Thursday provided a few upsets, but for the most part the favorites survived and moved on. Wake Forest came from behind to beat FSU and advance to play NC State, whom they beat last Saturday. Miami also came from behind to beat favored (but lower seeded) Clemson. Virginia completed a three game sweep versus their rival, Virginia Tech. Maryland was in the process of blowing out Georgia Tech in the nightcap and barring a miracle will advance to play Boston College (any maybe lock up an NCAA bid).
In the SEC, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt all advanced. Vandy did struggle a little bit versus Auburn and has a huge game versus LSU hoping to make an impression on the Tournament Selection Committee. Arkansas was beating Georgia convincingly in the second half. The winner will play Florida Friday.
Friday Record: 5-3
E5 South Carolina vs E1 Tennessee 1:00 JP
Bruce Pearl's club struggled down the stretch, but as long as they are shooting well they should be able to cruise past the Gamecocks; the Nashville home crowd will also help.
E3 Kentucky vs W2 Alabama 3:15 JP
Crimson Tide have a chance to beat Kentucky three times in a season. Kentucky looked awful last Saturday vs Florida, but played much better Thursday. Alabama will be more rested and matches up well with Kentucky.
E4 Vanderbilt vs W1 LSU 7:30 JP
LSU has been overlooked much of the season, but should be regarded as an elite team (14-2 in the SEC). Vandy has been playing very well as of late, but I think they will come up just short in this one.
W3 Arkansas vs E2 Florida 9:45 JP
This one should be the best of the day. Florida has a big advantage by having rested since last weekend.
#1 Duke vs #8 Miami 12:00 ESPN2
Duke lose 3 in a row? Won't happen. I expect the Devils to come out firing and get some early rest for their stars.
#4 NC State vs #12 Wake Forest 2:30 ESPN2
These two teams met last weekend with Wake Forest winning by double-digits at home. State will have Cam Bennerman back and be fully rested. I like State in this game, but Wake may be just now pulling it together (heck of a time), so I won't be shocked to see the Deacs pull an upset. Prediction: NC State
#2 North Carolina vs #7 Virginia 7:00 ESPN2
Two teams split the season series, but right now Carolina is playing about as good as anyone in the country.
#3 Boston College vs #6 Maryland 9:30 ESPN2
The Terps are starting to click at the right time. A win over BC should get the into the Tournament. BC has won 11 of its last 13. This game will go down to the wire and I like Maryland in a close one.
5. NC State