Ohio State is hot, hot, hot, winners of nine straight including the Big Ten tournament. But if the Cyclones warm up from the perimeter, they can play with anybody. Iowa State did much of its damage inside against Notre Dame, led by Georges Niang, who scored many of his 19 points around the basket.At the Sprint Center
La Salle is the third team in three years of the play-in game to win a round-of-64 game, and coach John Giannini believes that gave his team an edge in beating Kansas State. “There is an advantage to being in rhythm, having played, having worked out some nerves, being comfortable on the court,” he said. The Explorers will try to make Rebels standout guard Marshall Henderson uncomfortable.
The Owls handled a good offensive team in North Carolina State and now get perhaps the best in the nation in Indiana. Temple’s Khalif Wyatt, playing with a sore thumb, finished with 31 points Friday. He figures to be checked by the Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo, perhaps the nation’s top perimeter defender.At Austin, Texas • No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 2 Miami, 7:40 p.m. (TNT)
The Illini won a strange game over Colorado. They shot 13 percent in the second half and surrendered a 21-0 run and still won by eight. Guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson are the keys to Illinois, just as Shane Larkin is to the Hurricanes, who easily took care of Pacific.SOUTH REGION
Twice, the Tar Heels have advanced to the Sweet 16 as an eighth seed and defeated a No. 1 in this round: in 1990 over Oklahoma and 2000 over Stanford. In getting by Western Kentucky, Kansas didn’t make a three-point shot for the first time in a game since 2008.At Austin, Texas • No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Florida, 5:10 p.m. (TNT)
Northwestern State entered the game as the nation’s highest-scoring team but could muster only 47 against Florida, which is having its best defensive season under Billy Donovan. Minnesota also turned in an excellent defensive effort in its 20-point victory over UCLA.At Philadelphia • No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 7 San Diego State, 6:10 p.m. (TBS)
This year’s darling is Florida Gulf Coast, in only its sixth year in Division I, which rocked the tournament by knocking off Georgetown. Now comes San Diego State, a team led by Jamaal Franklin that likes to get up and down the floor. Style alone makes this an entertaining matchup, but everybody wants to see if the Eagles can do it again. Coach Andy Enfield said his text-message congratulations count was up to about 450 by Saturday afternoon.MIDWEST REGION At Philadelphia • No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 2 Duke, 8:40 p.m. (TBS)
The better blue: Jays or Devils. Creighton’s Doug McDermott is one of the game’s top scorers because he’s among the game’s smartest players. His ability to get to the line and knock down free throws is a huge factor in Creighton’s success. McDermott and Gregory Echenique will battle Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly up front.