The NCAA men’s basketball tournament will make its return to Chicago this weekend, as four of college hoops’ best teams will do battle with a berth in the Final Four on the line.
The Midwest bracket has already seen some big upsets, with No. 2 seed Auburn and No. 3 seed Wisconsin already bounced from the tournament. The No. 5 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes were also eliminated in the first round, setting the stage for a trio of intriguing matchups at the United Center this weekend.
Here is what you need to know about the NCAA tournament as it heads to Chicago.
Sweet 16 Games:
Kansas vs. Providence
Tip-Off – 6:29 p.m. Friday
Betting Lines – Kansas (-7.5), O/U 141.5
The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks coasted through the first round of the tournament with an emphatic win over Texas Southern, but they were challenged in the second round by the Creighton Blue Jays, escaping with a 79-72 victory.
The Providence Friars got all they could handle in the first round from the high-flying South Dakota State Jackrabbits, but they were able to score a 28-point win over the Richmond Spiders in the second round, paving the way for a Sweet 16 matchup with the Jayhawks.
Iowa State vs. Miami (FL)
Tip-Off – 8:59 p.m. Friday
Betting Lines – Miami (-2.5), O/U 133
The Iowa State Cyclones have scored a pair of upset victories to get to Chicago, beating the No. 6 seed LSU Tigers in the first round and the No. 3 seed Wisconsin Badgers in the second round. Both games were tightly contested, with the Cyclones picking up five-point wins in both games.
The Miami Hurricanes squeaked past the USC Trojans in the first round, but they made a huge statement in their second-round game against the No. 2 seed Auburn Tigers, scoring an 18-point blowout victory.
The winners of the two games will take the court on Sunday in the Elite Eight, with a shot at the Final Four on the line.
COVID Policies at the United Center:
Beginning with the NCAA tournament games on Friday, the United Center will no longer require ticketholders to show proof of COVID vaccination or negative tests to enter the building, officials announced this week.
Officials also said that masks will remain optional at the facility.
Tickets to the first session on Friday, which include both games, are still available via Ticketmaster’s resale site, with the cheapest tickets currently listed at $161 apiece.
StubHub’s tickets are more expensive, with seats available for $215 apiece as of Tuesday afternoon.
Tickets for the Midwest Regional final on Sunday are more affordable, with prices currently at $92 apiece on the low-end according to Ticketmaster.