The 2013 NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen stage will conclude on Friday with four regional semifinal matchups in the Midwest and the South Region.
No. 1 seeds Louisville and Kansas are both favored in their matchups, while No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Florida are the two other favorites to advance to the Elite Eight this weekend. But if the first three rounds of this year's Big Dance have taught us anything, it's that no favorite is safe.
For proof look no further than Gonzaga, Georgetown and New Mexico.
With March Madness reaching a fever pitch, we'll get you set with everything you need to know for Friday's Sweet Sixteen action.
Midwest Region: No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Louisville
Tipoff: 7:15 p.m. ET
Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals will get Friday's action underway against Cinderella Oregon, a No. 12 seed that's taken out No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Saint Louis en route to the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Covers.com has the Cardinals as 10-point favorites in this matchup, and it's certainly hard to argue that the spread is too high as Louisville has won 12 straight games and has been cruising thus far in tournament play, winning by an average of 28.5 points in the opening rounds.
The Ducks won their first two by an average of 15 points, but will surely struggle against Louisville's vaunted full-court press.
After all, Cardinals guard Russ Smith is averaging a ridiculous five steals per game for the tournament.
South Region: No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 1 Kansas
Tipoff: 7:37 p.m. ET
The Kansas Jayhawks will be a slight favorite when they take on the Michigan Wolverines inside Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday night. Covers.com is giving Michigan two points in the second of Friday's four showdowns.
Although John Beilein's Wolverines will have a huge advantage at the point guard position with talented sophomore Trey Burke playing phenomenal basketball this season, Kansas' Jeff Withey presents a nightmare matchup for Michigan in the paint.
Withey is averaging six blocks per game in the tournament this March, and can tie Tim Duncan's tournament record with seven more blocks this spring.
Assuming Withey is wreaking havoc on the interior Friday night, and freshman sensation Ben McLemore shoots better than 0-for-9 from the field like he did Sunday against North Carolina, I like the Jayhawks to knock off the Wolverines and make their third straight Elite Eight appearance in 2013.
Midwest Region: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke
Tipoff: 9:45 p.m ET
Friday's second Midwest Regional semifinal will pit two of the greatest coaches in college basketball history against one another when Michigan State and Duke square off in Indianapolis.
The Spartans' Tom Izzo and Blue Devils' Mike Krzyzewski have a combined five national championships and 17 Final Four appearances between them. But if there's a favorite in this even matchup it's got to be Duke (Covers.com is giving Michigan State two points), a team that's been one of the most consistent all year long.
The Blue Devils dropped just five games this season and boast an impressive 20-1 record with senior Ryan Kelly in the lineup.
Look for Duke's senior leadership, highlighted by Kelly's presence, and the Blue Devils' knockdown shooters to steal the show on Friday as Krzyzewski's squad aims to make the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010, the year Duke won it all.
South Region: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 3 Florida
Tipoff: 10:07 p.m. ET
In Friday's final matchup, Billy Donovan's Florida Gators will be looking to earn their third straight Elite Eight berth by beating the Cinderella of Cinderellas, 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast.
The Eagles upset No. 2 Georgetown and then No. 7 San Diego State in the second and third rounds last weekend to earn a shocking bid to the Sweet Sixteen. Led by talented guards Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson, FGCU outscored both the Hoyas and Aztecs in the second half to survive and advance.
The Gators, who are favored by 13 points according to Covers.com, will need to stay focused for a full 40 minutes on Friday in order to avoid becoming the Eagles' third victim.
But you've got to like Florida's chances of ending FGCU's run on Friday. The Gators have blown out their first two opponents in the tournament and are the eighth-best shooting team in the nation, shooting better than 48 percent from the field as a team this year.
Remaining 2013 Sweet Sixteen Schedule
|Date||Matchup||Start Time (ET)||Channel|
|Friday, March 29||No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 1 Louisville||7:15 p.m.||CBS|
|Friday, March 29||No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 1 Kansas||7:37 p.m.||TBS|
|Friday, March 29||No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. Duke||9:45 p.m.||CBS|
|Friday, March 29||No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 3 Florida||10:07 p.m.||TBS|
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