The beauty of the NCAA tournament is that there's no room to breathe between games. One matchup ends, then the next begins and so on until the final buzzer sounds late in the night.
Things do slow down a little bit in the Sweet 16 because there are no afternoon games, but once the evening comes, all eyes are glued to the television. This fast-paced action can cause your head to spin, but fortunately we have put together all the information you need to keep up.
Here is a look at the schedule for the Sweet 16, complete with predictions and another glimpse at the 2014 NCAA tournament bracket so you know where winners will be playing next.
All Your Bracket Essentials:
Sweet 16 Schedule and Picks
|Date||Regional Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Prediction|
|Thu, March 27||South—No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 11 Dayton||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Stanford|
|Thu, March 27||West—No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Baylor||7:47 p.m.||TBS||Wisconsin|
|Thu, March 27||South—No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA||9:45 p.m.||CBS||Florida|
|Thu, March 27||West—No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 San Diego State||10:17 p.m.||TBS||Arizona|
|Fri, March 28||Midwest—No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 11 Tennessee||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Tennessee|
|Fri, March 28||East—No. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Connecticut||7:27 p.m.||TBS||Connecticut|
|Fri, March 28||Midwest—No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 8 Kentucky||9:45 p.m.||CBS||Kentucky|
|Fri, March 28||East—No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Michigan State||9:57 p.m.||TBS||Virginia|
Favorites on Upset Alert
No. 2 Michigan (-2) vs. No. 11 Tennessee
Along with Dayton, Tennessee is the lowest remaining seed in the NCAA tournament. But you would never know it to watch the Volunteers play. They needed overtime to defeat Iowa in the opening round, but won their next two games against Massachusetts and Mercer by a combined 39 points.
Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes remains the best kept secret in college basketball, though that is about to change in a spotlight game against Michigan:
Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes had 18 rebounds against Mercer. Mercer's entire team had 19 rebounds. #OneManGangRebounder— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 24, 2014
The Volunteers also present a bad stylistic matchup for Michigan. The Wolverines thrive on the outside with their excellent guard play and shooters like Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III, but they got exposed on the inside against Texas.
The Longhorns grabbed 21 offensive rebounds against a smaller Michigan lineup. Unfortunately Texas' youth shone through in the game, preventing it from cashing in on those extra opportunities.
Tennessee is a veteran-laden team that has gotten better as the spotlight increases. This will be considered an upset by rankings, but anyone who has seen the Volunteers play knows a victory in the Sweet 16 will be well earned.
Prediction: Tennessee 72, Michigan 69
No. 1 Florida (-5.5) vs. No. 4 UCLA
It's difficult to put a finger on how good UCLA really is based on its first two NCAA tournament wins. With all due respect, Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin aren't exactly powerhouse teams ready to win a national title.
Despite the lackluster competition, the Bruins are going to have a chance in every game because they can really shoot the ball. Steve Alford's team averaged 81.8 points per game in the regular season and hit 49 percent of their shots.
Kyle Anderson is one of the most versatile players in the country. He's got the speed, quickness and shooting touch to beat guards, but at 6'9" is a matchup problem for a lot of forwards in the country.
Everyone knows what this matchup will come down to, as Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports noted in his Sweet 16 preview for the South Region:
UCLA will try to push the tempo on the offensive end, hoping to beat Florida down the court and not allow the Gators to set their defense in a half-court setting. The Bruins will have to make perimeter shots, though. Florida rotates and communicates so well in its set defense, filling gaps and helping stop dribble penetration, that UCLA might find it difficult to drive off the bounce. UCLA's ability to spread the floor and make shots could pose a problem, though. Florida hasn't seen an offense this good in a long time.
On top of that, Florida didn't shoot the ball well against Pittsburgh (25-for-58) and has made just 25 percent of its three-point attempts.
Florida deserves to be favored in the game, but its inability to make shots from the outside will be a problem.
Prediction: Florida 70, UCLA 68
No. 4 Michigan State (-1) vs. No. 1 Virginia
The overwhelming consensus before the NCAA tournament started was that Michigan State was going to the Final Four, with no one else in the East Region posing much of a challenge.
It's hard to argue with the rationale. The Spartans have one of the best coaches in college basketball, got healthy late in the season and steamrolled their way through the Big Ten tournament.
As Lindsay Schnell of SI.com noted after Michigan State's win over Harvard, this team is dangerous because it doesn't need its best player to touch the ball to have success:
In the round of 64 and 32, senior forward Adriean Payne went for a career-high 41 against Delaware, then Branden Dawson went for a career-high 26 against Harvard. Can you imagine what it’ll be like if those guys do that on the same night? And this is without stellar play from Keith Appling, who sat for long stretches against Harvard after getting in foul trouble. MSU can do serious damage in the open court, but the Spartans don’t necessarily need Appling running the show, because so many players can handle the ball. This also makes it tough to press them.
Yet no one is giving Virginia the respect it deserves, despite playing a higher-seeded team in the round of 32 than Michigan State did and looking better in victory than the Spartans did.
The Cavaliers led the nation in points allowed and ranked eighth in defensive efficiency. They haven't given up more than 63 points in a game since March 9 against Maryland.
They don't have the names or the coaching Michigan State does, but to sell Virginia short in this game would be to miss what Tony Bennett and his staff have built.
Prediction: Virginia 64, Michigan State 60
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