NCAA Tournament: Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups

It’s the nature of the NCAA tournament beast. Of the 11 Big East Conference teams that made the tournament field, two remain (Connecticut and Marquette). That’s the same number of Mountain West Conference teams still competing in the round of 16 (BYU and San Diego State). The field has already lost a No. 1 seed (Pittsburgh), and sees four teams from the bottom half of the seeding still breathing (No. 12 Richmond, two No. 11 seeds: Virginia Commonwealth and Marquette, and No. 10 Florida State).

Oh, and Butler’s back. Here’s our rundown of Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups.

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Jack Dempsey/AP
Richmond fans hold up signs for the Sweet 16 after Richmond defeated Morehead State 65-48 in a Southwest regional third round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Denver.

1. West Region (at Anaheim, Thursday, 7:15 p.m. ET): (3) Connecticut vs. (2) San Diego State

Jim Young/Reuters
University of Connecticut's Kemba Walker (L) celebrates a basket against University of Cincinnati's Rashad Bishop during the second half of their third round NCAA basketball game in Washington, March 19, 2011.

UConn beat: (14) Bucknell, 81-52; (6) Cincinnati 69-58
SDSU beat: (15) Northern Colorado, 68-50; (7) Temple, 71-64
Winner plays: winner of (5) Arizona vs. (1) Duke

UConn junior guard Kemba Walker terrorized Bucknell in all kinds of statistical categories - he went off for a double-double (18 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds). Then, Saturday night, he lit up Cincinnati with 33 points. Fouling him is not a good strategy either - he’s made all 20 of his attempts from the line.

SDSU’s ability to spread the ball around has been essential in the early going. The Aztecs had four players scoring in double figures in both the second and third rounds. Senior forward Billy White had a double-double in each of the first two games, and with one more against Temple, sophomore Kawhi Leonard would’ve had the same.

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