March Madness resumed after a brief pause with a bevy of thrilling action on Day 1 of the Sweet 16, which in turn has partially set the table for what is sure to be an Elite Eight to remember.
The best part of the Sweet 16, other than the obvious—such as Dayton continuing its miracle run—is the fact the spectacle is split into two days so that fans can digest all of the action.
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The Day 2 schedule will surely live up to the hype despite the bar being set so high. Historic programs such as Michigan State and Louisville are set to jump back into the fray in order to sort out the rest of the Elite Eight schedule.
Sweet 16 Day 2 Schedule
|No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Michigan||Friday, March 27||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Michigan|
|No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 3 Iowa State||Friday, March 27||7:27 p.m.||TBS||Iowa State|
|No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville||Friday, March 27||9:45 p.m.||CBS||Louisville|
|No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Virginia||Friday, March 27||9:57 p.m.||TBS||Michigan State|
Sweet 16 Day 2 Predictions
No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 3 Iowa State
Iowa State loves to get out and run, but may be on borrowed time at this point. This is especially the case after the Cyclones barely slipped past North Carolina in an 85-83 round of 32 victory. The absence of Georges Niang was critical in the close call.
Then again, the same can be said for Connecticut, as the Huskies are seemingly just happy to be dancing and headed back to Madison Square Garden in New York. After all, this experienced crop of Huskies was banned from postseason play last year for academic reasons, but coach Kevin Ollie has his team on a mission with that in mind, as captured by ESPN's Kieran Darcy:
I told the guys, this came full circle. I know we came down here and played in the 2K Classic and won that Classic. But to come down here this time, and our guys not able to play in the last Big East tournament that was here last year, it’s all full circle.
Which team wins?
This matchup is tailored for those who love great point guard play. Iowa State is led by senior DeAndre Kane, who averages 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. For UConn, it's senior Shabazz Napier, owner of 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
In a strength vs. strength matchup led by seniors, bet on the team that can get shots to fall with more consistency to win. It'd be easier to pick the Cyclones if Niang were down low, but either way, a top-10 offense is hard to argue against.
Prediction: Iowa State 83, UConn 73
No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville
What a rematch.
Kentucky has grown up before the nation's eyes after taking down No. 1 Wichita State, and now a historic rematch has been set:
Kentucky-Louisville will be 4th time in NCAA Tourn history that the previous 2 nat'l champs will play each other in a NCAA Tourn game.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 25, 2014
One could take that historic approach to this matchup, which is not pretty for Louisville supporters:
Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky in 2009-10, he’s faced Rick Pitino’s Louisville team six times, winning five.— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 24, 2014
Which team wins?
"This is a different deal. All records -- their record, our record against each other, their conference -- none of it matters in this game. This is a one-game shot."
Indeed. Louisville may have dropped that regular-season matchup, but the Cardinals have been on a tear as of late and have the advantage of taking on a Wildcats team that is emotionally drained after such a close affair with the Shockers.
Kentucky will once again have no answer for Russ Smith, and the Cardinals will not shoot less than 40 percent from the field as they did on the road in the loss to the Wildcats earlier this year.
Prediction: Louisville 70, Kentucky 67