Fans greet the Florida Gulf Coast men's basketball team as they make… (William DeShazer / Associated…)
In the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals Friday, top-seeded Louisville will play No. 12 Oregon and No. 2 Duke will play No. 3 Michigan State. In the South Regional semifinals, top-seeded Kansas will play No. 4 Michigan and No. 3 Florida will play No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast.
Writers from around Tribune Co. analyze who they think will emerge victorious and make the Elite Eight. Feel free to leave a comment below with your opinion.
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
The South puts me in a quandary in that I picked still-alive Florida to win the region but will be rooting against the Gators in their semifinal match-up against Florida Gulf Coast. I'm willing to take the bracket hit to see the No. 15 Eagles take another step on their improbable journey. The smart-money though is probably with me and Florida's tremendous size and suffocating defense. My pre-tournament pick of Kansas-Florida final in the South is tracking even though Michigan could give Kansas the upper half of the bracket. Picking No. 13 South Dakota State over No. 4 Michigan was my worst hunch bet of the first weekend. The Wolverines actually looked like a team that could tear down nets after their complete dismantling of a Virginia Commonwealth team coached by Shaka Smart.
I'm sticking with Louisville to win the Midwest, which makes sense since I picked Louisville to win this year's national title. I had Louisville defeating St, Louis, though, not Oregon, and right now the Ducks look scary-good.
I also had Louisville-Duke in the regional final all along, and that's what it will be after Duke dispatches Michigan State in the other regional semifinal.
Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel
Remember all of those boring blowouts last weekend? Make sure you’re watching the NCAA tournament this weekend because the Midwest Regional and South Regional Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will make up for them.
There should be no shortage of drama when the eight teams in these regions meet.
Many of us, with our now torn-up, crumpled or trashed brackets, want to see the lovable “Dunk City” contingent from Fort Myers, Fla., make the 10-hour trek up Interstate 75 for next week’s Final Four. Conventional basketball wisdom, however, tells us that won’t happen.
No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast’s Sweet 16 opponent, No. 3 Florida, is too strong for the Eagles, but not strong enough for the Michigan Wolverines, who will make this a three-Big Ten team Final Four. Indiana and Ohio State also are headed to Atlanta.
In the Midwest, the ACC’s future will be on display when Louisville slips by Duke in an Elite Eight game that will serve as a precursor to a new conference matchup starting next year.