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Sunday's NCAA tournament games

A look at the eight regional games the complete the third round of play.

March 19, 2011|Wire reports
  • Washington guard Isaiah Thomas reacts to a play during the Huskies' 68-65 victory over Georgia on Friday night.
Washington guard Isaiah Thomas reacts to a play during the Huskies'… (Andrew Synowiez / US Presswire )

East Regional

No. 2 North Carolina (27-7) vs. No. 7 Washington (24-10), 9:15 a.m., Charlotte, N.C., Channel 2: Expect a frenetic, up-tempo game. Washington needs its big men, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N'Diaye, to be physical and make some plays on defense. North Carolina has played defense in fits and starts of late, and that can't happen against the Huskies.

No. 1 Ohio State (33-2) vs. No. 8 George Mason (27-6), 2:15 p.m., Cleveland, Channel 2: If George Mason is hot from beyond the arc, this will be an interesting game. The Patriots are going to have trouble with Jared Sullinger, but they have a chance to make things difficult for the Buckeyes' perimeter players. The Patriots are athletic and have relatively good size on the perimeter. One issue for them could be foul trouble; they have only six players who average more than 10 minutes. The Patriots have to have forward Mike Morrison avoid foul trouble; he's the only true big man who gets minutes.

No. 3 Syracuse (27-7) vs. No. 11 Marquette (21-14), 4:45 p.m., Cleveland, TruTV: This is one of two all-Big East third-rounders (UConn played Cincinnati on Saturday). Marquette won the lone regular-season meeting, by eight at home on Jan. 29. While Syracuse's defense generally has been excellent this season, the Orange has had a couple of defensive stinkers. One came in the loss to Marquette, when the Golden Eagles shot 52.3% overall and 46.2% on three-point attempts. (Syracuse lost despite shooting 57.1% that day.)

West Regional

No. 1 Duke (31-4) vs. No. 8 Michigan (21-13), 11:45 a.m., Charlotte, N.C., Channel 2: Kyrie Irving's return is big for Duke. He's the most talented player on the roster, and if he shows he's at or close to 100%, Michigan is in trouble. The Wolverines are small up front, which means Duke's Kyle Singler and the Plumlee twins should have a lot of success in the paint.

No. 4 Texas (28-7) vs. No. 5 Arizona (28-7), 3 p.m., Tulsa, Okla., TNT: While Arizona enjoys a decided advantage from the line, the Wildcats often are spotty on defense and Texas must take advantage. Arizona forward Derrick Williams is a big-time presence in the paint, and the Wildcats have been effective hitting three-point shots when opposing defenses sag on Williams. But while Arizona hits 39.6% of its shots from beyond the arc, Texas has held opponents to 28.8% three-point shooting.

Southwest Regional

No. 3 Purdue (26-7) vs. No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth (25-11), 4 p.m., Chicago, TBS: VCU's defense has been excellent in the tourney. In a play-in game, the Rams shut down frontcourt-oriented USC; in the second round, they shut down backcourt-oriented Georgetown. Purdue, though, has a big-time scorer in the frontcourt (JaJuan Johnson) and in the backcourt (E'Twaun Moore). Johnson should be able to take advantage of VCU's lack of size and could have a huge game on the boards. But Purdue doesn't have anyone else of note in its frontcourt.

No. 1 Kansas (33-2) vs. No. 9 Illinois (20-13), 5:30 p.m., Tulsa, Okla., TNT: Illinois played one of its best games in hammering Nevada Las Vegas in the first round; the final score was not indicative of how much the Illini dominated. The Illini have the athleticism and experience to hang with Kansas, but Illinois hasn't always played with intensity this season. A huge key is Illini point guard Demetri McCamey; he has to have a good all-around game as a scorer, passer and defender if Illinois is going to have a shot at the upset. Kansas' Morris twins generally are far more physical than Illinois big men Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis, and that bears watching.

No. 2 Notre Dame (27-6) vs. No. 10 Florida State (22-10), 6:30 p.m., Chicago, TBS: While FSU plays lockdown defense, the Seminoles have lost 10 times and that's because they aren't that good on offense. While Notre Dame gets noticed because of its offense, the Irish have played solid defense all season and their foes shoot just 40.7% from the field. That means the onus is on FSU's defenders, especially on the perimeter.

—All times PDT; capsules from

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