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2016 NCAA Tournament Friday Sweet 16 Preview and Predictions


We might as well call the second night of Sweet 16 matchups "ACC Friday" with each game featuring a team out of the conference. It's hard not to find a Sweet 16 pairing not involving the ACC anyways with the success the conference is having. Friday also features the best game of the Sweet 16 with Indiana taking on North Carolina. I know the folks in Philadelphia and Chicago are happy with how everything turned out in the first two rounds.

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NCAA Tournament Friday Sweet 16 Games

Note: All times Eastern, some start times are approximate

No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 1 Virginia

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Chicago (Midwest Region)

Preview: Iowa State has vanquished two mid-majors so far this Tournament, knocking off Iona and Arkansas-Little Rock. There's no doubting whether or not the talent was there with the Cyclones, but it was could they put it together for 40 minutes? So far so good although the challenge becomes much bigger now. Virginia plays really good defense and just won't let Iowa State get into the track meet it prefers. Malcolm Brogdon will be a tough cover for any Cylclone defender, but can another Cavalier provide some scoring? We know London Perrantes can shoot and Anthony Gill is tough inside.

Prediction: Virginia 67-63

No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Notre Dame

TV: 7:27 p.m. ET, TBS

Site: Philadelphia (East Region)

Preview: Two teams that didn't think they'd still be playing meet in Philly in this one. The Fighting Irish needed comebacks to beat both Michigan and Stephen F. Austin while Wisconsin beat up on Pitt and came from behind on Xavier. Whenever March rolls around, it's hard to bet against the Badgers, no matter who is coaching. Greg Gard has done a fantastic job with this team although a lot of credit goes to Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes among others. I think this one is a toss-up.

Prediction: Notre Dame 66-65

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Related: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview and Prediction 

No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Syracuse

TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, CBS

Site: Chicago (Midwest Region)

Preview: For once, Gonzaga wasn't the hunted and it has seemingly fit this role nicely. The Bulldogs’ front court with Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer will be really important in this matchup as they get a look at a true zone defense in Syracuse. The Orange limped into the field, but proved they could flip the switch in shutting down both Dayton and Middle Tennessee. They could be able to do that again, if Trevor Cooney continues to score. He's the big x-factor for the team out of the ACC.

Prediction: Syracuse 67-63

Related: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Syracuse Orange Preview and Prediction

No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 1 North Carolina

TV: 9:57 p.m. ET, TBS

Site: Philadelphia (East Region)

Preview: The Hoosiers arguably played the best of any team in the first round, dismantling Chattanooga, which many (including me) thought could win the game outright. Indiana struggled against Kentucky, but it says a lot that Tom Crean’s team gutted out a win. The big question will be health with several guys banged up entering this one. The other question is will we get a focused effort from North Carolina or all 40 minutes? The best game of the day is the last one. The winner of the Marcus Paige vs. Yogi Ferrell matchup goes on to the Elite Eight.

Prediction: North Carolina 80-75

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

(Top photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati, courtesy of