No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Butler
Time/TV: 6:09 p.m., CBS
What to watch: Butler knows something about advancing in the tournament, reaching the title game in 2010 and 2011, and the Bulldogs knocked off Villanova twice this season. Andre Woodson has been lighting it up for Butler, going eight for 14 behind the arc. He’s a graduate transfer from Memphis, returning to his former building. The Tar Heels got a major scare from Arkansas in the second round. Was that a wake-up call or a sign of trouble? Butler will attempt to play at a methodical pace, while North Carolina and ACC player of the year Justin Jackson will look to run.
Prediction: North Carolina 71-69
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA
Time/TV: 8:39 p.m., CBS
What to watch: The Bruins won at Rupp Arena in December in a track meet of a game, 97-92 UCLA’s TJ Leaf was terrific with 17 points and 13 rebounds, one of six Bruins to score in double figures that game. The Wildcats didn’t shoot it well that day, 41.3 percent from the floor and 33.3 on threes, and still ran up a big total. If UCLA freshman guard Lonzo Ball comes up big he could boost his draft stock to the No. 1 overall pick. Opposing him are Kentucky’s freshmen guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox, and add Leaf and Wildcats’ big man Bam Adebayo, and there could be a whole group of first-round picks on the floor.
Prediction: Kentucky 84-80
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 7 South Carolina
Time/TV: 6:29 p.m., TBS
What to watch: Gamecocks coach Frank Martin is familiar with Baylor, having met the Bears during his Big 12 days at Kansas State. Martin will see the usual Coach Scott Drew team, plenty of size with Johnathan Motley and Jo Lual-Acuil. Big man Terry Maston also has come up big in the postseason. Sindarius Thornwell and company have given South Carolina its greatest tournament run, the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance with last week’s victory over Duke. The Gamecocks aren’t a good defensive rebounding team, and there may be opportunity on second shots for Baylor.
Prediction: Baylor 76-65
No. 4 Florida vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Time/TV: 8:59 p.m., TBS
What to watch: Nice little tourney run for Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig, who has made 11 of 23 three-pointers in victories over Virginia Tech and Villanova. But it was Nigel Hayes who got the big bucket in the triumph over the Wildcats. The Gators’ Devin Robinson came up big in the second-round victory over Virginia with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Both programs know the way to the Final Four, with the Badgers getting there in 2014 and 2015. The Gators reached the 2014 Final Four.
Prediction: Wisconsin 62-58