NCAA Tournament

Previewing Friday’s NCAA men’s regional semifinals

SOUTH REGION At Atlanta • No. 3 seed Baylor (29-7) vs. No. 10 Xavier (23-12),

6:15 p.m. CBS

Excellent point guard matchup between Xavier’s Tu Holloway and Baylor’s Pierre Jackson. Both are aggressive players and look for shots. Jackson has more options, starting with Brady Heslip, who threw in nine three pointers against Colorado in the victory to get to the Sweet 16. It’s time for the Bears’ Perry Jones III to show up. He’s scored nine points in the Bears’ two tournament games.

Prediction:

Baylor 77-70

• 

No. 1 Kentucky (34-2) vs. No. 4 Indiana (27-8),

8:45 p.m. (CBS)

It’s taken good offensive teams to defeat the Wildcats this season, and the Hoosiers are one of them. Led by Jordan Hulls (49 percent) and Christian Watford (45 percent), whose buzzer-beater took down the Wildcats, the Hoosiers are the top three-point shooting team left in the tournament. But Kentucky can run and score with anybody, and it seems a different star leads them each time. In the blowout of Iowa State last game it was point guard Marquis Teague with 24 points. Indiana won’t back down, but don’t look for a season sweep of Kentucky.

Prediction:

Kentucky 80-70

MIDWEST REGION At St. Louis

• 

No. 1 seed North Carolina (31-5) vs. No. 13 Ohio University (29-7),

6:47 p.m. TBS

Point guard Kendall Marshall spent the Tar Heels’ shootaround on Thursday talking with television talent, his right wrist in a black bandage to support a fractured wrist. Don’t look for him to play Friday. Will Stilman White, who averages 4.3 minutes per game, get the call? Or would North Carolina 6-4 wingman Justin Watts to the point? Ohio counters with a terrific point guard in D.J. Cooper. He and swing Walter Offutt combined for 40 of the team’s 62 points in the victory over South Florida. For this one, it won’t matter who plays the point for North Carolina.

Prediction:

North Carolina 75-64

• No. 2 Kansas (29-6) vs. North Carolina State (24-12), 9:17 p.m. TBS

All eyes are on Thomas Robinson. Can the Kansas junior recover from the poorest shooting game of the season, a two-for-12 effort against Purdue? North Carolina State brings scoring pressure from every position and is peaking at the moment with NCAA victories over San Diego State and Georgetown. As good as the Hoyas are defensively, they’re not as good as the Jayhawks.

Prediction:
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