Half of the Sweet 16 is set, and the biggest storyline thus far is the play of the Butler Bulldogs. The Horizon League school is following up a national runner-up season with what looks to be the makings of another deep run. On Saturday, Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and the rest of the Bulldogs grabbed the attention of the college hoops world again, this time knocking off No. 1 seed Pittsburgh.
It was far from conventional for Brad Stevens' bunch, but the fact remains the same — Butler is headed back to the Sweet 16.
Here's a preview of Sunday's slate, the finale of the third round.
No. 2 North Carolina vs. Washington
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina, 12:15 p.m.
One thing to watch: Guard play will be important in this one. Isaiah Thomas is playing well right now, but Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall is having a better year than many expected of the freshman.
No. 1 Ohio State (-11) vs. No. 8 George Mason
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, 5:15 p.m.
One thing to watch: George Mason was as good of a road team as there was this season, but they'll be up against it taking on No. 1 Ohio State — in Cleveland.
No. 3 Syracuse (-4.5) vs. No. 11 Marquette
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, 7:45 p.m.
One thing to watch: Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine insists that he's OK, but he did injure his left wrist in the team's opener, and it will be worth keeping an eye in the meeting of these two Big East rivals.
No. 1 Duke (-11.5) vs. No. 8 Michigan
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2:45 p.m.
One thing to watch: Once again, all eyes will be on freshman Duke guard Kyrie Irving. He played 20 minutes in his first game action since early December in Duke's second-round romp of Hampton.
No. 4 Texas (-5.5) vs. No. 5 Arizona
Bank of Oklahoma Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 6:10 p.m.
One thing to watch: It will be tough not to pay attention to a marquee forward matchup pitting Arizona's Derrick Williams against Texas' freshman forward Tristan Thompson, two players expected to be first-round draft picks when they make the jump to the NBA.
No. 3 Purdue (-9) vs. No. 11 VCU
United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 7:10 p.m.
One thing to watch: A quick start will be key to both, as Purdue and VCU are both coming off of statement wins — the Boilermakers' 22-point win over Saint Peters, and the Rams' blowout upset of No.6 Georgetown.
No. 1 Kansas (-8.5) vs. No. 9 Illinois
Bank of Oklahoma Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 8:40 p.m.
One thing to watch: This will be Kansas coach Bill Self's first game coaching against his former team since taking the Jayhawks job in 2003.
No. 2 Notre Dame (-5.5) vs. No. 10 Florida State
United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 9:40 p.m.
One thing to watch: Florida State will need another strong defensive showing (they've allowed 54.4 points per game in the last three games) if they want to stop a Notre Dame offense that ranked 33rd in the country this season, with 76 points per game.
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