What’s happening? The top-seeded Western Illinois Leathernecks are facing No. 5 seed Kansas in the Sweet 16 of the 2018 NCAA tournament in our ‘College Hoops 2K8’ sim. We’re going to watch the simulated game and live stream it on Twitch tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Where can I watch? My Twitch channel
Do I need to sign up for anything? No. You only have to create a free Twitch account if you want to comment in the live chat feature, which was super fun when we did this two weeks ago.
IF WE WIN: No. 2 seed Florida is waiting in the Elite Eight. We will sim and watch the Elite Eight game vs. the Gators shortly after the buzzer in the Sweet 16 should we defeat Kansas.
So no one is controlling the teams? That’s correct. I only do the recruiting and set the coaching strategies for Western Illinois. We are watching a simulated game.
I’ll be doing a pre-game press conference as soon as you get this email, so come hang out with me on Twitch.
Three years ago, Western Illinois entered the Sweet 16 as the ultimate Cinderella story. With a No. 10 seed next to their name, our Leathernecks crashed the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history with a victory over a powerful Michigan State team in the round of 32. Four wins later, Deke Van, Giovanni Nelke, and the enigmatic coach Ricky Charisma had carved their names into college basketball lore forever as the lowest-seeded team to ever win the national championship.
Today, our Leathernecks return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since that charmed title run three years ago. This time, they’re a heavyweight favorite with an unblemished record, a No. 1 seed attached to their name, and dreams of accomplishing the most elusive goal in the sport.
No college basketball team has been crowned an undefeated national champion since 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Our Leathernecks are threatening to do just that. Western Illinois enters the game at 33-0 on the season, dominating a loaded non-conference slate, avoiding a letdown against overmatched Summit League opponents, and then skating past Portland State and Cal in the first two rounds of March Madness.
That Kansas is the opponent in the Sweet 16 couldn’t be more fitting. The Jayhawks were the team Western Illinois beat in the 2015 national title game, with a 20-point blowout victory acting as the final coronation of their greatness.
Several players remain from both teams, setting the stage for a rematch with historic stakes three years in the making. And remember: Western Illinois went into Allen Fieldhouse and beat Kansas by 12 points earlier this year.
Western Illinois vs. Kansas ratings and rosters
While Western Illinois is unbeaten and Kansas has 10 losses on the season, both teams are rated as a 100-overall coming into the game. Kansas actually has a slight edge in a few categories.
Here’s a look at the Western Illinois roster:
Here’s a look at the Kansas roster:
Yes, a few players from each team remain from the 2015 national championship game:
David Fucillo has installed the Leathernecks as a 2.5 point favorite with an over/under of 184.
Ricky O'Donnell @SBN_RickyIt's Western Illinois vs. Kansas in the Sweet 16 *TONIGHT* We're live streaming the game in our 'College Hoops 2K8' sim dynasty at 8:30 p.m. ET https://t.co/IWkmqjF2BT We enter at 33-0. Read about our undefeated season + subscribe for email updates --> https://t.co/xlkHJMXtRb
Who else is still standing in the tournament?
Western Illinois vs. Kansas is the final game of the Sweet 16. The rest of the Elite Eight is already set. Here's a look at the teams remaining in the NCAA tournament:
East regional final: No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 6 Arizona State
The Wildcats beat top-seeded Syracuse by 19 points in the Sweet 16. ASU defeated rival Arizona by one to get here.
West regional final: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 3 Cincinnati
Louisville beat No. 5 USC by 23 points to get here, while Cincy beat No. 2 seed UConn by 13 points to reach the Elite Eight.
Midwest regional final: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky
The Spartans beat No. 5 Clemson by one point in the Sweet 16, while Kentucky beat No. 3 seed Duke by two points to get here. The winner of this game will face the winner of Florida vs. Western Illinois/Kansas in the Final Four.
Waiting in the Elite Eight: No. 2 seed Florida
The Gators beat No. 6 seed Maryland 78-73 to get here. Here’s a look at Florida’s roster:
We will sim + watch the game vs. Florida later tonight should we beat Kansas.
Also read Thanh’s Leathernecks fan-fiction
Pre-game press conference starts now!
Come hang out with me on Twitch before tip-off against Kansas.
Thanks for following, and go Leathernecks.