A look at the Final 16 matchups

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A look at this week’s NCAA tournament regional semifinals (seeding in parentheses):

EAST REGIONAL

At Newark, N.J.

Thursday

(1) Ohio State vs. (4) Kentucky

Everybody knew about Jared Sullinger inside for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are becoming known for long-range shooting as well. They had 16 3s _ David Lighty had seven _ in the third-round win over George Mason. That came two weeks after they hit 14 straight _ Jon Diebler had seven _ against Wisconsin.

Kentucky freshman guard Brandon Knight hit a game-winner in the closing seconds of his first NCAA tournament game and he followed that up with a a season-best 30 points against West Virginia in the third round. Four freshmen took the Wildcats two rounds farther than this last year and a difficult rookie crop with try to at least match that.

These schools have met five times in the NCAA tournament and the Buckeyes won them all.

(11) Marquette vs. (2) North Carolina

Marquette was the 11th of the record 11 Big East teams in the field and the Golden Eagles are just one of two still playing. The Golden Eagles, one of four double-digit seeds still alive, haven’t been to the round of 16 since Dwyane Wade led them to the Final Four in 2003. Darius Johnson-Odom is 7 of 13 from 3 in the two wins, the second of which was over Big East foe Syracuse.

North Carolina has been a different team since Kendall Marshall took over as starting point guard and he had his best game yet, a school NCAA tournament-record 14 assists, against Washington. Fellow freshman Harrison Barnes, who started right away this season, averaged 23 points in his first two NCAA tournament games as the Tar Heels averaged 94.

The only guarantee about this game is that Coach Williams will walk away the winner and loser.

WEST REGIONAL

At Anaheim, Calif.

Thursday

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