Previews of Friday’s NCAA Sweet 16 games
03/28/2014 10:32 AM
03/28/2014 10:32 AM
No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Michigan, 6:15 p.m. (CBS)
The Volunteers have won three NCAA Tournament games, and they were favored in each. But they’re the underdogs against a Michigan team that won the Big Ten. Jarnell Stokes has come up big for the Vols with a double-double in each game. He’s averaging 20.3 points and 15 rebounds in the tournament. The Wolverines were deadly from beyond the arc against Texas, making 14 of 28. Tennessee is a better defensive team.
No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville, 8:45 p.m. (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium will be rocking with the renewal of this heated rivalry and rematch. Kentucky won in December, 73-66. The Wildcats were at the top of their game on Sunday when they defeated top-seeded Wichita State, and they’ve been playing well for several weeks. A case can be made Kentucky has the most talent of any team remaining in the field. Louisville, the defending national champion, put away Saint Louis in its third-round game and will need guard Russ Smith to play more under control. He has 13 turnovers in two NCAA games.
Louisville 72-68.East Regional
At New York
No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 3 Iowa State, 6:27 p.m. (TBS)
The Huskies and Cyclones get the honor of playing the first NCAA Tournament game in the new Madison Square Garden and the first in New York City since 1961. Shabazz Napier has carried Connecticut in a similar fashion to Kemba Walker in 2011. Napier was a freshman contributor on that title team. Iowa State got past North Carolina in the round of 32 without forward Georges Niang, who is out of the tournament because of a broken foot. The Cyclones will counter Napier with DeAndre Kane, who scored the game-winner against the Tar Heels.
Iowa State 75-71
No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Virginia, 8:57 p.m. (TBS)
The Spartans started the season 18-1 before injuries hit. Virginia is 18-1 in its last 19, capturing the ACC regular-season and tournament titles. It’s the program’s first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1995. The matchup to watch is Michigan State forward Adreian Payne against Virginia’s Akil Mitchell. Payne turned in the performance of the tournament: 41 points including all 17 free throws against Delaware. Mitchell is a hard-nosed defender. Michigan State will look to push, Virginia to control tempo.
•Pick: Michigan State 68-65