NCAA Basketball Tournament 2019: Sweet 16, Elite 8 Schedule, Odds and Picks

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Virginia guard De'Andre Hunter (12) surveys the defense during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The 2019 men's NCAA basketball tournament returns with the Sweet 16, and the winners will advance to the Elite Eight.

All four No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds remain in this year's edition of March Madness, which has largely gone according to expectations. And that's quite a change from previous seasons.

It hasn't been without drama, though. Top-seeded Duke narrowly escaped its second-round clash with UCF, and a fellow No. 1 seed in Virginia overcame a 14-point deficit in its opening game. While the chalk has prevailed to now, it could change in a dramatic way as the road to the Final Four continues.

But first, in case you need a refresher on the results that shaped the Sweet 16, check out the updated bracket.


Sweet 16 Schedule

Thursday, March 28

West: No. 1 Gonzaga (-7.5) vs. No. 4 Florida State, 7:09 p.m. ET (CBS)

South: No. 2 Tennessee (-2) vs. No. 3 Purdue, 7:29 p.m. ET (TBS)

West: No. 2 Michigan (-2) vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, 9:39 p.m. ET (CBS)

South: No. 1 Virginia (-8.5) vs. No. 12 Oregon, 9:59 p.m. ET (TBS)


Friday, March 29

East: No. 2 Michigan State (-6) vs. No. 3 LSU, 7:09 p.m. ET (CBS)

Midwest: No. 1 North Carolina (-5) vs. No. 5 Auburn, 7:29 p.m. ET (TBS)

East: No. 1 Duke (-7) vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 9:39 p.m. ET (CBS)

Midwest: No. 2 Kentucky (-2.5) vs. No. 3 Houston, 9:59 p.m. ET (TBS)


Elite Eight Schedule

Will Carsen Edwards lead Purdue to the program's first Elite Eight berth since 2000?
Will Carsen Edwards lead Purdue to the program's first Elite Eight berth since 2000?Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Saturday, March 30

Game TBD (South or West Regional), 6 p.m. ET (TBS)

Game TBD (South or West Regional), 8:30 p.m. ET (TBS)


Sunday, March 31

Game TBD (East or Midwest Regional), 2 p.m. ET (CBS)

Game TBD (East or Midwest Regional), 4:55 p.m. ET (CBS)

Tipoff times and TV info via NCAA.com.


Sweet 16 Picks

Thursday's action opens with a tilt between Florida State and Gonzaga, which comes a year after the latter lost to FSU during the Sweet 16 of the 2018 tournament. But revenge will be had, provided the Zags are sturdy in the rebounding department and don't allow a hot perimeter day.

North Carolina has a similar outlook.

Although the Tar Heels have 90-point potential, their biggest weakness is three-point defense. Auburn is built to take advantage of that issue, given its efficiency from deep (37.8 percent, 33rd nationally) and reliance on the shots (49.4 attempt rate, eighth).

While UNC is the pick, the Midwest Regional showdown might be the most exciting game of the Sweet 16. But the most-anticipated contest is likely the ACC battle featuring Duke and Virginia Tech.

During the regular season, Virginia Tech pulled out a 77-72 win. Neither VT leader Justin Robinson nor Duke superstar Zion Williamson played in that matchup, but the result won't change if the Hokies' season-long patterns hold true.

Virginia Tech boasts the nation's eighth-best three-point clip (39.5) and forces the second-most long-range attempts (50.4). Duke, meanwhile, shoots a dreadful 30.7 clip from outside. If VT limits Duke's second-chance opportunities, there's an upset brewing.

Other projected winners in the Sweet 16 include Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Michigan State and Kentucky.