The 2014 Final Four will be set in stone come Sunday evening. But for now, the focus remains on the Sweet 16 and Friday's four matchups in New York and Indianapolis.
With Thursday's action setting the stage for another dramatic night of hoops, let's get you ready with everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a single minute.
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|Date||Matchup||Spread||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Fri, March 28||(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||Michigan (-2)||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||Iowa State (-1.5)||7:27 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||Louisville (-4)||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Fri, March 28||(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||Michigan State (-2)||9:57 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
Midwest Region: No. 2 Michigan (-2) vs. No. 11 Tennessee
The surprising Volunteers will take aim at the Elite Eight on Friday night in Indianapolis. Standing in their way, a 2013 Final Four team in second-seeded Michigan.
Unsurprisingly, John Beilein's hot-shooting Wolverines enter as slight favorites to get back to Elite Eight.
But while Michigan is known for its three-point prowess (14-of-28 vs. Texas), it'll be how well the Wolverines fare on the interior that determines whether they march on.
Tennessee is an excellent rebounding team and boasts a physical front line, led by 6'8", 260-pound forward Jarnell Stokes.
Can Stokes and the Vols keep the magical run alive or will the Wolverines move on step closer to their second straight Final Four appearance?
East Region: No. 3 Iowa State (-1.5) vs. No. 7 Connecticut
Arguably one of the hardest matchups to predict on Friday, Iowa State vs. Connecticut at Madison Square Garden is a toss-up.
The Cyclones are without talented big Georges Niang for the rest of the tournament and the Huskies are a defensive-minded team that can't be counted out after manhandling second-seeded Villanova in the third round.
But if you're looking for a difference-maker, look no further than Iowa State's DeAndre Kane, a 6'4" guard who can score from anywhere and give defenses fits.
CBS Sports college hoops reporter Seth Davis explains:
definitely not human RT @zdavenport18: is Deandre Kane human or a bucket getting machine?— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 26, 2014
Kane scored 24 points, including the game-winning bucket against No. 6 North Carolina on Sunday, and leads an explosive team that ranks sixth in the country in scoring.
Can Shabazz Napier and the Huskies keep up with the Cyclones at Madison Square Garden and recapture some old Big East magic, or will Iowa State punch its first ticket to the Elite Eight since 2000?
Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville (-4) vs. No. 8 Kentucky
A rivalry game under the bright lights of the NCAA tournament.
It doesn't get any better than Louisville vs. Kentucky. Needless to say, college basketball fans are the big winners in this matchup as the past two national champions will renew one of the game's great rivalries not far from home.
Not only are bragging rights on the line in Indianapolis, but a spot in the Elite Eight and a chance at a national championship.
Kentucky season ticket holder Bob Baldwin is certainly ready, per the Associated Press' Gary B. Graves via ABC News:
I know one thing, Lucas Oil Stadium is going to have 45,000 to 50,000 people there. Even though it's not set up for the whole gig like it was three to four years ago when they had the national championship there, it's Kentucky and Louisville and it's going to be crazy.
This showdown will also be a matchup of youth vs. experience. Louisville features plenty of veteran leadership with seniors Russ Smith and Luke Hancock leading the way. On the other side, Kentucky is learning at it goes with freshman Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison brothers carrying the load.
It remains to be seen whether talent or experience will win out, but it's guaranteed to be fun to watch.
East Region: No. 4 Michigan State (-2) vs. No. 1 Virginia
If you're a fan of defense, you'll be cheering for the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night in the second East Regional semifinal.
But if you like dynamic offenses and players with NBA potential, odds are you're excited to watch Michigan State. And despite being a No. 4 seed, the Spartans are two-point favorites on Friday.
These days, it seems everyone's on the Spartans bandwagon. Tom Izzo's squad has won five in a row and was a popular pick to win the title before the tournament began. Even President Barack Obama endorsed them in his bracket, per KTVU-TV's Sal Castaneda:
President Obama has Michigan State winning the NCAA tourney/national championship. (He told ESPN).— Sal Castaneda (@sal_castaneda) March 19, 2014
Win or lose, Virginia will without a doubt be Michigan State's toughest test in the East Region. After all, no team in America is allowing fewer points per game than Tony Bennett's ACC champions.
The Cavaliers' lack of firepower has paved the way for doubters, including yours truly, but a win over the Spartans would send a message to the rest of the tournament field that this team is a force to be reckoned with.