Four teams already know that they’ll be competing in the Elite Eight this weekend, but the Sweet 16 is only half over. The second and final day of the round should bring us plenty more of the action, intrigue and upsets that March Madness is founded upon.
With four games on tap this Friday night, there should be no shortage of college hoops action for fans to enjoy. Even if your bracket is completely busted, it is still fun to follow along and make some picks for what teams will advance.
Let’s take a look at an updated bracket, plus highlight when and where you can catch all the remaining Sweet 16 games, check out my predictions on the outcome of each and more.
|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
This has been the matchup most fans have had circled since the first weekend of the 2014 NCAA tournament ended, and it is finally upon us.
While No. 8-seeded Kentucky is a sizeable underdog compared to in-state rival and No. 4 seed Louisville, history says that the Wildcats have what it takes to navigate past the Cardinals on a neutral floor at this time of year.
ESPN Stats & Info noted that since UK head coach John Calipari arrived on campus for the 2009-10 campaign, the ‘Cats have won five of six total matchups with the Cards.
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
Kentucky has the tournament edge, but Rick Pitino has won two of the last three. That is because Pitino's Kentucky squad topped Calipari's UMass Minutemen in the 1992 Sweet 16, then again the 1996 Final Four. Kentucky's latest win came with Calipari at the helm, in the 2012 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 bad blood will continue on Friday, with defending champ Louisville going up against the 2012 national title winners for the right to move on to the Elite Eight.
Kentucky already cut its teeth against a top opponent in the Big Dance, eliminating the No. 1-seeded Wichita State Shockers in a third-round battle that coach Cal likened to an Elite Eight game in terms of talent and intensity.
As per Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Calipari spoke with reporters about that after the narrow, 78-76 win: "You all understand this was an Elite Eight game, right? The winner of this should've gone to the Final Four.
Unfortunately for UK fans, the team still has to navigate past UL before it can even begin dreaming of an improbable Final Four berth coming out of the tough Midwest region.
It’s going to be up to the Harrison twins to notch a victory in this for the Wildcats, as they have been playing transcendent basketball during this tournament and finally showing what they are capable of.
The duo combined for 39 points in the win over Wichita State and paced Kentucky to a victory against Louisville back in December. Their ability to handle the ball and beat the Cardinals’ vaunted press is going to be the difference between an Elite Eight run and early exit for UK in this tournament.
Fred VanVleet, the Shockers’ star guard and best player, had nothing but praise for the duo after his favored side lost this past Sunday, as per Bleacher Report’s Jason King:
I wish I could’ve done more to prevent it, but they’re phenomenal players. If those guys keep playing that well, they’re going to be cutting down some nets in a few weeks.
Which team will win?
While the twins haven’t been the most consistent players during the 2013-14 campaign, they have the talent to float Kentucky to a title and may do exactly that if they can just get the team past Louisville.
Tune in to CBS at 9:45 p.m. ET to see what happens in this much-anticipated Sweet 16 battle.