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Kentucky forward Julius Randle celebrates with cheerleaders after a Third Round NCAA Tournament game between Wichita State and Kentucky on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. (AP Photo/ St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)
March Madness: Lots of favorites in Sweet 16
First Published Mar 24 2014 09:08 am • Last Updated Mar 25 2014 04:17 pm

The Billion Dollar Dream has been over for a while. Most bracket sheets are loaded with red X’s. Still, there is plenty of March Madness ahead of us in the NCAA tournament’s round of 16.

You want favorites? Three No. 1s — Florida, Arizona, Virginia — are alive and well after two rounds.

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You want underdogs? How about three with double-digit seedings — Stanford, a 10, with 11s Dayton and Tennessee.

You want a rivalry? It’s tough to beat Kentucky-Louisville.

You want rematches? Besides Kentucky-Louisville there is Arizona-San Diego State.

You get the point. Four days, 12 games. It’s regional weekend when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four. Enjoy.

SOUTH REGIONAL, Memphis, Tenn., Thursday-Saturday.

The game that guarantees a winner with a double-digit seeding, Stanford vs. Dayton, will be followed by the overall top seed, Florida, facing a familiar tournament opponent in UCLA.

Stanford gets to wear home whites after beating New Mexico and Kansas. The Cardinal are in the round of 16 for the first time since 2008, the last time they were in the tournament. They haven’t given up more than 57 points and they have been great at the free throw line.

Dayton followed the win over Ohio State with a squeaker over Syracuse and the Flyers are in the round of 16 for the first time since 1984. They got here with two wins by a total of three points and they have yet to break 60, but they have done just enough. Coach Archie Miller couldn’t meet his brother Sean and Arizona until the national semifinals.


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Florida has lived up to its billing as the overall No. 1 seed. The Gators have increased their winning streak to 28 games with a couple of double-figure victories. This is their fourth straight year in the round of 16, the longest current streak.

UCLA won both its games by 17 points and the Bruins have won five straight and seven of eight, including an upset of Arizona. This is their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008.

Florida beat UCLA in the national championship game in 2006 and in the national semifinals the following season. The Gators also eliminated the Bruins in the second round in 2011.

WEST REGIONAL, Anaheim, Calif., Thursday-Saturday.

This is the closest any of the regions came to having seeds 1-4 advance. Top-seeded Arizona, No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 San Diego State are still playing along with seventh-seeded Baylor.

Arizona was impressive on defense in dispatching Gonzaga in the third round and the Wildcats are in the round of 16 for the third time in four years.

San Diego State finally showed its defensive prowess in a third-round win over North Dakota State, which had a season-low 44 points.

These teams met in San Diego on Nov. 14 and Arizona won 69-60 behind the 23 points of Nick Johnson. The Wildcats were ranked No. 6 at the time and four weeks later were No. 1, a spot they held for eight weeks.

Wisconsin is going from facing one set of highlighter yellow uniforms to another. The Badgers beat Oregon to get to the Sweet 16 after missing to get there last season. Frank Kaminsky, who had 19 points against Oregon, will be in for quite a test against Baylor’s tall, athletic front line.

The Bears come in off a 30-point demolition of Creighton in which they held Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer, to 15 points. They won’t be able to concentrate on one of the Badgers, who have six players averaging from 13.4 points to 7.9 points.

EAST REGIONAL, New York, Friday-Sunday.

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