March Madness 2017: Stats to know when picking Friday night's Sweet 16 games

Lonzo Ball has bars. Who knew?

Four spots are left for the Elite Eight.

YourNCAA Tournament bracketmight be done, but there's plenty of March Madness action left to enjoy, highlighted by one of the most compelling matchups we've seen inKentucky versus UCLA.

To help with your viewing pleasure, here aresomestatslikely to play a significant factor in Friday night's Sweet 16 schedule.

MORE:Sweet 16 point spreads|Championship odds

(4) Florida vs. (8) Wisconsin

Key to the Game

This is an extremely even matchup of two strong defensive teams with serviceable offenses. Oddly enough, both teams shoot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range while holding opponents to 41 percent on field goals. They rebound the ball, turnit over and protect the rim atsimilar rates.With all the resemblances, the difference in this game might come down to proficiency at the stripe. Wisconsin’s ugly 64 percent free-throw shooting is easily the worst of any team left, while Florida has the second-best free-throw rate (FTs per FG attempt) of any remaining team at .294.

Buzzworthy Stat

For a guy who seems to take a lot of criticism, Ethan Happ has been incredibly productive. At 31.5 on the season, Happ has the highest Player Efficiency Ranking of anyone left in the tournament. This ranks eighth in the countrythanks to strong totals in virtually every category, which includes a 58.5 field-goal percentageand averaging well over a steal and a block per game.

MORE: Shame on everyone who overlooked Wisconsin

(2) Kentucky vs. (3) UCLA

Key to the Game

Here’s an idea of how much 3-point defense correlates to winning in college basketball: 10 of the top 12 teams in opponent 3-point percentage this season made the NCAA Tournament and seven of them won at least one game. Kentucky was 11th in Division 1 in that department, allowing opponents to shoot at a 30.5 percent clip. The Wildcats'3-point D will be a major factor against a sharpshooting UCLA crew that ranked sixth nationally at 40.6 percent from long range and leads the nation in scoring (90.2 ppg) and offensive efficiency (121.1 points per 100 possessions).

Buzzworthy Stat

This game featuresthe two fastest-paced teams in this year’s field of 68 by a significant margin. Including the tournament, Kentucky ranks second among all major conference teams this season at 74.6 possessions per 40 minutes, while UCLA ranks third at 74.4. Not to mention these are the two highest-scoring teams remaining,with six players projected as future first-round picks. Strap in.

MORE:Sportings News' top NBA Draft prospects

(3) Baylor vs. (7) South Carolina

Key to the Game

At 102.6 points per 100 possessions, South Carolina’s offensive efficiency is the third-worst of any team in the field of 68 (ahead of only two No. 16 seeds). On the other end, its defensive efficiency (91.5) is the best of any major conference team in 2016-17. Safe to say this will be a low-scoring affair. It may be decided on the glass, where Baylor is the second-best team remaining (56.8 percent of total rebounds grabbed is third nationally) while the Gamecocks are the second-worst (50.6 TRB percentage).

Buzzworthy Stat

Up until this past Sunday, Sindarius Thornwell might have been the least-hyped college star in recent memory, even after winning SEC Player of the Year. At 21.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals, Thornwell is the only major conference player in the past 13 seasons to post at least 20-5-2in each those respective categories. He's even taken it up a notch in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 26.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. This guy’s performance deserves more love.

MORE: Mike DeCourcy's Sweet 16 and Final Four picks

(1) North Carolina vs. (4) Butler

Key to the Game

As always with North Carolina, it starts and ends on the boards, with the Tar Heels leading the nation in both offensive and total rebound percentage. This isn’t the best news for the undersized Bulldogs, who are third-worst among Sweet 16 teams in TRB percentageand whose leading rebounder, Kelan Martin, averages just 5.8 per game. Without a starter taller than 6-8, Butler will have its hands full keeping Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley from dominating the glass.

Buzzworthy Stat

North Carolina has the most Sweet 16 trips of any school, three more than both Duke and Kentucky.This is the Tar Heels’ ninth Sweet 16 in 14 years under Roy Williams, and in seven of the previous eight tripstheyadvanced to the Elite 8. This matches the number of Sweet 16 appearances for Williams at Kansas, which only led to five Elite 8 trips.

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