The NCAA tournament has filled out half of the Elite Eight field after March 27. However, the eight teams left in the Sweet 16 field are pretty elite themselves. Yet only four of them will get halfway through the NCAA tournament after March 28, following four big Sweet 16 showdowns in the East and Midwest.
The Michigan Wolverines, Tennessee Volunteers, Connecticut Huskies, Iowa State Cyclones, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, Virginia Cavaliers and Michigan State Spartans could all make up a plausible Elite Eight field. Nevertheless, there are only four slots left for these eight teams to fight for.
Many of these teams didn't look sweet or elite at various points this season. The Volunteers, Huskies and Wildcats are all fairly low seeds who finally rounded into form this month, while the Spartans and Cardinals took all season to look like potential champions. The Cyclones have a big new question mark with the loss of Georges Niang, while the Cavaliers still have to prove themselves as a No. 1 seed and the Wolverines could face a national title game rematch with the Cardinals in the Elite Eight.
Nevertheless, this may be the most star studded day of the NCAA tournament to date. The Wildcats and Cardinals alone carry the hype of a Final Four game -- like the one they staged two years ago. The Huskies carry the red hot Shabazz Napier to Madison Square Garden -- the site where Kemba Walker started to carry the 2011 Huskies to glory in the Big East tournament.
Meanwhile, the Volunteers can keep going from the First Four to the Final Four, while the Wolverines look to be the second Big Ten team to make the Elite Eight. The Spartans could be the third, unless the Cavaliers make their first Elite Eight in almost 20 years.
The accompanying list further details the eight teams in action tonight, and how they form an elite slate of games to transition the NCAA tournament from the Sweet 16 to Elite Eight.