March Madness Day 6 primer: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 schedule, times, channels, predictions


Check out everything you need to know about the first half of the Sweet 16.

March Madness is back with second-weekend action from Indianapolis! After a wild first weekend, the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds are shaping up to include several storylines and memorable moments.

The Pac-12 makes up four of the remaining 16 teams, including No. 12 Oregon State and its Cinderella run. Elsewhere, Loyola Chicago is aiming for a return trip to the Final Four and two more double-digit seeds in No. 11 Syracuse and No. 15 Oral Roberts are also set to tip in a loaded Saturday slate.

Sweet 16: Keys for each team
Ranking the Sweet 16 teams
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No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago (-7)

  • Time: 2:40 p.m. ET
  • Channel: CBS
  • Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Saturday tips off with the unexpected matchup between No. 12 Oregon State and No. 8 Loyola Chicago. What an intriguing battle for a variety of reasons.

The Beavers have a talented senior guard in Ethan Thompson, emerging sharpshooter Jarod Lucas and breakout center Roman Silva. What OSU lacks in flash it makes up for in situational awareness that contributes to winning games, such as hustling for loose balls or sliding to take a charge.

Speaking of fundamentally sound teams, Loyola Chicago might top the list among Sweet 16 teams. Porter Moser instills a system reliant on ball movement, quality looks, and hard-nosed defense on the opposite end. Silva vs. Loyola big Cameron Krutwig could go a long way in determining the winner.

  • Andy Dieckhoff (29-22; 27-24) — SU: Loyola Chicago; ATS: Loyola Chicago
  • Brian Rauf (26-25; 26-25) — SU: Loyola Chicago; ATS: Oregon State
  • Connor Hope (31-20; 26-25) — SU: Loyola Chicago; ATS: Oregon State
  • Eli Boettger (33-18; 22-29) — SU: Loyola Chicago; ATS: Loyola Chicago
  • Lukas Harkins (34-17; 27-24) — SU: Loyola Chicago; ATS: Loyola Chicago

No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 1 Baylor (-7.5)

  • Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
  • Channel: CBS
  • Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Villanova vs. Baylor is Saturday’s only Sweet 16 matchup that anyone could have even remotely predicted in their brackets. The Wildcats have responded in an impressive way after losing guard Collin Gillespie. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl led Villanova in scoring in wins over Winthrop and North Texas and is the primary reason why Jay Wright’s squad has responded from early adversity.

Baylor is looking to keep the momentum going after blowing out Hartford and handling Wisconsin by 13 in the second round. The nation’s top 3-point shooting team could have a big day against a Villanova defense that ranks 238th in opponent 3-point percentage and 294th in 3-point attempt rate.

No. 15 Oral Roberts vs. No. 3 Arkansas (-11.5)

  • Time: 7:25 p.m. ET
  • Channel: TBS
  • Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

The Oral Roberts bandwagon rolls into the second weekend with another SEC foe in Arkansas. ORU’s dynamic duo of Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor will need to have a big day and hopefully receive help from a third option against the Razorbacks’ 10th-ranked defense. Abmas and Obanor combined for 59 against Ohio State and 54 vs. Florida.

Both teams are top 50 in tempo nationally and have capable perimeter scorers. From an entertainment perspective, this could be one of the best overall matchups of the whole weekend. Whether or not ORU has enough defensive intensity could prove to be the difference in continuing the Cinderella run.

  • Andy Dieckhoff (29-22; 27-24) — SU: Arkansas; ATS: Oral Roberts
  • Brian Rauf (26-25; 26-25) — SU: Arkansas; ATS: Arkansas
  • Connor Hope (31-20; 26-25) — SU: Arkansas; ATS: Arkansas
  • Eli Boettger (33-18; 22-29) — SU: Arkansas; ATS: Arkansas
  • Lukas Harkins (34-17; 27-24) — SU: Arkansas; ATS: Arkansas

No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Houston (-6.5)

  • Time: 9:55 p.m. ET
  • Channel: TBS
  • Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

The big question heading into the Syracuse/Houston matchup is how the Cougars will attack the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense. Kelvin Sampson’s UH group has enjoyed a handful of breakout shooting performances but is still especially reliant on second-chance opportunities after misses.

With the way Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard have been shooting the basketball, Houston’s offense will need to step up. The Houston defense is as tough as they come, however, and won’t allow many great looks for Syracuse’s snipers. Keep an eye on Syracuse’s defensive rebounding. The Orange are 340th in the country in defensive rebounding rate and Houston is second in offensive rebounding rate. That’s a recipe for a Syracuse disaster if it doesn’t get on the glass.

  • Andy Dieckhoff (29-22; 27-24) — SU: Houston; ATS: Houston
  • Brian Rauf (26-25; 26-25) — SU: Houston; ATS: Syracuse
  • Connor Hope (31-20; 26-25) — SU: Syracuse; ATS: Syracuse
  • Eli Boettger (33-18; 22-29) — SU: Houston; ATS: Syracuse
  • Lukas Harkins (34-17; 27-24) — SU: Houston; ATS: Syracuse

Header image courtesy of Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images.