After Thursday, the original field of 68 teams is shrinking quickly. Eighteen teams have been eliminated from the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Another 16 schools will head home after Friday's tournament action.
Gonzaga (28-6) captured both the West Coast Conference regular season and conference tournament championship. Four Bulldog regulars score in double figures each game, led by Sam Dower's 15 point-per-game average.
Oklahoma State (21-12) finished eighth in the Big 12 Conference regular season race. A quartet of Cowboys have averaged at least 13 points per game. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown tally 17 points each.
The contest is scheduled to tip off at 4:40 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised by TNT.
Friday night, the final two top seeds will be in action. Midwest No. 1 seed Wichita State takes on Cal Poly at 7:10 p.m. EDT in St. Louis on CBS. West No. 1 Arizona will play Coastal Carolina at 9:25 p.m. EDT in San Diego on TBS.
And there are three more contests of note, beginning with North Carolina versus Providence in the East region at 7:20 p.m. EDT on TNT in San Antonio. The sixth-seeded Tar Heels (23-9) have had a roller coaster of a season, with big wins followed by head-scratching losses. North Carolina ended up in a tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season standings. Like many tournament teams, Carolina has several players who average more than 10 points per game scoring. Marcus Paige leads the way with a 17 points-per-game clip.
Providence (23-11) has enjoyed a successful season, culminating in the Big East Conference tournament championship over Creighton last weekend. The Friars, who are making their first NCAA tournament appearance in ten years, are led by Bryce Cotton's 21 points per game.
On Friday at 7:27 p.m. EDT in San Diego on truTV, Virginia Commonwealth takes on Stephen F. Austin in the South region. The fifth-seeded Rams (26-8) finished second in the Atlantic 10 conference standings and reached the finals of the conference tournament. Treveon Graham is VCU's leading scorer at almost 16 points per game.
Stephen F. Austin (31-2) reached the NCAA tourney by winning the Southland Conference regular season and conference tournament championships. The Lumberjacks are currently enjoying the nation's second-longest winning streak at 28 games. They are led in scoring by Desmond Haymon and Jacob Parker, who each average 14 points per game.
One final second-round game Friday night features eighth seed Kentucky and ninth seed Kansas State, both nicknamed Wildcats, in the Midwest region. Just two years ago, Kentucky was celebrating a national championship. Head coach John Calipari is back with a new group of players, led by the Harrison twins Aaron and Andrew. The Wildcats (24-10) reached the SEC tournament championship final, where they fell to Florida.
The other Wildcats, from Manhattan, Kansas, are just one of seven Big 12 teams in this year's NCAA tournament. Kansas State (20-12) is making its fifth straight appearance, the school's longest post-season streak. Freshman Marcus Foster leads K-State in scoring, averaging 15 points per game.
That game will be televised on beginning at approximately 9:40 p.m. Eastern time on CBS.