NCAA game previews

Jon Wilner's picks for Sunday's Elite Eight matchups:

EAST

No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 7 Connecticut (11:20 a.m., CBS): UConn is an unlikely participant in the Elite Eight, rallying in the final seconds to force overtime in the round of 64 and ultimately beating No. 10 St. Joe's. That set the stage for victories over No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Iowa State. Point guard Shabazz Napier orchestrates the offense and got needed help Friday from forward DeAndre Daniels (27 pts, 10 rebs). The Spartans survived a scare against No. 1 seed Virginia for their sixth consecutive win. Most impressively, they're on the brink of yet another Final Four even though leading scorer Gary Harris is averaging just 11.3 points in the NCAAs. Both the Spartans and Huskies are capable of scoring 80, but this should be taut and low-scoring. First team to 65 wins.

Pick: Michigan State.

MIDWEST

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 8 Kentucky (2:05 p.m., CBS): Here comes Big Blue. The Wildcats, who are as young as they are talented, have come of age in the past four games (a stretch that includes the SEC tournament final against Florida.) With NBA draft picks at every position, they have ousted Wichita State and Louisville with lockdown defense, clutch shooting and deft floor leadership by freshman point guard Andrew Harrison. Michigan is one of the most skilled offensive teams in the country with guards Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert and forward Glenn Robinson III. But the Wolverines are not particularly big or physical up front -- center Mitch McGary is recovering from back surgery -- and that should be their undoing against the powerful Wildcats.

Pick: Kentucky.



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