EAST

No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 4 Syracuse (CBS, 1:30 p.m.): The Big East as we have come to know it did not go quietly into the March night in its final season. In an epic Thursday evening, Syracuse and Marquette eliminated the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the East (Indiana and Miami, respectively). The Big East rivals met once during the season, with Marquette winning by three points at home. Unlike Indiana, the Golden Eagles will have a workable plan for attacking Syracuse's zone defense. But the Orange was so good in the Sweet 16 that it's tough to envision a loss to a team with lesser talent. Pick: Syracuse.

WEST

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Wichita State (CBS, 4:05 p.m.): The champion of the nation's best conference faces the runner-up from a mid-major. Except Wichita State isn't playing like a mid-major and should give Ohio State all it can handle. But just as they did against Iowa State and Arizona, the Buckeyes will find a way to survive and advance -- they have more scoring options than Wichita State when the game's on the line. Oh, and don't be surprised if the Shockers' Gregg Marshall is the next coach at UCLA. Pick: Ohio State.

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.



Advertisement