Kentucky came back to beat defending champ Louisville, and Michigan State upset Virginia Friday night, as the NCAA men’s basketball championship finalized its Elite Eight lineup.
Those teams were joined by Michigan, which held off a second-half comeback by Tennessee, and Connecticut, which took out Iowa State. Four other schools had already advanced after Thursday’s games.
This weekend’s winners will have several days’ rest before playing in the Final Four, which begins next Saturday. On today’s Weekend Edition, NPR’s Tom Goldman predicts this lineup: Florida, Arizona, Michigan State and Kentucky.
Here’s a listing of the games (all times Eastern):
- Florida (No. 1) vs. Dayton (No. 11) in the South final at 6:09 p.m.
- Arizona (No. 1) vs. Wisconsin (No. 2) in the West final at 8:49 p.m.
- Michigan (No. 2) vs. Kentucky (No. 8) in the Midwest final at 5:05 p.m.
- Michigan St. (No. 4) vs. Connecticut (No. 7 ) in the East final at 2:20 p.m.
Update at 2 p.m. ET: Women’s Sweet 16
The NCAA women’s tournament operates one step behind the men’s, in terms of brackets. So while there are only eight men’s teams left, there are still 16 teams in the women’s tourney. We’ll have more about that as the contenders get whittled down.
For now, you can follow the women’s bracket at the NCAA site, or watch the games today and Sunday. Compelling matchups include No. 1 seed UConn vs. No. 12 seed BYU, and neighbor schools South Carolina and North Carolina.
The women’s Elite 8 will play on Monday and Tuesday.
Our original post continues:
The tournament is competing for headlines with another big college sports story this week, as college football players got an early go-ahead to form a union. That led NPR’s Alan Greenblatt to ask the question, “Would March Be Less Mad If Players Were Paid?”
Alan talked to ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas, a former Duke basketball player, about the NCAA’s claim that the game would be irrevocably changed if college athletes were treated as employees.
“It’s another NCAA scare tactic,” Bilas says. “They’re saying it’s going to crumble when they talk about giving the athletes a penny over their expenses, and it’s wrong.”