The sweetest time of March Madness is upon us. Only 16 teams remain out of the 338 that started the season with aspirations of a "sweeter" March. Unfortunately, these three teams don't have a shot to advance to the Elite Eight.
Indiana, Ohio and Cincinnati are all facing top teams in their respective regions. Those three teams (Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State, respectively) are in the top four for odds to win it all (via Vegas Insider).
Not to mention, those three powerhouses all have something to prove heading into the second weekend of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Here's a breakdown of the three contests this weekend.
Indiana Hoosiers vs. Kentucky Wildcats
This game has been dubbed the "best" Sweet Sixteen matchup by CBS Sports, and for good reason. Kentucky wants retribution for Dec. 10. Indiana wants to prove it wasn't a fluke.
Unfortunately, the Hoosiers simply don't have home court advantage this time around. Indiana shot 60 percent from beyond the arc in their first meeting, and they had more depth. Indiana lost depth, a senior presence and eight points per game when Verdell Jones III went down with a torn ACL.
Couple that gloomy news with the fact that Kentucky is coming off their best offensive game of the year, and you have trouble.
Ohio Bobcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
While Kendall Marshall's wrist receives headlines for this game, the Ohio Bobcats do not. They are being overlooked coming into this game, not only for their 13-seed but also because of North Carolina's excellent play.
No one would argue Ohio has more talent than their top-seeded opponent. Not even with Marshall on the bench. North Carolina has too much talent to lose this game. Their up-tempo play will give them plenty of opportunities to exploit the Ohio defense.
Ohio has shot uncharacteristically well and their opponents haven't up to this point. That luck will run out against North Carolina on Friday.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
This is one of the more intriguing matchups of the Sweet Sixteen. It isn't getting as much publicity as the aforementioned Indiana/ Kentucky rematch, but there are story lines galore in this game. Yancy Gates against Jared Sullinger will be an exciting battle to watch.
Both teams are coming off conference championship losses. Sullinger and Ohio State missed the Elite Eight last year due to a well-timed Brandon Knight jumper, and Cincinnati hasn't made the Sweet Sixteen since 2001.
The edge goes to Ohio State because of their experience. They have been in this situation and are hungry for an Elite Eight berth. They may not have quite the depth of last year's team, but they are still a very formidable force in the East Region.
Although all three of these upsets could happen, and we have seen the impossible this year (15-over-2 twice), the odds are stacked against these underdogs.
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