March 26, 2005 | NCAA Tournament coverage on ESPN.com
The last two invitations to Saint Louis will be handed out on Sunday.
North Carolina survived a scare on Friday night in Syracuse, edging Villanova by one point. Tar Heels fans will be happy to remember that in 1997, their team beat California by six points in the regional semifinal at the Carrier Dome, followed by a blowout over Louisville to make the Final Four.
All four schools playing in Sunday's regional finals have cut down the nets before. Let the fun begin, baby!
Michigan State (5) vs. Kentucky (2) | Austin Regional | Sunday
Tom Izzo and Tubby Smith have their championship rings, but they'd like to add another!
Both of these teams have tremendous depth. Michigan State has more experience and Paul Davis inside could give Randolph Morris some trouble. Look for the Wildcats to give some help in the interior, just like they did against Utah's Andrew Bogut on Friday night.
This game is a rematch of the showdown at Ford Field in December 2003, where a record 78,129 fans were in attendance to see Kentucky score a 79-74 win. Davis had 24 points (14-14 FT and eight rebounds in that game. Chuck Hayes was also impressive, scoring 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while grabbing 12 boards.
Michigan State needs a better showing from Chris Hill. He went 0-for-6 from the floor against Duke. Alan Anderson has shown more confidence (17 points, eight rebounds and several key second-half trifectas vs. Duke).
An interesting match-up features a pair of diaper dandy guards, Drew Neitzel against Rajon Rondo. In that battle, it will come down to minimizing mistakes and making the key pass.
Kentucky's offensive efficiency against Utah was impressive, shooting 62 percent from the field while taking just 39 shots.
Bench play will be a factor here. Joe Crawford scored seven points in 11 minutes to give the Wildcats a spark vs. Utah.
It should be a classic.
North Carolina (1) vs. Wisconsin (6) | Syracuse Regional | Sunday
Rashad McCants scored 15 second-half points against Villanova and he needs to step up again.
Sean May can't afford to get into foul trouble against the physical Badgers. Mike Wilkinson and Alando Tucker will battle, scrap and claw.
One key advantage for the Tar Heels could be Raymond Felton in the backcourt. He struggled from the field against Villanova, but he can feel that Final Four trip coming.
Bo Ryan's team has been outstanding all season, but I feel North Carolina has too many weapons to be stopped here. Roy Williams' team wants to get out in transition and run, run, run, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.