Can Jim Larranaga lead the Miami Hurricanes to their first Final Four?
No. 1 overall seed Kansas’ bid for a fourth national championship will begin again on Thursday when the Jayhawks take on No. 5 Maryland at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
In the other South Region Sweet 16 matchup No. 3 Miami Hurricanes will play No. 2 Villanova. Here's a quick view of how the South Region stacks up.
No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (27-7) vs. No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (31-5)
7:10 p.m. ET, CBS
No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (27-8) vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (32-4)
9:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Top Five Players
1. Josh Hart, G, Villanova
2. Angel Rodriguez, PG, Miami
3. Wayne Selden Jr., G, Kansas
4. Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland
5. Frank Mason III, G, Kansas
Top Dog — Kansas
Kansas has done nothing to change the perspective that it is the favorites to cut down the nets on April 4 in Houston. The Jayhawks destroyed Connecticut 73-61 and the final score wasn't even that close. The tandem of Wayne Selden Jr. (22 points, 7 rebounds) and Perry Ellis (21, 8) was very effective, while Devonte Graham chipped in 13 points in the win.
Underdog — Maryland
It's weird to call a team that was ranked in the top five in the preseason an underdog, but that's exactly the case. Kansas is a 6.5-point favorite, but Maryland has the talent to pull off the upset. The Terrapins will need to find a way to penetrate against the Jayhawks’ top guards, Selden, Graham and Frank Mason III.
Miami vs. Villanova
Villanova is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. The Wildcats’ reward is playing the Hurricanes, which have one of the quickest backcourts in all of college basketball. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan will be a tough assignment for a Wildcats team that likes to slow the basketball down.
In eight games against ranked teams, Miami is 5-3 with wins over No. 3 Virginia, No. 11 Louisville, No. 16 Utah, No. 20/22 Butler and No. 24/20 Duke. In those games, McClellan has averaged 14.8 points, while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. For the season, Rodriguez is averaging 12.6 points and 4.4 assists per game, with Tonye Jekiri chipping in 7.8 points and leading the way at 8.7 rebounds per contest.
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.