There's only two more weekends of college basketball remaining. That's one of the sadder sentences you'll ever read.
Although our beloved Kansas Jayhawks fell to the painfully underseeded Wichita State Shockers in the round of 32, there is plenty of good basketball worth watching in the Sweet Sixteen. Trips to the Elite Eight are on the line in the Midwest and West regions.
Thursday's action gets underway as the Shockers take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 6:15pm CT. This contest will feature some of the best guard play in the country as Wichita State's Fred Van Vleet, Ron Baker, and Tekele Cotton square off against Notre Dame's Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson. The Irish will hope to ride their third ranked offense to victory over one of the country's better defensive squads.
An hour-and-a-half later, the North Carolina Tar Heels will tip-off against the Wisconsin Badgers in Los Angeles. North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks is coming off a sprained left knee injury, but coach Roy Williams is hopeful he'll be able to play on Thursday. The Tar Heels will need Meeks healthy because he will likely be tasked with guarding Badgers' big man Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky is one of the keys to Wisconsin's offensive production because his 3-point shooting gives the Badgers the ability to spread the floor and put pressure on the opposing defense.
The later games kick off at 8:45pm when the Kentucky Wildcats take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Wildcats are nearly 15-point favorites, but don't expect West Virginia to go quietly. Head coach Bob Huggins has morphed his squad into the cleverly nicknamed "Press Virginia" team that will pressure Kentucky for the full 40 minutes with an aggressive fullcourt defense. The physicality of the Mountaineers' press will provide a unique challenge to a Kentucky team that hasn't experienced that type of defense this season. Could an upset be in the cards? Huggins holds an 8-2 lifetime record against Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
The final game of the night features the Xavier Musketeers and the Arizona Wildcats. This one doesn't lack storylines as Arizona's head coach Sean Miller takes on his former team. Chris Mack, once Miller's assistant, will lead the Musketeers on Thursday night. The Wildcats' stifling defense could prove to be the difference if big man Kaleb Tarczewski can work to contain Xavier's Matt Stainbrook.
Here's the full schedule for Thursday's games:
If you'd need a refresher on the action so far, you can always check out the full bracket over here.
How To Watch
Thursday's games will air on CBS and TBS. They will also be live streamed on the NCAA March Madness Live website or you can head on over to their mobile page and download their app for your smart phone or tablet.