advancing, college basketball fans will get to witness two of the best players in the country going at it when No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks takes on No. 4 seed Purdue Boilermakers.
Before getting into the bold predictions for this March Madness showdown, let’s take a look at how these teams advanced to the Sweet 16.
As for Kansas, it has looked pretty unstoppable on the offensive side of the ball. The Jayhawks had a 100-point performance against No. 16 seed UC Davis Aggies in the first round and a 90-point outing against No. 9 Michigan State Spartans in the round of 32.
Giving the ball to the Boilermakers, they knocked off No. 13 seed Vermont Catamounts in Round 1 and No. 5 seed Iowa State Cyclones in Round 2.
While Kansas freshman Josh Jackson went off against the Spartans (he dropped 23 points), all eyes will surely be on Frank Mason III and Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan in this battle.
Look no further than the tweet below to figure that one out.
Four finalists for Naismith Trophy:
• Lonzo Ball, UCLA
• Josh Hart, Villanova
• Frank Mason, Kansas
• Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 19, 2017
Before two of the best players in the country take the court against one another, let’s unleash some bold predictions for the Sweet 16 clash featuring the Kansas Jayhawks and Purdue Boilermakers.
Vince Edwards, Swanigan Combine For 50 Points
Vince Edwards and Swanigan have been tearing up opposing defenses in the NCAA tournament, and that trend will continue in the Sweet 16.
While Swanigan is the main man for the Boilermakers, and is putting up 18 points per game in the dance, which is actually a tad below his 18.5 points per game on the season, Edwards has taken his game to the next level — and then some — in March. While the junior is only averaging 12.7 points per contest in 2016-17, he is averaging 21 points per game in the tournament, just in case fans needed proof of his epic performance during March Madness so far.
In bold prediction fashion, look for the two to combine for 50 points against the Jayhawks, and that might need to be the case if Purdue plans on keeping pace with Kansas in the scoring department.
Frank Mason III Makes His Case For Player Of The Year
Frank Mason III is putting up 20.8 points per game in 2016-17, and — likely to no one’s surprise — he has cracked the 20-point mark in back-to-back tournament games.
While players like Jackson and Devonte’ Graham have elevated their games in the Big Dance (Graham is putting up 17 points per game in the tournament while Jackson is pouring in 20 points per game), Mason III has been the best player on the court all season long, and he can’t take his foot off the gas pedal now.
Look for Mason III to do what he does best (you know, like score 20-plus points) in this Sweet 16 showdown. With that in mind, Mason III and Swanigan will prove their worth on the biggest stage in college basketball, which is, of course, the NCAA tournament.
First Team To 85 Points Moves On To The Elite Eight
Kansas is averaging a whopping 95 points per game in the tourney while Purdue is putting up 80 points per contest. Talent will be flooding the court — to say the least — when these teams meet up. After all, Naismith finalists will be taking the court.
If the Boilermakers have any chance of pulling off the upset, Swanigan, a double-double machine, has to come up big on both ends of the court. While Mason III can’t drop a dud in the scoring department, Kansas arguably has more talent, and more options on the offensive side of the ball.
Nonetheless, look for this one to be an absolute thriller, with the first team to 85 points coming out on top and moving on to the Elite Eight.
The winner of this contest will play the winner of the Oregon vs. Michigan matchup.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]