The second half of the Sweet 16 takes place Friday night, with a pair of No. 1 seeds in action: Kansas and Ohio State highlight the action, taking on No. 12 Richmond and No. 4 Kentucky, respectively.
In other 2011 NCAA Tournament action, No. 2 seed North Carolina faces No. 11 Marquette at 7:15 p.m. EDT (CBS) and No. 10 seed Florida State battle No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth at 9:47 p.m. EDT.
Of these four match-ups, only two winners are fairly predictable: North Carolina and Kansas.
In the night's first contest, Roy Williams' Tar Heels should be able to take care of business and advance to the Elite Eight, although the Golden Eagles have proven to be bracket busters. Tyler Zeller and John Henson are proven forces in the paint and both Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall can take over any game at any time.
Put two and two together, and you have what The Sports Network predicts will be a Marquette loss.
Marquette was undeniably impressive in the second and third rounds, but a victory over UNC is highly unlikely. The frontcourt of the Heels will be far too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 79, Marquette 66
As for Kansas, it should have its way with Richmond, ending the Spiders' magical tournament run. The Jayhawks have found a good mix in Brady Morningstar and brothers Marcus and Markieef Morris.
The Spiders have also found a solid mix of Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson, but according to The Sports Network, the two aren't good enough to top Kansas.
Richmond has been a pleasant surprise in this year's tourney, but expect the Spiders' luck to run out, as they encounter one of the country's best. The Jayhawks' offense is balanced and efficient enough to overcome the Spiders' strong defensive play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 74, Richmond 65
This is where things get interesting, as Ohio State and Kentucky are both feisty teams. The Buckeyes boast the tandem of Jared Sullinger and William Buford, while the Wildcats have Brandon Knight and Terrance Jones.
Despite the star power in this game, The Sports Network believes that Ohio State is simply too much to handle.
Ohio State actually trailed George Mason by a score of 11-2 early on in the third round before catching fire. It is hard to imagine the Buckeyes losing in this tournament, especially to a team that starts three freshmen.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 86, Kentucky 72
Last but certainly not least, the 'madness' in March Madness will certainly be on display when Florida State takes on VCU. Rarely do you see a No. 10 seed and a No. 11 seed meet in the Sweet 16, but we'll have a chance to see just that on Friday night. The Seminoles boast a solid defender in Chris Singleton and a good shooter in Derwin Kitchen, while the Rams have a solid duo in Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess. Despite the Seminoles' defensive advantage, they will not be able to overcome the run-and-gun Rams, according to The Sports Network.
In this matchup of two surprising teams, it is difficult to tell which is more legitimate. The Rams possess a fast, athletic, well-rounded attack, while the Seminoles possess a stifling defense, guided by significant length and athleticism. They say that defense wins championships, but in this case, give the edge to VCU, as its well-rounded style and disruptive defense should prove too much for Florida State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: VCU 70, Florida State 65
As we've seen in the first few rounds of this tournament, anything can happen, and quite frankly, these previews may mean absolutely nothing. Yet that's the beauty of sports and the magic of the Big Dance.
Friday, March 25
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