(4) Louisville vs. (7) Michigan State 2:20pm on CBS
Easily the most upside down region, the East ruined everyone's brackets. NC State continued their unpredictable ways by beating #1 seeded Villanova before losing to Louisville, who they beat in Kentucky back in February. Michigan State eliminated both the #2 and #3 seeds in the region to get here, plowing through one of the toughest roads to the Elite Eight. Now Rick Pitino's Cardinals are the last hurdle for Sparty to get back to the Final Four, where they haven't been since the 2009-10 season when they lost to Butler.
The Cardinals have been the higher seed in their last 13 NCAA tournament games, and will be again against Michigan State, but this matchup is dead even, and I mean dead even. KenPom gives each team a 50% chance to win. Neither team plays especially up-tempo so I'm expecting a physical grinder. Louisville is not a strong three-point shooting team and will want to work it in the post. Much like football games being won or lost on the lines, this one will be decided in the paint.
(1) Duke vs. (2) Gonzaga 5:05pm on CBS
After losing to Mercer in last year's tournament, Duke is on an impressive run this year. They were gifted a bogus third foul against Utah's star guard which turned the game in their favor on Friday, but nevertheless won again and now face Gonzaga. The 'Zags, despite being a mid-major, have great size in the post and are top 25 nationally in turnover percentage, so I don't expect Duke's defense to be so fortunate as to create 15 turnovers as they did against Utah. KenPom gives a very slight edge to Duke, but I picked Gonzaga and I'm sticking with it.