Somehow, you knew this was coming, right? I'm talking about Wichita State not completing a perfect season as well as another Louisville-Kentucky matchup.
Well, that's how I saw it anyway. The Cardinals and Wildcats are joined in Indianapolis by the Michigan Wolverines and Tennessee Volunteers to complete this Sweet 16 quartet.
Louisville trails only Florida on the current college basketball odds to win it all as a 7/2 selection to successfully defend the 2013 NCAA title. The Cardinals first take on the Wildcats (12/1) Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium after the other half of the bracket, which pits Michigan (15/1) against Tennessee (20/1).
No. 2 Wolverines
Breeze Past Wofford, Texas
Michigan (27-8 straight up, 18-14-1 against the spread) is the top seed remaining in the Midwest Region after defeating the Wofford Terriers and Texas Longhorns in Milwaukee this past weekend. John Beilein's troops reach the Sweet 16 with nine wins in their last 10 games (6-4 ATS), the only slip-up coming to rival Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
The Wolverines were expected to ease past Wofford, and they lived up to those expectations with a 57-40 triumph as 15 point favorites. Michigan was not supposed to have as easy of a time vs. Texas, but did anyway with a 79-65 decision as 5 point chalk. Nik Stauskas led the charge with 17 points as the Wolverines opened an 18-point lead in the first half and never looked back to reach their second consecutive Sweet 16.
No. 4 Cards Eye
Revenge Vs. Kentucky
Rick Pitino and Louisville (31-5 SU, 19-14-1 ATS) didn't receive and No. 1 seed as many thought they should. Perhaps that has motivated the Cardinals to return to the Final Four and repeat as National Champions.
The Cardinals struggled a bit in their opener last Thursday in Orlando, trailing Manhattan in the second half and needing a couple of late treys to finally put the Jaspers away for the 71-64 win as 16 point favorites. Defense helped The Ville Saturday against No. 5 seed Saint Louis, holding the Billikens scoreless in 15 attempts from beyond the arc for a 66-51 decision while laying 10.
Louisville now gets a chance to avenge one of only five losses on the season when the Cards face Kentucky. The Bluegrass rivals met in Lexington just after Christmas, and the Wildcats posted a 73-66 upset as small home 'pups.
No. 8 'Cats End
Kentucky (25-10 SU, 17-17 ATS) did what no team had done this season, beat the No. 1 seed Wichita State Shockers. John Calipari's crew rallied then held serve Sunday to hand the Shockers their only loss of the season, 78-76, never needing the +4.5 Wildcat backers were getting for their 5th-straight winning NCAA basketball odds ticket.
The game went down to the wire and featured more than two dozen lead changes, with the Wildcats scoring the most points in a game on the Shockers this season. Kentucky's 78 Sunday were 22 more than the tourney opener against No. 9 Kansas State on Friday. A 56-49 victory in that win over K-State was just enough to beat a 6-point line.
No. 11 Vols Only
First Four Entry Left
If you had two Southeastern Conference teams making it this far in the bracket, congratulations. Kentucky was a fairly easy SEC pick, but Tennessee (24-12 SU, 19-13-2 ATS) making it this far meant having the Volunteers to get past Iowa in their play-in game, beating 6th-seed UMass plus expecting them to upset Duke...unless you're telling me you had Mercer against the Blue Devils.