With eight games the next two nights – the best two nights of March Madness in this opinion – here are eight things to love, loathe or learn about the Sweet 16:

1. Sister Jean will get plenty of airtime when Loyola (Chicago) plays Nevada. It’s deserved. The 98-year-old nun and team chaplain was all smiles in Dallas as the Ramblers won twice at the buzzer. The NCAA prefers stories about smiling nuns to ones about FBI wiretaps, so she feels like a nice upgrade.

2. Elijah Thomas, a 6-foot-9 center, got on the floor for eight games as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2015-16. So, like so many others, he transferred. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds in Clemson’s blowout of No. 4 seed Auburn on Sunday. North Carolina Coach Roy Williams can only be shaking his head at the notion of another Aggies’ big man scoring and making plays in the paint. He thought they already had plenty Sunday.

3. The last time the Aggies beat North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, it was in the Super Pit in Denton. It was Shelby Metcalf’s Aggies against Dean Smith’s Tar Heels in 1980, and David Britton’s team beat Mike O’Koren’s team. Alcorn State also advanced out of that site and longtime Golden State Warrior Larry “Mr. Mean” Smith was a star for that team.

I covered those games for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and I remember them like they were, well, 38 years ago. But I do remember them.

4. Kentucky is not the new favorite in the South. People see the Kentucky brand in that weird regional that has only the 5, 7, 9 and 11 seeds remaining, and they assume John Calipari is marching on to San Antonio.

Not so fast.

Yes, the Wildcats caught a break. They can get to a Final Four by beating the 13-12-9 and either 7 or 11 seeds. But don’t forget the Wildcats are a No. 5 seed for a reason. They had the same SEC record (10-8) as Missouri and Arkansas, two teams long gone from this tournament. As always, they have talented freshmen. But they don’t appear as talented as the No. 8 seed that reached the title game in Arlington four years ago with Julius Randle, James Young, Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins.

5. Nevada trailed Texas by 14 and Cincinnati by 22. The Wolfpack won both games, and Coach Eric Musselman dropped “F” bombs on TV after one of them. Quick question: Who remembers Musselman’s time as Golden State head coach (2002-04)? A: Me neither.

Next question: Who has any idea why he finished second in NBA Coach of the Year voting in ’03? The Warriors were 38-44. A: Yeah. Me neither.

6. Chris Beard’s team is this close to going where no Red Raiders have gone before. I know this is silly, but I think it’s fun when a team you’re cheering for plays the last game of a round. It’s like they’ve almost advanced already. When Texas Tech and Purdue tip off at 9:57 p.m. Friday, there will only be 10 teams still alive for the national title – Thursday’s four winners, the two early Friday game winners, and Duke and Syracuse, who are set to go 20 minutes before Tech and Purdue.

It’s not quite the first Elite Eight appearance for Tech. But it’s close. And with Purdue having lost 7-foot-2 senior Isaac Haas with a fractured elbow, the nightmare of dealing with him is gone. I like Tech’s chances.

7. Is it still fair to say Syracuse didn’t deserve to be in the tournament after Jim Boeheim’s team won three games last week, one of them against the Big Ten champs?

Some of you will say that argument is a non-sequitur. Or at least you could tell me that. But I’m going to give the Orange a pass, anyway, and say, hey, three wins are three wins. They are what the bracket says they are. Alive.

8. Should we fear the hot team? Strangely, with four Nos. 1 and 2 seeds still standing, it’s a No. 4 seed (Gonzaga, 16 games) and No. 3 seed (Michigan, 11 games) that own the longest winning streaks. Is Gonzaga’s regular-season schedule suspect? Sure, but after a trip to the title game last year, this team should never be regarded lightly again.

On the other hand, Michigan wouldn’t be in A&M’s way if Kelvin Sampson had put someone in the Michigan inbound passer’s way late Saturday. No, Sampson wasn’t the worst coach last weekend. Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin ran away with that title when he panicked and let his best player foul out with four minutes to go while watching his team blow a 22-point lead.

Yes, Michigan got a little lucky but the Wolverines will surely shoot from long range better than they did against Houston and better than the Tar Heels did against the Aggies. That’s what makes the Sweet 16 great.

A whole new tournament starts Thursday night. And only about half of what we think we have already learned turns out to be true.

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