Sweet 16 set to hit the hardcourt Thursday night

The field for this NCAA tournament has been whittled down from 68 to 16. By Sunday evening we'll be down to the Final Four.

How do we get there? Well, we start with four games Thursday night and four more Friday night, before the regional finals this weekend.

The Sweet 16 action tips off with four regional semifinals Thursday night. At the Verizon Center in Washington, DC No. 2 seed Miami, dual champs in the ACC this season, takes on No. 3 seed Marquette (7:15 pm ET, CBS), after which No. 1 seed Indiana battles No. 4 seed Syracuse (9:45 pm ET, CBS).

And out at Staples Center in Los Angeles No. 2 seed Ohio State goes against No. 6 seed Arizona (7:45 pm ET, TBS), after which Cinderellas meet as No. 9 seed Wichita State plays No. 13 seed LaSalle (10:15 pm ET, TBS).

As of Thursday morning most books were listing the Hurricanes as five-point favorites over the Warriors; the Hoosiers were favored by five points over the Orange; the Buckeyes, shooting for back-to-back Final Four berths, were favored by four points over the Wildcats; and the Shockers were favored by four points over the Explorers.

Looking ahead to Friday's play, in Indianapolis No. 1 seed Louisville, playing less than two hours from home, takes on No. 12 seed Oregon, playing 2,000 miles from home (7:15 pm ET, CBS). And in a battle of college basketball titans No. 2 seed Duke battles No. 3 seed Michigan State (9:45 pm ET, CBS).

Also Friday down at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington No. 1 seed Kansas goes against No. 4 seed Michigan (7:35 pm ET, TBS), after which No. 3 seed Florida tries to avoid getting upset by the first 15 seed to ever make it to the regional semis, Florida Gulf Coast (9:55 pm ET, TBS).

As of Thursday morning the Cardinals, trying to make a return trip to the Final Four, were favored by 10 points over the Pac-12 champion Ducks; the Blue Devils were favored by two points over the Spartans; the Jayhawks, last year's national runner-ups, were favored by two points over the Wolverines; and the Gators were favored by 13 points over the Eagles.

Earlier this week on the NCAA tournament futures market Louisville was getting 3/1 to win the national championship, followed by Indiana at 5/1; Florida at 6/1; Ohio State at 8/1; Miami at 9/1; Duke and Kansas both at 10/1; Michigan at 12/1; Michigan State at 15/1; Arizona at 20/1; Syracuse at 25/1; Marquette, Oregon and Wichita State all at 40/1; and LaSalle and FGC both at 70/1.

 


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