The 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament was expected to be one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, and the matchups in each round have created instant classics with plenty of drama.
With two games remaining to cement the final two programs that make the Final Four—Michigan State vs. Connecticut and Kentucky vs. Michigan—Sunday’s Elite Eight action will set the stage for a great next round.
Here is all the updated bracket information every college basketball fan needs and a full schedule for the remainder of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
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|Date||Regional Finals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sun, March 30||Connecticut vs. Michigan State||2:20 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Sun, March 30||Kentucky vs. Michigan||5:05 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||March Madness Live|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
Sunday’s Must-Watch Matchup: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 8 Kentucky
While the battle between the No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines (28-8, 15-3 Big Ten) and the No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats (27-10, 12-6 SEC) isn’t what many predicted, the matchup will be exciting nonetheless.
Who ya got?
The Wolverines are just as hot, though, winning 10 of their last 11 games. Add in victories over Texas and Tennessee in the tourney, and Michigan is a legitimate threat to advance to the Final Four.
Kentucky is an extremely young team that has started freshmen all season. ESPN’s stats department shows just how rare the Wildcats lineup was this season:
Kentucky has started 5 freshman in 15 games this season (went 11-4). Michigan's Fab 5 started 15 games together in 1991-92 and went 12-3.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 29, 2014
The team is also dealing with an ankle injury to defensive leader and tough forward Willie Cauley-Stein, who is currently listed as doubtful for the matchup, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
Kyle Tucker of The Courier Journal talked about the impact the loss will have on Kentucky:
Cauley-Stein had 18 blocks and 9 steals in five postseason games before he got hurt against Louisville. Curious how Cats defend without him.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 30, 2014
As great as the youth and exuberance of John Calipari’s team has been to this point, the inexperience under the bright lights of the Elite Eight will give the Wolverines the edge in this matchup.
Calipari knows how dangerous Michigan will be on Sunday, via John Henry of the Lexington Herald-Leader:
Calipari on Michigan "If you give them threes they're going to make them."— John Clay (@johnclayiv) March 29, 2014
While the Wildcats have the defensive edge even with the injury to Cauley-Stein, the Wolverines are the better offensive unit and can score in bunches. Led by sophomore guard Nik Stauskas’ 17.3-point average, Michigan racked up 75 points per game and finished the season ranked 21st with a field-goal percentage of .481.
Kentucky’s offense is nothing to scoff at after making it this deep in the tournament, but the program has suffered from inconsistency all season. After three consecutive outstanding performances, there is a chance the team struggles to keep its composure once again.
If Michigan can find an offensive rhythm and force the Wildcats to work from behind early, there is no doubt that the Wolverines could pull off the victory,
Regardless of which team eventually wins, this is guaranteed to be an exciting matchup.
Predicted Final Score: Michigan 77, Kentucky 76
*Stats via ESPN.com.