The 2015 NCAA March Madness tournament resumed on Thursday night as eight teams took to the courts to try and make their way through the round of sixteen. The night of action did not feature a close game nor did it feature an upset as the higher seed won each of the four match-ups.
In one of the earlier games from Thursday evening Notre Dame, champions of the Big East, defeated Wichita State. The final score in the contest was 81-70 as the third seeded Irish advanced to the round of eight. With the victory, Notre Dame improved to 32-5 on the year while Wichita State will end the season with a very respectable 30-5 record.
Notre Dame, not really considered a threat to win the NCAA championship this season, appeared to be firing on all cylinders in the late going of their Sweet 16 match-up. They will likely need to continue that rhythm if they are going to advance to the Final Four this season.
Next up for the Irish are the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. The Wildcats also advanced through the Sweet 16 on Thursday as they hammered West Virginia 78-39.
Other action saw Arizona and Wisconsin advance as both teams posted similar spreads to one another. Arizona, second seeded in the West, defeated the Xavier Musketeers 68-60. Wisconsin, considered to be one of the only teams remaining in the tournament that has a chance against Kentucky, advanced with a 79-72 win over North Carolina.
Kentucky and Notre Dame will meet in the midwest final in Cleveland on Saturday, in a game that is scheduled for 8:49pm (ET). Wisconsin and Arizona will meet in the earlier game on the same day as they are scheduled for a 6:09pm (ET) start time.
Of the four schools, Notre Dame is the only one that has not made the Final Four in recent memory. The Fightin’ Irish have not been to the national semifinals since the 1978 tournament when they lost to both Duke and Arkansas at a time in the tournament’s history when a third place game was featured.
Kentucky and Wisconsin both made the Final Four just last season while the Arizona Wildcats have a near-handful of appearances from Lute Olson’s tenure as coach.
The Sweet 16 is scheduled to conclude on Friday night with Duke facing Utah, UCLA facing Gonzaga, Oklahoma facing Michigan State, and NC State facing Louisville. The Final Four will be known by the end of the weekend as the winner’s of Friday match-ups will face on Sunday. The national semifinals will then be played next Saturday with the championship game coming from Indianapolis on April 16th.