We've finally arrived at the regional semifinal round of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, also affectionately known as the "Sweet 16." After Thursday night's action, we'll be halfway to the "Elite Eight" on the weekend.
First up, we begin with the Midwest region in Cleveland, where No. 3 seed Notre Dame meets seventh seeded Wichita State. It's the second "Sweet 16" in three years for the Shockers, who knocked off No. 2 seed and Sunflower State rival Kansas this past Sunday evening.
As mentioned before, effective guard play is crucial for any success in the NCAA tournament. Both of these teams have good ones – Jerrian Grant and Demetrius Jackson, who average a combined 29 points per game for the Irish and Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker for the Shockers, who average a combined 28 points per contest throughout the season and post-season.
You can watch Notre Dame and Wichita State on CBS, beginning at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.
Wisconsin's All-American senior forward Frank Kaminsky has been a force again this postseason, scoring 27 points vs. Coastal Carolina and 16 points against Oregon, one of four Badgers to score in double figures as Wisconsin advanced to its fourth "Sweet 16" in the last five years.
For North Carolina, this is their first trip back to the "Sweet 16" since 2012 after defeating Harvard and Arkansas. However, the win over the Razorbacks was costly, as center Kennedy Meeks injured his leg and may be a game-time decision for head coach Roy Williams. Marcus Paige leads North Carolina in scoring at 14 points per game.
The Badgers and Tar Heels will tip off at 7:47 p.m. Eastern on TBS.
Switching back to the second Midwest region semifinal, tournament top seed Kentucky takes on No. 8 West Virginia. The top-ranked and undefeated Wildcats had to work for the win in their last NCAA tournament game against Cincinnati. But UK is where it wants to be, with another opportunity to advance towards a perfect season, a national championship, and college basketball immortality.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has been to the "Sweet 16" with both the Mountaineers and Cincinnati - a total of six times. He also has a record of eight wins and two losses when coaching against Kentucky head coach John Calipari. West Virginia is led in scoring by Juwan Staten's 14 points-per-game average.
The No. 1 Wildcats and Mountaineers can be seen on CBS, beginning approximately at 9:45 p.m. Eastern.
The Arizona Wildcats have quietly taken care of business during "March Madness," cruising past both Texas Southern and Ohio State last week. Arizona, back in the "Sweet 16" for the third consecutive year, has four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by freshman forward Stanley Johnson's 14 points per game.
Xavier, an at-large tournament selection and sixth seed, has defeated both Mississippi and Georgia Southern to reach the "Sweet 16" for the fifth time since 2008.
The Musketeers' leading scorer is center Matt Stainbrook, who averages 12 points a game and is in graduate school. However, Stainbrook made a huge assist this season when he gave up his basketball scholarship so his younger brother Tim could be on the team. When he's not studying or playing basketball, Stainbrook, the elder, drives for Uber as a way to help defray some of the cost of his education.
You can watch the Wildcats and Musketeers on TBS, beginning approximately at 10:17 p.m. Eastern.