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Sweet 16 packed with treats, starting with Ohio State-Kentucky


Well that was fun, wasn't it?

I mean, for everybody except Big East commissioner John Marinatto.

BYU star Jimmer Fredette is still dancing, which is good news for everyone ... except the Gators. (Getty Images)  
BYU star Jimmer Fredette is still dancing, which is good news for everyone ... except the Gators. (Getty Images)  
The past four days of the NCAA tournament provided buzzer-beaters and controversial endings, incredible performances and more controversial endings featuring dumb fouls and even dumber calls and non-calls. Consequently, John Adams, the NCAA coordinator of basketball officiating, has become a household name. He's been on CBS more than David Letterman lately. A spot on the 60 Minutes team can't be far behind.

But that's all in the past.

Now it's time to look to the future.

The Field of 68 has been trimmed to 16.

Let's take a look with a Sweet 16 Look Ahead:

My bracket stinks like your bracket stinks: Only 10 of the teams I had in the Sweet 16 actually made the Sweet 16. The most impressive thing about my bracket is that I had Marquette in this position. The most embarrassing thing is that I had Vanderbilt in this position, too. That said, seven of the eight teams I have in the Elite Eight are still alive, including my controversial Final Four pick of Wisconsin. So my bad start could be trumped by a great finish. Or not. Whatever.

The No. 1 seeds remain the favorites: Ohio State (+250), Kansas (+250) and Duke (+250) are still all co-favorites to win the national title, according to The biggest longshots are, predictably, VCU (+10,000), Richmond (+10,000) and Marquette (+10,000).

Three intriguing Sweet 16 games

1. Ohio State vs. Kentucky in Newark

The Buckeyes have long been considered -- and are currently playing like -- the nation's best team, but the Wildcats are a scary opponent because they enter on an eight-game winning streak and with a roster featuring at least two future first-round picks. Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones are talented enough to give UK a chance against anybody when they perform. But will they perform? That's a question that won't be answered until Friday. Either way, heading in I'm more interested in Josh Harrellson and whether he'll call out Jared Sullinger the way Joey Dorsey called out Greg Oden the last time Calipari coached against Ohio State in the NCAA tournament. That was back in 2007 when Calipari was at Memphis. Something tells me Harrelson won't be quite as bold.

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2. Florida vs. BYU in New Orleans

So I was finishing up at Quicken Loans Arena late Sunday when most everybody's favorite play-by-play guy, Gus Johnson, walked by after a long day of calling games -- first Ohio State's win over George Mason, then Marquette's win over Syracuse. I said hello and asked where he's headed next. "New Orleans," Gus said. "Me, too," I told him. Then Gus smiled and said, "We got Jimmer." I knew exactly what he meant, and I feel the same way. Fredette has become the face (and name) of college basketball this season. That he's still playing is great for everybody ... except Gonzaga's Mark Few and, perhaps, Florida's Billy Donovan.

3. Duke vs. Arizona in Anaheim

Arizona's Derrick Williams doesn't have the same kind of supporting cast as fellow First Team All-American Nolan Smith. But Williams blocked a shot at the buzzer to beat Memphis in the Round of 64, then made a shot at the buzzer to beat Texas in the Round of 32, and it's reasonable to start wondering whether the 6-foot-8 forward can carry his team to previously unimaginable places the way Danny Manning did at Kansas in 1988 and Carmelo Anthony did at Syracuse in 2003. No, I'm not ready to go there just yet. But if Williams gets Arizona past Duke, I might.

Four Sweet 16 facts

1. All six BCS-affiliated leagues have at least one school in the Sweet 16. The ACC leads the way with three (Duke, North Carolina, Florida State) followed by the Big Ten (Ohio State, Wisconsin), the SEC (Florida, Kentucky) and the Big East (Connecticut, Marquette) with two each. The Pac-10 (Arizona) and Big 12 (Kansas) both have one representative. The only non-BCS league with more than one Sweet 16 team is the Mountain West (San Diego State, BYU). The Atlantic 10 (Richmond), Colonial Athletic Association (VCU) and Horizon (Butler) each have one.

2. Seven of the schools that made the Sweet 16 won their league tournaments immediately before the start of the NCAA tournament. Five of the other nine made the title game of their league tournaments.

3. Only three of the Sweet 16 games are exactly as they should've been, according to seed. They are No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky in the East Regional, No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 3 Connecticut in the West Regional, and No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU in the Southeast Regional.

4. Nine of the Sweet 16 teams were ranked in the preseason AP poll. They were No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 7 Kansas, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 9 Florida, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 17 Butler, No. 24 BYU and No. 25 San Diego State. Wisconsin, Florida State, Richmond, Connecticut and Arizona all received preseason votes. VCU and Marquette are the only Sweet 16 schools that did not.

Five random notes

1. The Wisconsin-Butler game guarantees that by Friday morning, Bo Ryan will be one win away from his first Final Four or Brad Stevens will be one win away from his second straight Final Four. Wisconsin is a 4-point favorite, if you care.

2. The Florida-BYU game is a rematch of a Round of 64 matchup from last season's NCAA tournament. BYU won that meeting 99-92 in double-overtime. Jimmer Fredette had 37 points.

3. The Ohio State-Kentucky game pits two freshman point guards against each other. rated UK's Brandon Knight third among point guards in the Class of 2010. OSU's Aaron Craft, who had 15 assists in OSU's win over George Mason, was ranked 19th among point guards.

4. The Kansas-Richmond game is the most lopsided in terms of seed differential. The Jayhawks are the 1 seed in the Southwest; the Spiders the 12. If the Jayhawks win, they'll either play a 10 seed (Florida State) or an 11 seed (VCU) in the Elite Eight, meaning Kansas now has the easiest path to the Final Four of all the top seeds.

5. The San Diego State-Connecticut game is the only game featuring a team playing in its home state. SDSU is about 100 miles from Anaheim. So the Aztecs should have a notable homecourt advantage. Still, they are a slight underdog to Connecticut.

Best three college players left in each regional

East: Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Brandon Knight (Kentucky) West: Nolan Smith (Duke), Derrick Williams (Arizona), Kemba Walker (Connecticut) Southwest: Marcus Morris (Kansas), Chris Singleton (Florida State), Jamie Skeen (VCU) Southeast: Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin), Jon Leuer (Wisconsin)

My projected Final Four: Ohio State vs. San Diego State; Kansas vs. Wisconsin

My projected title game: Ohio State vs. Kansas

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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