NCAA Tournament 2017: What to watch for Thursday as Sweet 16 begins

Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups entice with a balance between offense-minded squads and defensive forces.

A few days have passed, giving NCAA Tournament fans time to regroup from the bracket-shattering events that happened in Round 2.

Duke and Villanova, the top two teams in the East Region, are out after shocking upsets.

The first round was void of any true upsets, but the second round provided plenty of intrigue. Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups entice with a balance between offense-minded squads and defensive forces.

Here's a look at Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups:

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Michigan (7:09 p.m. ET on CBS)

The Wolverines seem like a magical team right now. After an airplane scare before the Big Ten tournament, Michigan has been draining 3-pointers, playing better defense and hitting shots when they matter most late in games. Seniors Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. are playing as well as they have during their acclaimed careers.

Oregon is down shot-blocker Chris Boucher, but the consistent emergence of Tyler Dorsey and obvious threat of Dillon Brooks will give Michigan trouble. Brooks especially poses apotential matchup problem for the Wolverines as a 6-7 small forward who can shoot from beyond the arc or out-muscle smaller No. 3s in the paint.

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 West Virginia (7:39 p.m. ET on TBS)

The Bulldogs earned their No. 1 seed with a mixture of explosive play by Johnathan Williams and Nigel Williams-Goss. This isn't the best offensive unit Mark Few has ever had, but it might be his most solid defensively. It will be interesting to see how Gonzaga handles the full-court press.

West Virginia excels at making games ugly, but it'sunderratedin the halfcourt. Daxter Miles Jr. and Jevon Carter are good shooters that can light it up from beyond the arc or step in to hit mid-range jumpers. Gonzaga will have a huge advantage in the paint, but the Mountaineers can combat that with pressure.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Purdue (9:39 p.m. ET on CBS)

Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III combine to form the most explosive backcourt in the nation.DevonteGraham should not be forgotten either, for he can knock down shots and guard a team's best shooter. Landen Lucas is Kansas' most important player, because he is the team's most physical presence in the paint andbest rebounder.

The Boilermakers' chances begin and end with Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan. The 6-9 power forward is a double-double threat every time he steps on the court. He has also added a reliable jump shot to his game. Guard Carsen Edwards isthe X-factor for Purdue. He infuses energy in an otherwise sub-par backcourt.

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 11 Xavier (10:09 p.m. ET on TBS)

This may be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Arizona, led by Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier, will be trying to raise the tempo and beat the Musketeers in transition. The Wildcats have a number of athletic wingers, but they can be halted in a zone.

Xavier is trying to continue its rise after struggling to cope with Edmond Sumner's injury. The Musketeers are led by Trevon Bluiett, who has been on fire from the floor lately.J.P. Macura is a fun player to watch. He is a 6-5 combo guard that throws no-look passes and drains 3-pointers well beyond the arc.

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