A journey that began with 68 teams is down to the Sweet 16. The remaining NCAA tournament field consists of several high seeds, including top overall seed Louisville, and some surprises, most notably Florida Gulf Coast.
Those left standing are four victories away from a national championship. Play continues on Thursday with the first half of the next round, which features the marquee matchup of Syracuse and Indiana. Then, by the end of Friday, the Elite Eight will be in place.
Here's all key information for the Sweet 16, including a complete schedule for the two days of play. It's followed by a look at the top three contenders after the first few rounds of March Madness. The upsets have definitely helped the tourney live up to that nickname.
Dates: Thursday, March 28-Friday, March 29
Watch: CBS and TBS
Live Stream: March Madness Live
Sweet 16 Schedule
|7:15||No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 2 Miami||East||CBS|
|7:47||No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 2 Ohio State||West||TBS|
|9:45||No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 1 Indiana||East||CBS|
|10:17||No. 13 La Salle vs. No. 9 Wichita State||West||TBS|
|7:15||No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Louisville||Midwest||CBS|
|7:37||No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 1 Kansas||South||TBS|
|9:45||No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke||Midwest||CBS|
|10:07||No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 3 Florida||South||TBS|
1. Louisville Cardinals
The tournament's top overall seed has done nothing to lose its favorite status. The Cardinals, unlike a couple of their fellow top seeds, had no problem with their 16th-seeded opponent (North Carolina A&T) in the second round. Then they crushed Colorado State to reach the second week.
Louisville has all the tools to win the title: a go-to scorer in Russ Smith—who's scored 50 points in the first two games—a high-energy spark plug in Peyton Siva and somebody to protect the paint and rebound in Gorgui Dieng.
While the Cardinals can't overlook Oregon, which has excelled defensively so far, it's a good matchup. They can equal the Ducks in that facet of the game and are a much more efficient offensive squad. So Louisville should keep on rolling to the Elite Eight.
2. Indiana Hoosiers
After two games, it's easy to see why Indiana was a popular pick before the tourney started. The Hoosiers have plenty of star power courtesy of Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, who are both off to solid starts, but also have plenty of depth players capable of stepping up.
Which of these teams will survive the longest?
In the opener, it was Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey combining for 31 points. Sheehey had another strong game against Temple, and Christian Watford provided further support. Jordan Hulls knocked down a couple key shots as well.
Oladipo and Zeller are going to get their points. Indiana's title chances will rely on those secondary scorers continuing to provide support. A matchup with Syracuse's zone should provide a solid test, but it's one the Hoosiers should pull through.
3. Florida Gators
Florida has been the most impressive team outside of the top seeds. The Gators are probably the most well-rounded team in the nation. They showed that by holding the country's top scoring team (Northwestern State) to 47 in the opener. They are also averaging nearly 80 point per game so far.
It's tough to find the Gators' weakness. They feature four players scoring in double figures, rank eighth in field-goal percentage, are active in passing lanes on the defense end to force turnovers, can defend the paint and, to top it off, have plenty senior leadership.
If they are playing a guard-oriented team, Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton rise to the occasion. If it's a forward-oriented game, the onus falls on Erik Murphy and Patric Young. No matter how you analyze it, the Gators are in good shape moving forward.