Now that more than half the field has seen their season come to a close in the last two days, "March Madness" begins to whittle the 32 teams remaining down to the "Sweet 16."
The first game of the day has a pair of low seeds in the South region going up against one another. No. 11 seed UCLA, which just slipped past SMU Thursday night, takes on No. 14 seed University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), which shocked third seed Iowa State.
Both teams got terrific play Thursday from their guards. The Bruins saw Bryce Alford score a team-high 27 points against the Mustangs, hitting nine of 11 three point shots. For the Blazers, Robert Brown led the way with 21 points against the Cyclones.
Good guard play and team defense go a long way in determining the national champion. Both UAB and UCLA held Iowa State and SMU to less than 37 percent shooting Thursday. The Bruins and Blazers will tip off at 12:10 p.m. Eastern time Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The game will be televised by CBS.
Midwest No. 1 seed Kentucky looks to advance to the Sweet 16 when they meet eighth seed Cincinnati. The two universities' campuses are separated by just over an hour's drive from one another, from central Kentucky to southwest Ohio. Playing in Louisville will provide an opportunity for both fan bases to be heard.
Despite the close proximity, the Wildcats and Bearcats have not met in the NCAA tournament since 2005, when UK beat Cincinnati. You can watch Kentucky and Cincinnati on CBS, beginning approximately at 2:40 p.m. Eastern.
The high seeds keep coming in the next game Saturday from the West region, as second seed Arizona meets tenth seed Ohio State. Arizona, also nicknamed Wildcats, handily dispatched Texas Southern Thursday as five players scored in double figures.
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, needed overtime to finally subdue mid-major power Virginia Commonwealth (VCU). Reserve guard D'Angelo Russell came off the Ohio State bench to pour in 28 points while the Buckeye defense held the Rams to 38 percent shooting.
Arizona and Ohio State hit the hardwood in Portland, Ore. at 5:15 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
Villanova, the East region's top seed, is in action early Saturday evening in Pittsburgh, as they meet eighth seed North Carolina State. The Villanova Wildcats have four players who average double figures in scoring, led by Darrun Hilliard's nearly 14 points per game.
The N.C. State Wolfpack outlasted LSU Thursday to advance. Anthony Barber led them in scoring with 17 points. The Villanova-N.C. State game can be seen on TBS, beginning at 7:10 p.m. Eastern.
Moving back to the West region, No. 4 seed North Carolina will take on fifth seed Arkansas in Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday evening. Both teams were taken to the wire by Harvard and Wofford, respectively, on Thursday. The Tar Heels and Razorbacks can be seen on TNT, beginning at 8:40 p.m. Eastern.
Finally, there will be a clash of Indiana schools in the Midwest region Saturday night in Pittsburgh. No. 3 seed Notre Dame will meet No. 6 seed Butler for the right to advance to the Sweet 16. According to the Butler sports information department, Butler and Notre Dame will be meeting for the 103rd time overall and for the first time since 2006. Additionally, the two Indiana schools will be meeting for the first time as NCAA Tournament opponents. Butler has won its last six meetings with the Fighting Irish.
You can watch the Fighting Irish take on the Bulldogs on TBS, beginning approximately at 9:40 p.m. Eastern Saturday night.