For four long days, we will have to suffer through March Madness withdrawals before tournament action picks back up on Thursday for the Sweet 16.
It's been a wild ride so far, and the round of 32 isn't even over yet. As I write this on Sunday afternoon, there are six games still to be played to finish out the round, and there are only two Sweet 16 matchups set.
Just to pass along an idea of how crazy the action has already been, we need look no further than those two matchups.
In the Midwest, No. 4 seed Louisville will take on in-state rival No. 8 seed Kentucky. SportsCenter is excited for the matchup:
Sweet 16 will feature a matchup of one of college basketball's best rivalries. Kentucky will face Louisville in Indianapolis. Let's go!— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 23, 2014
That matchup came about after Kentucky upset No. 1 seed Wichita State, 78-76.
Who will win?
That matchup was not as surprising as our next. In the South Region, No. 10 seed Stanford will take on No. 11 seed Dayton, which obviously means there will be a double-digit seed in the Elite Eight.
At any rate, with the first chance to really take a breath and assess the action, let's look ahead at the upcoming madness.
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|South||Thurs, March 27||No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA/No. 12 Stephen F. Austin|
|South||Thurs, March 27||No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 10 Stanford|
|West||Thurs, March 27||No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 1 Arizona/No. 8 Gonzaga|
|West||Thurs, March 27||No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Baylor/No. 3 Creighton|
|East||Fri, March 28||No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Virginia/No. 8 Memphis|
|East||Fri, March 28||No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 6 North Carolina/ No. 3 Iowa State|
|Midwest||Fri, March 28||No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 8 Kentucky|
|Midwest||Fri, March 28||No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 11 Tennessee/No. 14 Mercer|
|Date||Regional Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV|
|Thu, March 27||Regional Semifinal - TBD||7 p.m.||CBS|
|Thu, March 27||Regional Semifinal - TBD||7:15 p.m.||TBS|
|Thu, March 27||Regional Semifinal - TBD||9:30 p.m.||CBS|
|Thu, March 27||Regional Semifinal - TBD||9:55 p.m.||TBS|
|Fri, March 28||Regional Semifinal - TBD||7 p.m.||CBS|
|Fri, March 28||Regional Semifinal - TBD||7:15 p.m.||TBS|
|Fri, March 28||Regional Semifinal - TBD||9:30 p.m.||CBS|
|Fri, March 28||Regional Semifinal - TBD||9:55 p.m.||TBS|
Revised Championship Outlook
I've been predicting Florida to beat Louisville in the championship game. So, my bracket still has that going for it—and very little else. Let us not discuss my failures, however, and instead look at my success.
Both Florida and Louisville remain strong picks.
The Gators were less than dominant while trailing No. 16 seed Albany for long stretches in the second round. The senior-laden Gators closed strong, however, and then beat Florida by 16 in the third round.
Similarly, Louisville is showing sings of gaining momentum. The Cardinals played an entertaining game with No. 13 seed Manhattan in the second round. That was a close game with Louisville pulling away slightly at the end. In the second round, Louisville overwhelmed St. Louis and won by 15.
So, I'm sticking by my predicted championship game, but I'm more open to the possibility of No. 2 seed Michigan knocking out Louisville in the Elite Eight, and you know the Wolverines are eager to avenge their loss to Louisville in last year's championship game.
Michigan has won both its games by at least 14 in this tournament. The Wolverines lack size inside, but they have been draining their shots. Against Texas in the round of 32, the Wolverines nailed 14 three-point shots out of their 28 attempts.
If Michigan can keep shooting like that, they will be nearly impossible to beat. They won't be able to shoot like that against the Cardinals and their fierce defense.
So, my revised championship outlook looks a lot like my original one: Florida will beat Louisville to win it all.