Syracuse University will serve as host to the East Regional semifinals and final of the 2015 NCAA Tournament this coming weekend. And with the rounds of 64 and 32 behind us, we now know which four teams will be making the trip to Syracuse and the Carrier Dome.
After upsetting the No. 1 seed Villanova Wildcats on Saturday, the No. 8 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack punched their ticket to SU. Prior to beating Villanova, NC State erased a 16-point second half deficit en route to a 66-65 victory over the LSU Tigers in the Round of 64.
The Wolfpack will meet the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals, a fellow ACC member, on Friday at 7:37 p.m. ET. Louisville fought off a scare from No. 13 seed UC Irvine, skating by with a 67-65 win in the Round of 64. The Cardinals then took care of Northern Iowa, 66-53, in the Round of 32.
Both NC State and Louisville faced off against the Syracuse Orange this season. Syracuse managed to upset then 12th-ranked Louisville at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 18. The Orange, who finished 9-9 in ACC play, were later blasted by the Wolfpack, 71-57, in their season finale on March 7.
Oklahoma beat No. 14 seed Albany in the Round of 64. The Sooners were then met by No. 11 seed Dayton in the Round of 32. A season ago, you'll remember, Dayton shocked Syracuse by ending the Orange's season in the Round of 32.
This time, however, the No. 3 seed prevailed. OU trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but a strong defensive effort propelled it to a 72-66 victory.
Oklahoma's Sweet 16 opponent, Michigan State, fended off No. 10 seed Georgia, 70-63, on Friday. The Spartans then upset the No. 2 seed Virginia Cavaliers, 60-54, on Sunday. A Virginia win would've meant a second trip to the Carrier Dome for the Cavaliers during the 2014-15 season (UVA won at Syracuse, 59-47, on March 2). Instead, the Spartans will go to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year and for the seventh time in eight seasons.
Tickets to Friday's regional semifinals and Sunday's regional final are on sale now. Thursday's practices are open to the public and free to attend. Each team will practice for 50 minutes, starting at 12:00 p.m.