The 2014 NCAA tournament has finally reached the Sweet 16 portion of the schedule, and college basketball fans all across the world are ready for the action to tip off on Thursday and continue through Friday.
With some of the top contenders to win a national title still alive and several Cinderella teams looking to continue their dream run to the Elite Eight and beyond, the fourth round of action will be even more entertaining than the first three.
Here is all the last-second information for the updated bracket, a full schedule for the remainder of the NCAA tournament and predictions for the entire Sweet 16.
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|Date||Regional Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Picks|
|Thu, March 27||(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Stanford|
|Thu, March 27||(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin||7:47 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||Baylor|
|Thu, March 27||(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Florida|
|Thu, March 27||(4) San Diego State vs. (1) Arizona||10:17 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||Arizona|
|Fri, March 28||(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Tennessee|
|Fri, March 28||(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||7:27 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||UConn|
|Fri, March 28||(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Louisville|
|Fri, March 28||(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||9:57 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||Michigan State|
|Date||Regional Finals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Picks|
|Sat, March 29||Regional Final - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Sat, March 29||Regional Final - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Sun, March 30||Regional Final - TBD||2:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Sun, March 30||Regional Final - TBD||4:55 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Picks|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live||N/A|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Picks|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||N/A|
Sweet 16’s Most Underrated Matchup: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 11 Tennessee
While there are more intriguing games in the fourth round (i.e. Louisville vs. Kentucky), there will be none with as much on-court excitement as the battle between No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines (27-8, 15-3 Big Ten) and the No. 11 seed Tennessee Volunteers (24-12, 11-7 SEC).
On paper, this should be an easy matchup for the high-powered offense of Michigan, but Tennessee is playing inspired basketball and is one of the hottest teams remaining in the tournament.
Not only did Tennessee beat the Hawkeyes in overtime to reach the second round, but they also managed to stop Massachusetts and Mercer in the second and third rounds respectively to earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin told Nicole Auerbach of USA Today about his team’s struggles this season and how they pushed through to reach this point:
Luckily for our guys, they stayed the course, didn't get caught up in the negativity and continued to get better not only as basketball players, but as men. That's probably the biggest thing I'm proud of — and their love for each other has really grown as a unit. … They took a lot of lumps, bumps along the way.
There are no magic tricks. We haven't changed anything. There's nothing different. They just completely bought in and understood in order for us to be successful, this is what we have to do — and they're doing it.
As if the stakes could get any higher, ESPN’s college basketball department shared an interesting fact that should add even more fuel to Tennessee’s fire:
If 11-seed Tennessee beats Michigan, then we will have two double-digit seeds in the Elite 8 for the third time since seeding began in 1979.— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 25, 2014
Michigan isn’t going to roll over, though.
While the Wolverines haven’t faced the kind of tests Tennessee has endured—the first two rounds consisted of battles against Wofford and Texas—the program has averaged 75 points per game this season and is one of the most efficient shooting groups in the nation, amassing an impressive .481 field-goal percentage.
Who ya got?
Not only do the Volunteers possess the size and strength to bully any team in the tournament, but the ability to attack the glass and dominate the rebounding category will also give them the second-chance opportunities they thrive on.
Michigan’s road will come to a halt and Tennessee will continue its dream run into the Elite Eight.
Predicted Final Score: Tennessee 76, Michigan 70
*Stats via ESPN.com.