#3 Kansas State vs. #7 Michigan State
Thursday, March 23rd 5:30 PM CT, TBS
3 seed Kansas State (25-9) has already had an incredible season under first-year head coach Jerome Tang. Now they look to build on it with a win that would propel them to the Elite Eight. Standing in their way is 7 seed Michigan State (21-12). The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight behind wins over 14 seed Montana State and 6 seed Kentucky. KState was in a close, physical battle with Kentucky but was ultimately able to clear them behind some incredibly clutch, late-game three pointers. Michigan State made it to this game with wins over 10 seed USC and 2 seed Marquette. I see Kansas State’s physicality, especially on defense, being the deciding factor here as the Wildcats advance to the Elite Eight.
73-67 Kansas State
#2 Texas vs. #3 Xavier
Friday, March 24th 8:45 PM CT, CBS
2 seed Texas (28-8) has also had a nice year so far, especially considering the mid-season turmoil of the firing of Chris Beard over domestic violence charges. The work that interim coach Rodney Terry has done to keep the team together and focused has certainly been impressive. The Longhorns have arrived at the Sweet Sixteen after handling 15 seed Colgate and battling it out with 10 seed Penn State. They now take on 3 seed Xavier (27-9). The Musketeers pulled off a five point win over 14 seed Kennesaw State and then an eleven point victory over Pitt. Xavier plays a little stronger offense than Texas, but UT has a much stronger defense. That, combined with the momentum Texas is carrying after winning the Big 12 tournament and making it this far has me picking Texas to make it to the Elite Eight.