Half of the 2013 Elite Eight field is set, and the other half will be decided on Friday night in the second half of Sweet 16 action in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Syracuse, Ohio State, Wichita State and Marquette all punched their tickets to the next round on Thursday after impressive wins over tough opponents, and the East and West regional finals are both set after the scores from those games trickled in.
If you're sad the tournament is somewhat winding down—don't be. There's still plenty of action remaining.
Syracuse and Marquette are going to square off in the East regional final, while Ohio State will take on Cinderella squad Wichita State in the West regional final. With trips to Atlanta and the Final Four on the line in each game, you don't want to miss either on Saturday night.
Before those games commence, Friday's Sweet 16 games in the Midwest and South regions will help decide the four Elite Eight participants from those two sections of the bracket. Top seeds Louisville and Kansas are both trying to avoid upsets in games against Oregon and Michigan, while tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast also gets back toward making more history.
Check out the sections below to see what we know so far from the Elite Eight bracket and how the Sweet 16 games could shape the final eight participants in March Madness.
2013 Elite Eight Matchups
East Region: No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 4 Syracuse: Saturday, March 30, at 4:30 p.m. ET
West Region: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Wichita State: Sat., March 30, at 7:05 p.m. ET
Midwest Region: Winners of No. 1 Louisville/No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 2 Duke/No. 3 Michigan State
South Region: Winners of No. 1 Kansas/No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 3 Florida/No. 15 FGCU
Remaining Sweet 16 Game Schedule
Note: All times are approximate and Eastern Time. For a complete look at the tournament schedule and bracket, check out Bleacher Report's updated PDF.
|Mar. 29||No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon||7:15||CBS||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Mar. 29||No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan||7:37||TBS||Arlington, Texas|
|Mar. 29||No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 2 Duke||9:45||CBS||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Mar. 29||No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 FGCU||9:57||TBS||Arlington, Texas|
Elite Eight Preview
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 4 Syracuse
The Big East may be headed for a major shake-up this offseason, but Syracuse and Marquette will stand toe-to-toe in the Elite Eight with conference bragging rights on the line.
Syracuse's 2-3 zone outclassed Indiana on Thursday night, but Marquette, fresh off an impressive win over Miami, won't be scared of Cuse's patented defense after seeing and beating it in a 74-71 win at home earlier this season.
Vander Blue has been every bit the player advertised for the Golden Eagles, making the game-winning layup against Davidson and carrying the scoring load for most of the tournament. He and the rest of the Marquette guards will need to make ball-security-first decisions against the 2-3 zone, especially after watching Syracuse force 19 Indiana turnovers.
Michael Carter-Williams' star has started to shine for Jim Boeheim. The young guard scored 24 points in his team's win over Indiana and helped make up for a lack of scoring from senior James Southerland.
With a previous matchup already in the books, the Big East name on the line and a trip to Atlanta there for the taking, the Orange and the Golden Eagles look set to duke it out on Saturday night with an added edge you won't find in any other matchup.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Wichita State
Ohio State will ride an 11-game winning streak into this Elite Eight showdown with the Shockers, but there's little doubt that Wichita State doesn't care about opponent stats or numbers when taking the court.
LaQuinton Ross' three as time wound down against Arizona gave Ohio State a shot in this game, while Wichita State's relentless rebounding and inside game overwhelmed La Salle from the outset in what turned out to be a blowout win.
It's a Big Ten-Atlantic 10 clash in Los Angeles.
Behind top scorers and leaders Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, the Buckeyes are no slouch. They create matchup problems, have good depth at key positions and can defend well in crunch time. On the other hand, Wichita State has a similar set of athletes, and big man Carl Hall (who has a great story you should read, courtesy of Yahoo!'s Jay Hart) is a force inside.
The Shockers don't care what conference an opponent is from and already have the satisfaction of taking down a No. 1 seed (Gonzaga) in this tournament. That being said, Ohio State is battle tested and has the kind of squad that looks like Final Four material. It should be a fun one at Staples Center.
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