Everything you need to know about Thursday’s NCAA tournament Sweet 16 games

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament Sweet 16 begins Thursday just after 7 p.M, ET. By the end of the night, two Elite Eight pairings will be set.

Here is everything you need to know regarding coverage, along with must-watch storylines as we close out the opening weekend of March Madness.

Take a look at the updated bracket.


– This year’s NCAA tournament is just the second to see the top three seeds in every region advance to the Sweet 16.

– Here’s a look at the 10 most valuable players in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

– Who might advance to the Final Four? Here are five bold predictions for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

– Take a look at the national title chances for the Sweet 16 teams — from Gonzaga to Virginia Tech.

– There’s a certain Buzz in Washington.

West Regional

Anaheim, Calif.

No. 4 Florida State (29-7) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (32-3).

Time, TV: 7:09 ET, CBS.

Why Florida State will win: A year ago in the Sweet 16, the Seminoles beat Gonzaga 75-60. That should give them some added confidence heading into this rematch. More important, Florida State has the athleticism to potentially hold Gonzaga’s offense in check.

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Why Gonzaga will win: The Bulldogs have plenty of offensive firepower, leading the nation with 88.6 points a game and also leading the country in field-goal percentage, making 53.2 percent of the shots from the floor. Rui Hachimura leads the way (19.7 points game), and he has plenty of help with three teammates in double figures.

MORE:Gonzaga guard chasing basketball dream his father couldn’t.

No. 3 Texas Tech (28-6) vs. No. 2 Michigan (30-6) West Region.

Time, TV: 9:39 p.M. ET, CBS.

Why Texas Tech will win: Texas Tech leads the country in defensive efficiency (85.5 points per 100 possessions) and is giving up just 59.2 points per game, third fewest in the country. In in victories over Northern Kentucky and Buffalo in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Texas Tech held those teams to 36.9 percent shooting from the floor.

Why Michigan will win: The Wolverines needed a leader, and redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews has filled that role during the first two games of the Tournament. Point guard Zavier Simpson also has asserted himself, especially on the defensive end.

MORE:Michigan State, Michigan in Sweet 16 because of defense.

South Regional


No. 2 Tennessee (31-5) vs. No. 3 Purdue (25-9).

Time, TV: 7:29 p.M., TBS.

Why Tennessee will win: The Vols’ biggest upside is sheer offensive firepower. Five players average more than 10 points a game, led by forward Grant Williams (18.8 ppg) and Admiral Schofield (16.4 ppg). Purdue is comparatively shorthanded and inexperienced with a young bench and just two players averaging double-figure scoring. Foul trouble and turnovers nearly saw Tennessee blow a 25-point lead against Iowa, but Williams and guard Jordan Bone came up clutch to lock down the game in overtime.

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Why Purdue will win: The Boilermakers were already a solid defensive team, and then they turned on the jets offensively to downright dominate Big East champs Villanova thanks to 42 points from guard Carsen Edwards. Tennessee’s collapse against Iowa showed a rare lack of poise and exposed some defensive holes. If Edwards has another big night and Purdue moves the ball efficiently, the Boilermakers are fully capable of taking advantage.

MORE:Purdue’s Eifert made name for himself by following brother’s example.

No. 1 Virginia (31-3) vs. No. 12 Oregon (25-12).

Time, TV: 9:59 p.M. EDT Thursday, TBS.

Why Virginia will win: Virginia is the darling of the metrics gurus, ranked No. 1 in the nation by KenPom.Com and second nationally in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency. The Cavaliers seem to have put last year’s embarrassing first-round loss to UMBC in the past. They put together a solid performance on both ends in Sunday’s 63-51 victory over Oklahoma. Virginia is led by the dynamic backcourt of De’Andre Hunter (ACC Defensive Player of the Year), Kyle Guy (43.9 percent from 3-point range) and Ty Jerome (5.3 assists a game).

Why Oregon will win: Oregon isn’t your typical 12-loss No. 12 seed. Yes, the Pac-12 was down this year, but the Ducks rolled through the conference tournament to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and dominated Wisconsin and UC-Irvine over the weekend. Junior guard Payton Pritchard averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 assists in the two victories, and 6-9 sophomore Kenny Wooten tallied 11 blocked shots. The Ducks are now playing like the team many expected them to when they were ranked No. 16 in the preseason.

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Contributing: Josh Peter, Jason Frakes.

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