CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After a wild opening weekend, March Madness is back with the Sweet 16 Thursday and Friday.
Eight teams will play Thursday night with hopes of punching their ticket to the Elite Eight, including No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Michigan. Meanwhile, all eyes in the Carolinas will be focused on Friday's games when Duke and North Carolina play with the goal of moving to the next round.
Duke meets ACC foe Virginia Tech at 9:30 Friday night. The Hokies defeated the Zion Williamson-less Blue Devils in the regular season and could be the sleeper of the teams left standing. Duke comes into the game on the heels of a thrilling win over Central Florida, where a last-second tip-in rimmed out and gave Mike Krzyzewski's team a one-point victory.
"We always want to win so badly," said Duke freshman Cam Reddish. "We all look forward to taking that shot and being focused, being engaged and being ready."
Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams announced Thursday that starter Ty Outlaw will play against Duke after being charged with marijuana possession last week. Williams said Outlaw passed a drug test and will be in uniform for the Hokies against the No. 1 seed Blue Devils.
North Carolina will play SEC Tournament champion Auburn in Kansas City. The Tar Heels had little trouble with Washington in the second round and are playing like you'd expect a seasoned team to play. North Carolina is led by senior Luke Maye but freshman Coby White has been a steady presence for the Tar Heels this year.
Fans of both schools have already arrived in Washington D.C. and Kansas City and hope to meet up again in the national championship game. It would be the first meeting between Duke and North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.
Both teams will practice Thursday afternoon ahead of Friday's games.