NCAA Tournament 2012: Updated Elite 8 Bracket Available After Sweet 16 Play

The NCAA Tournament started with 68 teams and is now down to just eight after two wild days of Sweet 16 play. A win this weekend gives that team the right to play in the Final Four, which will be held in New Orleans next weekend. With just three wins separating these eight teams from a national championship, you can bet we will see some quality basketball in the coming days.

Here is an updated look at the brackets:

SOUTH REGION:

Kentucky Wildcats (1) vs. Baylor Bears (3)

Kentucky has long been pegged as the favorite to take home the national championship. They once again proved their dominance on Friday night, as they put up 102 points while defeating the No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers. Baylor, meanwhile, bested the No. 10 Xavier Musketeers by a final score of 75-70.

Kentucky and Baylor present an intriguing matchup. While Baylor will enter their Elite Eight face-off on Sunday as the heavy underdogs, they have immense ability to grab defensive rebounds and turn those into points. They have proved they belong in the Elite Eight and fully deserve their high seeding.

WEST REGION:

Louisville Cardinals (4) vs. Florida Gators (7)

These two teams were ranked highly in the polls throughout the season and have had a ton of success in the NCAA Tournament in recent years. The Cardinals improved their seeding greatly after winning the Big East Tournament and knocked off Davidson, New Mexico and No. 1 seeded Michigan State to get to the Elite 8.

As for the Gators, they dominated Virginia in the second round before drawing a favorable matchup with Norfolk State. UF knocked off Marquette on Thursday night.

This game will be played on Saturday afternoon, with tipoff coming at 4:30 ET.

The winners of these two games will face off in the Final Four next Saturday.

EAST REGION:

Syracuse Orange (1) vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes (2)

In the game that many believe may end up being an instant-classic, the top-two seeds will square off in Boston for a chance to go to the Final Four. Syracuse was ranked No. 1 in the country for parts of the regular season and have picked their game up after nearly losing to UNC-Ashville in the second round. The Buckeyes stumbled a bit in the back-end of conference play, but they are playing their best basketball of the season, knocking off Loyola, Gonzaga and Cincinnati to get to this point.

MIDWEST REGION:

North Carolina Tar Heels (1) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (2)

UNC and Kansas have appeared to be on a collision course ever since the Midwest Region bracket was first announced. At first glance, the bracket appeared to be the weakest in the tournament, with the Tar Heels and Jayhawks being the only "real" contenders.

As it turned out, both of these powerhouses were nearly defeated by double-digit seeds. UNC needed last-minute heroics to defeat No. 13 Ohio Bobcats on Friday, 73-65, while Kansas' game against the No. 11 N.C. State Wolfpack turned into an immense comedy of errors that the Wolfpack basically threw away in the 60-57 Tar Heels win. Both of these teams will have to perform much, much better in the coming rounds if they hope to claim the national championship.

The winners of these two games will face off in the Final Four next Saturday.

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