EAST REGION

No. 2 North Carolina (28-7) vs. No. 11 Marquette (22-14)

WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.

WHEN: 7:15 p.m.

TELEVISION: Channel 13

KEY STAT: UNC outrebounds opponents by 6.5 per game and ranks 12th nationally in offensive rebounds at 14.1 per game.

THE BUZZ: Marquette has controlled tempo in its two NCAA wins, and that will be vital against North Carolina. The Heels want to run and get the point total into at least the high 70s. But Marquette doesn’t have the firepower to hang with UNC, though the Heels’ sometimes-lax approach on defense should help the Golden Eagles.

KEY INDIVIDUAL: Jimmy Butler is Marquette’s best player, and he has to show it against the Tar Heels. He leads Marquette in points, and is second in rebounds and steals, and fourth in assists.

No. 1 Ohio State (34-2) vs. No. 4 Kentucky (27-8)

WHERE: Prudential Center

WHEN: 9:45 p.m.

TELEVISION: Channel 13

KEY STAT: Ohio State shoots 49.2 percent from the field, second in the nation.

THE BUZZ: Ohio State absolutely eviscerated a solid George Mason team to reach the Sweet 16. The Buckeyes have perhaps the nation’s best low-post presence in freshman C Jared Sullinger, and a dead-eye outside shooter in senior G Jon Diebler (he has hit 50 percent of his 220 3-point attempts). Kentucky doesn’t want to play more than six guys. UK has to get big games from big men Terrence Jones and, especially, Josh Harrellson.

KEY INDIVIDUAL: Harrellson has been a huge surprise this season and leads the SEC in rebounding; he has been incredibly effective on the offensive boards.

 

SOUTHWEST REGION

No. 1 Kansas (34-2)

vs. No. 12 Richmond (29-7)

WHERE: Alamodome, San Antonio

WHEN: 7:27 p.m.

TELEVISION: TBS

KEY STAT: Kansas outrebounds opponents by 7.9 per game, and Richmond is outrebounded by 1.9 per game.

THE BUZZ: Richmond’s lack of bulk is going to hurt against a talented and physical Kansas frontcourt. Spiders F Justin Harper was the Atlantic 10 player of the year, but while he averages 6.9 rebounds per game, he’s more effective outside the paint on offense.

KEY INDIVIDUALS: Reserve Darrius Garrett likely will see more minutes than usual for Richmond. He lacks bulk (6-9/210), but he’s a gifted shot-blocker.

No. 10 Florida State (23-10)

vs. No. 11 VCU (26-11)

WHERE: Alamodome, San Antonio

WHEN: 9:57 p.m.

TELEVISION: TBS

KEY STAT: FSU leads the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.0 percent from the field.

THE BUZZ: Virginia Commonwealth has shut down a frontcourt-oriented team (USC), a backcourt-oriented team (Georgetown) and a solid all-around offensive team (Purdue) in getting here. But FSU is more than VCU’s match defensively.

KEY INDIVIDUAL: VCU senior F Jamie Skeen is the Rams’ only low-post threat on offense. Skeen has 41 points and 16 rebounds in the three tourney games.

 

— Mike Huguenin, Rivals.com