Unlike the West and South Regions of the NCAA Tournament, where madness was the norm and upsets were prevalent, the major contenders of the East Region all held serve and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
That means that instead of any David vs. Goliath matchups, college hoops fans in Washington, D.C., will be treated to some daunting matchups. Top-seeded Indiana takes on fourth-seeded Syracuse and second-seeded Miami faces third-seeded Marquette.
The first matchup will be Marquette against Miami at 7:15 p.m. EST, as the Golden Eagles try to get things going in the right direction after a pair of nail biters in the first weekend of the tournament. Marquette edged out Davidson 59-58 on a last-second layup, while they squeaked past Butler 74-72 in another tight finish.
In fact, the Golden Eagles haven’t won a game by more than a possession since a March 5th win over Rutgers by a score of 60-54.
Miami cruised past Pacific 78-49 in the opening game of the Hurricanes march through the tournament, and then held off a feisty Illinois team 63-59 to make it through the first weekend. Shane Larkin, the son of baseball star Barry Larkin, who averages more than 14 points and nearly five assists per game, leads the Hurricanes.
The Indiana Hoosiers come into this matchup after holding off impressive scorer Khalif Wyatt and his Temple squad by a score of 58-52. Indiana handled 16th-seeded James Madison 83-62 in its first game. Syracuse blasted Montana 81-34 to open the tournament, then held of 12th-seeded California 66-60.
The Hoosiers have a talented inside-out combination featuring big man Cody Zeller and guard Victor Oladipo. Zeller averages nearly 17 points and eight rebounds per game, while Oladipo is good for nearly 14 points and six boards per contest.
Syracuse is led by four players averaging double figures in scoring: guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche and forwards C.J. Fair and James Southerland. When Southerland and Triche, both somewhat streaky shooters, are firing on all cylinders, the Orange are a tough out.
Don’t miss out on all of the action this weekend, as the winners will also meet and battle for a trip to the Final Four on Saturday. Get your tickets now!