Top Dog — Indiana (1)
The Hoosiers are headed to their second straight Sweet 16. But IU has not advanced to the Elite Eight since 2002, when Indiana was an unlikely national runner-up to Maryland. After cruising past James Madison, 83–62, the Hoosiers earned a hard fought victory over Temple, 58–52. Victor Oladipo hit a top-of-the-key three — on a kick-out swing pass from Cody Zeller — with 14 seconds to play to take a four-point lead Indiana would not relinquish, as the Hoosiers capped their come-from-behind win over the Owls on a 10–0 run. Now IU prepares for a Sweet 16 showdown with Syracuse in a rematch of the 1987 national title game.
Underdog – Syracuse (4)
Coach Jim Boeheim is making his 16th trip to the Sweet 16, with his signature 2-3 zone defense leading the charge yet again. The Orange suffocated Montana, 81–34, to get the party started. Syracuse then outlasted California, 66–60, in front of a partisan San Jose crowd, holding the Bears to just 4-of-21 shooting (19.0 percent) from 3-point range. The triumph over Cal marked Boeheim’s 50th career NCAA Tournament win.
Player to Watch – Shane Larkin, Miami (2)
Barry Larkin’s son has been a catalyst for the Canes all season, earning ACC Player of the Year honors along the way. After advancing to the school’s second Sweet 16, Miami will continue to lean on Larkin on the second weekend of the Tournament. In a Sweet 16-clinching 63–59 win over Illinois, Larkin capped a 17-point night with a clutch go-ahead 3-pointer.
“I know everybody on our team — we weren’t ready to go home. We had two close games. We had a lot of those this year. What we went through earlier this year prepared us for this weekend.” — Marquette guard Vander Blue, who scored 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting in a 74–72 victory over Butler and 16 points in a 59–58 win over Davidson.
Sweet 16 Previews: