Argue all you want about whether or not the NCAA Selection Committee got things right, but it clearly had some potential matchups in mind when seeding teams. One of those had to have been Louisville and Kentucky, and although an upset was needed for it to come to fruition, here we are.
That upset, of course, was the eighth-seeded Wildcats taking down the previously undefeated Wichita State Shockers. After performing below its talent level for much of the season, Kentucky played arguably its best game of the year to stun Wichita State. The Wildcats got major contributions from a bunch of their freshmen, including Julius Randle, James Young and both Harrison twins.
By advancing to the Sweet 16, Kentucky will face off against one of its biggest rivals, the fourth-seeded Cardinals, who many pegged as a Final Four team when the brackets came out. Louisville has struggled at times in its two games thus far, but it remains one of the more dangerous teams in the tournament.
Not only is the actual matchup between Kentucky and Louisville fascinating, but the game will be in Indianapolis, not too far from the campuses of both schools. So it should be quite the crowd.
The final game of the night should also be a doozy, as the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers will take on the fourth-seeded Michigan State Spartans at Madison Square Garden. The Cavaliers were regarded by many as the weakest of the No. 1 seeds, but they looked awfully tough in their third-round game, destroying the eighth-seeded Memphis Tigers by 18 points.
The Spartans, who have come on strong at the end of the year, did have some trouble with the No. 12 Harvard Crimson in the third round, but they prevailed thanks in large part to Branden Dawson. The junior forward notched a career-high 26 points to lead Michigan State to its 12th Sweet 16 in 17 years.
The two earlier games might not be quite as compelling as the later two, but they should be good nonetheless. The night tips off with Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas and the second-seeded Michigan Wolverines facing off against the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers in Indianapolis. While the game looks like a mismatch based on the seeds, the Vols have won their last two games by a combined 39 points.
And finally, there's the third-seeded Iowa State Cyclones against the seventh-seeded Connecticut Huskies in New York. The Cyclones advanced to the Sweet 16 on the back of a DeAndre Kane game-winning layup to beat the sixth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. The Huskies upset the second-seeded Villanova Wildcats behind 25 points from Shabazz Napier.
Here's the full schedule for Friday (all times ET):
Tennessee Volunteers (11) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2), 7:15 p.m., CBS
Connecticut Huskies (7) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (3), 7:27 p.m., TBS
Michigan State Spartans (4) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (1) 9:57 p.m., TBS