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March Madness’ Thursday schedule: Kentucky, Arizona in action

The NCAA Tournament resumes play on Thursday, with 16 contenders remaining with hopes of glory. March has truly been mad to this point, with schools such as Georgia State and UAB rolling into the next round with wins over heavily favored No. 14 seeds.

With the Sweet 16 upon us, all of the expected titans are present, save for the Villanova Wildcats and Virginia Cavaliers. On Thursday, there are four games slated, with two tipping off in Cleveland, Ohio and Los Angeles, Calif., respectively.

Here is the schedule, with a preview for each contest:

No. 7 Wichita State Shockers vs. No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(7:15 p.m. ET, CBS) : Wichita State -1.5

Wichita State is coming off a tremendous win over the No. 2 seed Kansas Jayhawks. The Shockers are led by a pair of volume scorers in Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, who combined during the regular season for 28.1 points per game. Notre Dame is the best offensive team remaining in the tournament, led by Jerian Grant and Zach Auguste and Pat Connaughton. The Fighting Irish are terrific from 3-point range, shooting 38.9 percent as a team leading into the postseason.

No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers
(7:47 p.m. ET, TBS) : Wisconsin -6

Of all the games on Thursday, this might be the most intriguing. Wisconsin has the best player in the country in forward Frank Kaminsky and boasts a superb defense. The Badgers rolled through the Big 10 on their way to a conference championship before taking care of business in the first weekend of March Madness. North Carolina has been somewhat under the radar in the stacked ACC, but is peaking at the right time. After squeaking past Harvard, the Tar Heels got past Arkansas to create this titanic matchup.

No. 5 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats
(9:45 p.m. ET, CBS) : Kentucky -13.5

Kentucky brings its 36-0 record into the Sweet 16 to face a scrappy West Virginia team. Nobody is giving the Mountaineers much of a chance with their middling offense, but so far West Virginia has been shocking the pundits. Picked by many to lose against the No. 12 seeded Buffalo Bulls, the Mountaineers advanced before hammering the Maryland Terrapins. The question is whether Bob Huggins can figure out a way to limit Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Willie Cauley-Stein inside.

No. 6 Xavier Musketeers vs. No. 2 Arizona Wildcats
(10:17 p.m. ET, TBS) : Arizona -10.5

The final game of the night gives us Arizona head coach Sean Miller against his former school. Miller was a promising young coach with the Musketeers before leaving for the Wildcats in 2009. In his time with Arizona, Miller has twice reached the Elite Eight but never a Final Four. He will have his hands full with Xavier, a prolific scoring team with size inside. The Musketeers are traditionally tough to beat in March, and Chris Mack has them playing quality basketball.

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