Sweet 16 TV Schedule: Keys for Each Underdog in Thursday's March Madness Clashes

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Sweet 16 TV Schedule: Keys for Each Underdog in Thursday's March Madness Clashes
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Are you ready for some more March Madness?

Which team has the best chance of pulling off an upset?

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I know I am. The NCAA tournament hasn't disappointed this year (as per usual), complete with shocking upsets and plenty of nail-biters. Heck, Florida Gulf Coast became the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in NCAA tournament history. 

Miami (FL), Ohio State, Indiana and Wichita State are favorites in their respective matchups on Thursday for a reason. Of course, "reason" doesn't always rule in the NCAA tournament.

Here's a look at what each underdog must do on Thursday to advance to the Elite Eight. For the full Sweet 16 schedule, click here.

All stats via ESPN.com and TeamRankings.com.


Miami-FL (2) vs. Marquette (3)

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: 7:15 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Keys to the Game for Marquette: Attack the Hoop, Rebound

The Hurricanes rank 37th in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage, and they've been even better lately. While Marquette ranks 41st in field-goal percentage this season, the Golden Eagles are inconsistent. Still, they were able to defeat Davidson in the round of 64 despite shooting 35 percent because they got to the free-throw line and thoroughly out-rebounded the Wildcats.

It's going to be hard for the Golden Eagles to rack up a lot of free throws against the Hurricanes (Miami ranks 26th in opponents' free-throw attempts per offensive play), but the Golden Eagles do have an advantage on the glass. They rank 26th in offensive rebounding percentage this season. If Marquette has trouble dropping buckets, second-chance points will be vital.

 

Ohio State (2) vs. Arizona (6)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

When: 7:47 p.m. ET

Watch: TBS

Keys to the Game for Arizona: Three-Point Shooting, Rebounding

I wrote a little about the Arizona-Ohio State matchup earlier today. While Arizona ranks 84th in field-goal percentage this season, the squad ranks 25th in offensive efficiency, primarily because of its rebounding and its three-point shooting.

The Wildcats rank 14th in the nation in rebounding percentage this season, while the Buckeyes rank 69th.

Arizona also ranks 40th in three-point percentage, while the Buckeyes rank 83rd in opponents' field-goal percentage. Iowa State went 12-of-25 against Ohio State in the round of 32, and Arizona has gone a combined 18-of-32 from long range in the NCAA tournament so far.

Senior guard Mark Lyons has notched a combined 50 points in two NCAA tournament games, including six three-pointers. His matchup against likely Buckeyes defender Aaron Craft is huge.

 

Indiana (1) vs. Syracuse (4)

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: 9:45 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Keys to the Game for Syracuse: Defense, Offensive Rebounding

Syracuse doesn't have the offensive firepower to allow Indiana's offense to get going, and Indiana doesn't foul opponents a lot. If the Orange are to upset the Hoosiers, they need to do it with their defense and offensive rebounding.

The Orange rank second in opponents' field-goal percentage, seventh in defensive efficiency and eighth in offensive rebounding percentage this season. The Hoosiers may rank 14th in total rebounding rate, but they rank 89th in defensive rebounding rate.

 

Wichita State (9) vs. La Salle (13)

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

When: 10:17 p.m. ET

Watch: TBS

Key to the Game for La Salle: Offense

La Salle is an underdog to Wichita State in nearly every area. It's quite simple in this matchup: If the Explorers are to shock the Shockers (see what I did there?), they have to score points...lots of them.

La Salle ranks 62nd in field-goal percentage and 38th in offensive efficiency this season, but they've been even better in those areas lately. Their marks in each category over their last three games would rank in the top three in the nation over the course of the 2012-2013 season.

Senior guard Ramon Galloway has been fantastic for La Salle in the NCAA tournament. He scored a combined 43 points on 14-of-28 shooting in upsets over Kansas State and Ole Miss.

While the Shockers rank 38th in opponents' field-goal percentage this season, they rank 216th in opponents' free-throws attempted per offensive play. Butler attempted 29 free throws against them in the round of 32.

La Salle can't afford to stay on the perimeter. The Explorers need to attack the rim. It's their best shot at an upset.

 

Don't forget to print out your bracket and follow along with the live bracketFollow all the exciting NCAA tournament action with March Madness Live.


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