NCAA Sweet 16: South, Midwest regions feature top-flight teams
There's NCAA royalty: Duke and Kansas. There are NCAA perennials: Florida, Michigan State, and Louisville. Michigan and Oregon have worked hard to get here. And then there's Cinderella, otherwise known as Florida Gulf Coast University, taking part in Friday night's Sweet 16 action.
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In the Midwest, top seed Louisville will face Oregon, seeded a debatable 12th this year. After reaching the 2012 Final Four, the Cardinals are looking to go back-to-back for the first time since they did it in 1982 and 1983. They easily dispatched North Carolina A&T in their first tournament game, then ran past Colorado State to reach the Sweet 16.
The Cardinals are paced by guard Russ Smith, whose continual drives to the basket put tremendous pressure on the other team's defense.
The Ducks, coming off an impressive win in the Pac-12 conference championship game, downed both Oklahoma State and Saint Louis to punch their ticket to Indy. Third year head coach Dana Altman, who previously had taken Creighton to the NCAA tournament, has his team playing at a high level.
Also in the Midwest Friday night, second seed Duke takes on third seed Michigan State. This game could be considered an old-school match-up, as both teams have veteran lineups and coaches with extensive NCAA tourney experience.
Kansas is still alive as the top seed in the South region. The Jayhawks will meet fourth seed Michigan in Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas. KU had to scrap its way to a win over Western Kentucky in the second round. Then, they had to overcome a poor first-half shooting performance against North Carolina before finally pulling away from the Tar Heels.