The second half of the Sweet 16 should be just as exciting, if not more than the first day of play. There are still four coveted spots in the Elite Eight up for grabs and these kids are going to fight tooth and nail to get them.
Those following along with the 2014 NCAA tournament thus far will certainly not want to miss it, and even casual fans who catch a game here and there should consider joining the frenzy for a little while.
Bleacher Report makes it easy to follow along live and track results with its interactive bracket, which updates in real-time and posts the final scores immediately after the game. You can check that out right here and may want to keep it bookmarked for when the contests tip off later this evening.
Keep reading for a complete look at the remaining Sweet 16 schedule, plus info on how to watch all the action, picks for each contests and a closer look at Friday night’s marquee matchup.
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream||Spread||Prediction|
|Fri, March 28||(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||7:15 p.m.||CBS||NCAA.com||Michigan -2.5||Michigan|
|Fri, March 28||(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||7:27 p.m.||TBS||NCAA.com||Iowa State -2||Iowa State|
|Fri, March 28||(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||9:45 p.m.||CBS||NCAA.com||Louisville -4.5||Kentucky|
|Fri, March 28||(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||9:57 p.m.||TBS||NCAA.com||Michigan State -1.5||Michigan State|
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Sweet 16 Game to Watch on Day 2: Kentucky vs. Louisville
The Kentucky Wildcats deserve a lot of credit for becoming the first and only team to beat the Wichita State Shockers during the 2013-14 campaign. They played much better than their No. 8 seed indicates and vanquished the top seed in the Midwest region.
Head coach John Calipari likened the battle to an Elite Eight game and said the winner of that battle deserved a Final Four berth, as per Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: "You all understand this was an Elite Eight game, right? The winner of this should've gone to the Final Four."
Julius Randle, Kentucky's prized recruit and star player, said his team will keep building on the signature victory over the Shockers, as per Parrish:
To see us coming together as a team and getting better each game, and finally get a big win like that, I just enjoyed it. Everybody is happy. We just have to keep building on it.
The Wildcats are now preparing for yet another brutal test against the defending champion Louisville Cardinals, an under-seeded No. 4 squad that could certainly make a run back to the title game.
UK does have a few things going for it heading into this game. One notable advantage on paper is the coaching matchup, as Calipari has dominated his counterpart at Louisville since he arrived on campus in Lexington.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, coach Cal has a 5-1 record against Rick Pitino since the 2009-10 campaign:
Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky in '09-10 season, he's faced Rick Pitino's Louisville team 6 times and won 5 of those games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2014
While Kentucky holds the tournament edge between the coaches, that's a bit misleading in terms of the head-to-head record. Calipari was at the helm for the Final Four victory in 2012, but Pitino gets credit for the other two wins, as noted below by ESPN Stats & Info. His Kentucky squad beat Calipari's UMass Minutemen in the 1992 Sweet 16, and beat them again in the 1996 Final Four.
This will be 4th meeting of John Calipari and Rick Pitino as head coaches in the tournament. Pitino has won 2 of the previous 3— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2014
The Wildcats also have incredible talent all along their roster, although many of the best players are inexperienced freshmen, which could come back to haunt them. However, ESPN's Paul Biancardi claims that Calipari does not get enough credit for his work with these youngsters:
HC John Calipari is very good at and doesn't nearly get enough credit for his game coaching, and the development of his players and team.— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) March 24, 2014
Calipari won't find many arguing against his skills if these kids continue showing that they have rounded into form just in time to make a championship push. He's especially seen progress from his backcourt at this late point in the season.
Which team will win?
Twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison lit it up against the Shockers, dropping in 39 combined points, to guide Kentucky to a victory. They were also the catalyst for a victory over Louisville back in December and will undoubtedly be the key for a UK win on Friday.
If they can continue setting the pace, the sky is the limit for this powerhouse program in the Big Dance. Don’t be surprised if they pull off a second straight upset and waltz into the Elite Eight.