Florida Gulf Coast v San Diego State

This year’s tournament has had a pattern of the second day of a round producing much more entertaining and thrilling basketball than the first day. Given that three of the first four Sweet Sixteen games were decided by 10 points or more on Thursday night, we’re all hoping that Friday continues the trend of Day 2 thrillers.

Here is what’s on tap tonight…

7:15 p.m. – Midwest Region – No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon – Indianapolis, Indiana

Broadcast team: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Tracy Wolfson

What a way to kick off a night of great Sweet Sixteen matchups. Louisville is the top-seeded team overall and has looked every bit the part of a No. 1 in picking apart North Carolina A&T and Colorado State, while No. 12 Oregon has proven that they were by far the most under-seeded team of the tournament. This matchup will feature two of the most impressive players of the tournament thus far, with Cardinals guard Russ Smith going up against Ducks rebounding machine and Iranian-born Arsalan Kazemi.

My Pick: Louisville

7:37 p.m. – South Region – No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Michigan – Arlington, Texas

With Gonzaga and Indiana already eliminated, many are looking at Kansas as the next No. 1 to go and looking at Michigan as the team who can oust them. The Jayhawks barely survived No. 16 Western Kentucky last Friday night and then came out very lethargic for the first half of their matchup with No. 8 North Carolina, while the Wolverines have looked dominant in beating South Dakota State and VCU by a combined 40 points. If the Kansas team that wiped out UNC in the second half on Sunday shows up tonight, they should be fine, but if the lackadaisical Jayhawks team that tried to coast through the first three halves of this tournament shows up, Michigan can win this in a rout.

Broadcast team: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager

My Pick: Kansas

9:45 p.m. – Midwest Region – No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Michigan State – Indianapolis

Broadcast team: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Tracy Wolfson

After the disappointment of losing to a No. 15 seed last year, the Blue Devils haven’t looked nearly as vulnerable in their first two games of the tournament this time around, while Michigan State won their two games by an average of 16.5 points. It’s Duke’s seventh-ranked offence versus Michigan State’s 21st-ranked defence. Mike Krzyzewski versus Tom Izzo. Should be a good one.

My Pick: Duke

10:07 p.m. – South Region – No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast – Arlington

Broadcast team: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager

Florida Gulf Coast is the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, but they haven’t exactly looked like a team that’s in over their heads. With the trio of Sherwood Brown, Bernard Thompson and Brett Comer leading a high octane offence, the Eagles handily beat No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State, scoring 159 points in the process. FGCU has yet to take the court against a defence as stingy as Florida’s, however, (0.839 points allowed per possession) and while it would be awesome to see the Eagles continue their magical run, I picked the Gators to win this tournament behind that defence.

My Pick: Florida