MIDWEST

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Creighton (TBS, 6:40 p.m.): Duke won't reach the Final Four, but Creighton isn't the team to send the Blue Devils packing. The Bluejays lack the quickness to exploit Duke's defensive vulnerabilities, and you can't beat Coach K with a one-man team: He'll find away to contain All-American Doug McDermott and force Creighton's role players to carry the load. They aren't quite up to the task.

Pick: Duke.

WEST

No. 12 Mississippi vs. No. 13 La Salle (TruTV, 4:40 p.m.): La Salle is trying to follow Virginia Commonwealth's path: From the First Four to the Final Four. The Explorers need a big game from guard Ramon Galloway in order to win for the third time in five days. They'd also be wise to limit Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson, who had 19 against Wisconsin in the Rebels' first tournament win in 12 years.

Pick: Mississippi.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Iowa State (CBS, 9:15 a.m.): Both teams were impressive in the second round: Iowa State thumped Notre Dame while Ohio State made quick work of Iona. OSU will attempt to ensnare the high-octane Cyclones in a half-court grinder and limit their 3-point marksmanship. Noted previously but worth repeating: ISU took Kansas to overtime, twice.

Pick: Ohio State.

SOUTH

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 North Carolina (CBS, 2:15 p.m.): The marquee matchup of the third round matches two storied programs and UNC coach Roy Williams against his former team. KU's defense will be the difference, with shot-blocking center Jeff Withey causing all sorts of problems for the small-ball Tar Heels. It should be close and entertaining, but the top seed will survive.

Pick: Kansas.

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 11 Minnesota (TNT, 3:10 p.m.): Two former Rick Pitino assistants, UF's Billy Donovan and UM's Tubby Smith, match wits. Back before it got chewed up regularly by the Big Ten heavyweights, Minnesota was 15-1 and a fixture in the top 25. Florida has gifted big men in Patric Young and Erik Murphy but too often settles for jump shots. If guard Kenny Boynton is judicious, the Gators win.

Pick: Florida.

No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (TBS, 4:10 p.m.): FGC has beaten two No. 2 seeds this season -- it ripped Miami in November -- and is more than capable of picking off San Diego State. (Not bad for a program in its second year playing major college basketball.) But how focused will the Atlantic Sun Conference champions be after their stunning win over Georgetown? And do they have an answer for Aztecs guard Jamaal Franklin?

Pick: San Diego State.

EAST

No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 9 Temple (CBS, 11:45 a.m.): Temple survived the second round despite allowing N.C. State to shoot 55 percent. A repeat performance against Indiana, the most efficient offensive team in the country, and the Owls will lose by 25 points. The Hoosiers, who cruised past James Madison, also have an answer for Temple's high-scoring guard, Khalif Wyatt (20.2 ppg), and his name is Oladipo.

Pick: Indiana.

No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7 Illinois (TNT, 5:40 p.m.): The Illini, who lost four of six before the tournament, dominated Colorado behind 44 points from their backcourt of Brandon Paul, Tracy Abrams and D.J. Richardson. They'll face one of the nation's best guards in Miami's Shane Larkin and a UM juggernaut that has won five games in a row by double digits. That streak ends Sunday, but the Canes survive.

Pick: Miami.

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.