The 2014 NCAA tournament is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, and the first three rounds of college basketball action have exceeded the lofty expectations placed upon March Madness.
With several top seeds still alive in the tourney and a few Cinderella teams fighting to keep their dream runs going, the potential for drama as the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight approach this weekend has grown exponentially.
Here is the updated bracket information, a full schedule for the remainder of the 2014 tournament and all the television and live stream coverage so fans don’t miss a second of the action.
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|Date||Regional Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Thu, March 27||(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Thu, March 27||(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin||7:47 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Thu, March 27||(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Thu, March 27||(4) San Diego State vs. (1) Arizona||10:17 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||7:27 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||9:57 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Date||Regional Finals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat, March 29||Regional Final - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Sat, March 29||Regional Final - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Sun, March 30||Regional Final - TBD||2:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Sun, March 30||Regional Final - TBD||4:55 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
Can’t-Miss Sweet 16 Matchup: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Michigan State
While this weekend will be full of exciting college basketball action, the must-see matchup of the Sweet 16 is the battle between No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers (30-6, 16-2 ACC) and the No. 4 seed Michigan State Spartans (28-8, 12-6 Big Ten).
Virginia comes into the Sweet 16 regarded as one of the stingiest defensive units in the entire nation, but a matchup against a Michigan State team that plays elite defense and can score in bunches will be the toughest test of the season.
This will undoubtedly be a bitter on-court battle, and Fox Sports Detroit’s Gregory Kelser is expecting it to get chippy on Friday night:
The Cavaliers are arguably the best defensive team in the nation and have shut down some of the toughest offenses in college basketball on their way to an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
Who ya got?
Virginia ranked 294th in the NCAA this season with an average of 65.8 points per game.
Even if the Cavaliers have a great defensive effort, Michigan State averaged 76.2 points per game this year, almost 10 points more per matchup. The Spartans will get their points and contend for the win, but the program isn’t taking Virginia lightly.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo told Gillian Van Stratt of MLive.com about why the Cavaliers were a No. 1 seed coming into the tournament:
Why are they a No. 1 seed? Because of the way they defend and rebound the ball. This is one of the best defensive teams in the whole country, if not the best. And they are big. They're a very big, physical, strong team; people say they look like a Big Ten team. This is a bump and grind team.
The Spartans will be looking to test the physicality of Virginia from the opening tip. With both teams taking pride in their ability to rebound effectively, the battles on the glass will be fierce and could result in some extra-physical play.
This game has all the earmarks of an instant classic.
Virginia vs. Michigan State in MSG is going to be fun. Please don't assign some whistle happy officials, NCAA. Let the boys battle— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) March 24, 2014
Once Michigan State showcases how aggressive it can be and the Virginia team is back on its heels, the Spartans must begin attacking the rim and taking smart shots from the field. With a stellar .474 field-goal percentage, Izzo’s bunch will take the early lead and never relinquish it.
The Cavaliers are a great team, but coming from behind is not where they thrive. If Michigan State can strike early and grab the lead, the program will never look back.
Predicted Final Score: Michigan State 76, Virginia 70
*Stats via ESPN.com.