We're only through six days of tournament action so far, but the 2013 NCAA tournament has given us enough moments to solidify the age-old adage of this time of year being known as March Madness.
From Marquette surviving in the second round over Davidson to No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast's magical run so far to the Sweet 16, the action has been seemingly nonstop since the Big Dance began last Tuesday with the first four games.
Only three of the four top seeds remain in the bracket, after No. 9 Wichita State sent No. 1 Gonzaga packing in the round of 32. No. 13 La Salle, No. 12 Oregon and Florida Gulf Coast are the other three high-seeded teams to make it to the Sweet 16, and all three have a good chance of making it to the Elite Eight—currently scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in each of the four regions.
But to get to that point, we've got eight games in two days that will weed the field from 16 to eight. To ensure that you're up-to-date on all the latest information for when the action kicks off on Thursday, check out this Sweet 16 primer for each matchup.
Sweet 16 TV Schedule
Note: All times are approximate, and Eastern Time. For a full listing of the next round of games, refer to your local listings and/or the NCAA tournament bracket for more information.
|East||No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 2 Miami (FL)||7:15||CBS||Washington, D.C.|
|West||No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 2 Ohio St. ||7:47||TBS||Los Angeles, Cal.|
|East||No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 4 Syracuse||9:45||CBS||Washington, D.C.|
|West||No. 9 Wichita St. vs. No. 13 La Salle||10:17||TBS||Los Angeles, Cal.|
|Midwest||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon||7:15||CBS||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|South||No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan||7:37||TBS||Arlington, Texas|
|Midwest||No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 2 Duke||9:45||CBS||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|South||No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 FGCU||9:57||TBS||Arlington, Texas|
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 2 Miami (FL)
Marquette survived two close games in its first two matchups of the tournament, winning against Davidson and Butler by a combined three points. Vander Blue has been the hero so far for the Golden Eagles, hitting the game-winner against Davidson before putting in 29 points in the two-point win over Butler.
On the other side, Miami is still one of the hottest teams in the nation. The ACC champion might be in trouble in the depth department, though, especially after this tweet from Michelle Kaufman puts Reggie Johnson out for the game—and the rest of the tournament:
The Hurricanes still have Shane Larkin, Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott, but Johnson is an X-factor for this team on both ends. This should be an exciting matchup of athleticism and outside shooting, and will pit the Big East against the ACC in a battle of East Coast conference supremacy.
No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Arizona dispatched Belmont and Harvard en route to the Sweet 16, squashing any thoughts of a Cinderella team from that portion of the West region of the bracket.
Behind guard Mark Lyons' 25 points per game, the Wildcats have made short work of both teams, winning against both teams by double digits in an attempt to prove to the selection committee that No. 6 was far too low of a seed for one of the Pac-12's best teams.
Ohio State hasn't lost since late February, but survived a late comeback attempt from Iowa State in the round of 32 after a controversial charge call went Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes' way.
Arizona's intense rebounding style and good guard play from Lyons will be a matchup problem for Craft and the Buckeyes, but you can't discount the defense that Craft plays or the scoring punch of Deshaun Thomas (23 ppg through two games) to this game.
The Wildcats have rebounded both teams they've beaten into submission during the tournament, which will be a major key for Thad Matta and the Ohio State staff in corralling old friend Sean Miller and Arizona on Thursday night.
No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 4 Syracuse
Indiana survived a major scare from Temple in the round of 32 after unsuccessfully stopping Khalif Wyatt for most of the game. Wyatt finished with 31 points, but Indiana managed to use a late run capped by a Victor Oladipo three (is there anything this guy can't do?) to pull off the win on Sunday.
Facing Syracuse on Thursday night, the Hoosiers need more from their guards to break down a tough Orange two-three zone.
Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Jordan Hulls combined for just five points against Temple, a number that won't fly against the Orange. Indiana needs more consistency from others not named Oladipo and Cody Zeller, or it could be the second No. 1 seed to fall in this tournament.
Syracuse, not exactly the model of consistency itself, managed to survive a 12-minute scoring drought to hang on and beat California. Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair both have tournament experience, but the Orange will need to lean on the scoring punch of James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams and avoid a second-half letdown against one of the nation's best teams.
No. 9 Wichita State vs. No. 13 La Salle
In a surprise matchup of high seeds, Wichita State and La Salle have both outlasted the teams with higher pedigrees from their respective conferences.
Wichita State, the runner-up in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship to Creighton, beat Pittsburgh into submission before handling the No. 1 team in the nation in the round of 32. The Shockers (a fitting mascot) took Gonzaga down on Saturday night, and scored 76 points (14 three-pointers) despite only shooting the ball 50 times.
La Salle, not even on the radar in the Atlantic 10 behind Butler, Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis, is the only remaining team from the conference. Its played three games, and guard Ramon Galloway leads an exciting Explorers squad into action against another mid-major foe.
This game isn't going to get a lot of press, but it should quietly be one of the most high-scoring, intense games of the tournament so far. Don't pay attention to the seed numbers, these two teams have a real shot to put on a show in Los Angeles.
No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon
The upstart Ducks made quick work of both Oklahoma State and Saint Louis during their first two games, and are making a serious push to give Louisville a run for its money behind a run-and-gun style that is fun to watch.
Arsalan Kazemi is absolutely beasting on the glass right now, too, averaging 16.5 boards per game during the first two games of the tournament for Oregon.
That likely won't scare Louisville, a team coming off two impressive wins of its own, albeit over two lower seeds. The Cardinals continue to use their patented style of defense to create problems and turnovers, leading to easy baskets and less problems with the half-court offense stalling.
Rick Pitino's team is eager to forget about last year's Final Four loss to Kentucky, and certainly has a chance to reach Atlanta with two games this week in the Sweet 16 and potentially again in the Elite Eight. Between Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng, the Ducks are going to have a hard time stopping one of the nation's most loaded teams.
Look for the matchup between Siva/Smith and Ducks guard Johnathan Loyd to be one of the better individual matchups of the tournament so far.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan
If you want star power, this is the game to tune into on Friday night.
Michigan's big three of Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. have all been lights-out so far through two tournament games, while Mitch McGary's insertion into the starting lineup has helped Michigan avoid two potential upsets to lower seeds.
On the other side, Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson have the pedigree to match Michigan's big three. All six players are likely headed for the NBA next season, so the level of urgency for both schools to reach the Elite Eight will be very high at Cowboys Stadium.
Both teams have been inconsistent at times this season, but both have also been great on both sides of the ball through two games. Something has to give, and Kansas could be the second No. 1 seed to fall in March Madness this year.
No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke
Michigan State was on upset watch in the round of 32 against an extremely difficult Memphis team, but Tom Izzo's brilliance shined through in the second half as the Spartans were able to gain some momentum heading into the Sweet 16.
Duke also survived an upset to No. 7 Creighton in Round 3, stifling Wooden candidate Doug McDermott to a 4-of-16 performance from the field (although he was 12-of-12 from the free-throw line).
If you're looking for a mixture of tournament history and current excellence, this is the matchup for you. Duke and Michigan State are two of the few programs left that manage to keep most of their talent for more than one season, and that shows with guys like Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Derrick Nix and Keith Appling on both sides.
Look for guard play to decide this game, as youngsters on both teams will be thrust into big moments in front of a national audience. In particular, freshman guard Gary Harris will be big for Michigan State. Harris is one of the few candidates to go pro a early, and he proved that with a 23-point performance against Memphis in the round of 32.
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
It's going to take seven games to get there, but Florida Gulf Coast will play in the Sweet 16.
If you're tired or looking for an excuse to go to bed on Friday night, don't let it be because of the Eagles, who have a chance to make history yet again in the tournament behind Sherwood Brown, Bernard Thompson and the rest of this Dunk City squad.
Florida is the only thing standing in the way of Florida Gulf Coast becoming the first-ever No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, and the SEC regular season champs won't go away without a fight—especially with in-state bragging rights on the line.
From high-flying dunks to the added bonus of getting to see a Cinderella squad in the making, this is a game you don't want to miss. Don't miss any of the Sweet 16 action on Thursday and Friday, for that matter, but make sure this in-state showdown is queued up on your TV as the Sweet 16 turns into the Elite Eight on Friday night.
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