With Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin and Notre Dame advancing on Thursday night, there are only four slots remaining to complete the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
The East and South regions are slated to take the court tonight with mainstay Duke, underrated Gonzaga and Rick Pitino's Cardinals being the main attractions while a match-up between Oklahoma and Michigan State should be the game of the night.
And don't forget about Bryce Alford, Tony Parker and 11 seeded UCLA, who weren't even supposed to be selected into the Big Dance.
How/Where to watch
7:15 pm ET CBS #2 Gonzaga vs. #11 UCLA (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson)
7:37 pm ET TBS #4 Louisville vs. #8 North Carolina State (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)
Approx. 9:45 pm ET CBS #1 Duke vs. #5 Utah (Nantz, Raftery, HIll, Wolfson)
Approx. 10:07 pm ET TBS #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State (Lundquist, Spanarkel, LaForce)
#2 Gonzaga vs. #11 UCLA South Region
This is the best team that Mark Few has ever had at Gonzaga as they have an experienced backcourt, one of the biggest frontcourts in the country and Kyle Wiltjer's ability to create mismatches on the offensive end is key. Although they haven't played many great teams this season (besides a loss to Arizona), this team knows how it feels to lose early in the tournament. They will certainly be hungry to make the Elite Eight for the first time since the Bulldogs made it back in 1999.
The 11 seeded Bruins barley defeated SMU in the second round on a controversial goaltending call and received a gift as they faced 14 seeded UAB in the Round of 32 but they have the size to match-up against Gonzaga. Tony Parker (28 points and 12 rebounds) was great finishing inside against UAB and Kevon Looney is a future lottery pick.
This could all come down to who gets the better of the Looney-Wiltjer match-up. Looney is long and athletic and he may be too much for the Kentucky transfer, Wiltjer, to handle down low. Bryce Alford against Kevin Pangos should also be nothing short of special.
#4 Louisville vs. #8 North Carolina State East Region
Back on February 14th, the Wolfpack went into KFC Yum! Arena and knocked off the Cardinals by nine. Anthony 'Cat' Barber scored 21 points and was able to break Louisville's vaunted press with ease even though point guard Chris Jones was still on Rick Pitino's roster.
It could be a completely different game this time though. Not only has one of the best coaches in the game had five days to prepare for the Sweet 16 but Louisville is playing some outstanding basketball. Terry Rozier did everything possible to dominate Northern Iowa, freshman Quentin Snider has stepped up in the absence of Jones on the biggest stage and Wayne Blackshear has finally emerged as another impressive scoring option that the Cardinals have been looking for all season long.
Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner make up one of the best back courts in the entire country for the Wolfpack and they are going to have to be on their game once again if they are going to pull another upset in this Big Dance.
#1 Duke vs. #5 Utah South Region
What is Utah going to do with Jahlil Okafor? Jakob Poeltl is fantastic on offense in the pick-and-roll and has great hands but he doesn't have the strength to stop Okafor's offensive attack.
That's why it's up to Utah's best player, Delon Wright, to take over the game. Wright, like Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, is lethal off the bounce and even though he is not a good shooter, his ability to finish around the rim is special. The Blue Devils struggle mightily on the defensive end (Okafor is anything but a rim protector) and stopping Wright's pick-and-roll game with Poeltl won't be easy.
Tyus Jones, Duke's point guard, always seems to play better in the biggest games and Justice Winslow has been an molded into an excellent stretch four that has been the best defender on this team so the Blue Devils don't just have Okafor.
#3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State East Region
This is the best match-up of the entire Sweet 16 as both of these teams were sleepers to reach the Final Four before the tournament. Now it seems like the winner of this match-up has the upper-hand when it comes to advancing to Indy.
The Spartans and Sooners both like to make plays in transition but Oklahoma is the better defensive teams with both their guards, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins, showing their strengths against both Dayton and Albany.
The two X-factors in this game will be Branden Dawson for the Spartans and TaShawn Thomas for the Sooners. When Dawson is on his game he is a factor both on the glass and on the defensive end because of his long reach. Thomas is an excellent low post scorer and he needs to be a factor especially since the Sooners are not all that deep.