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68 teams begin March Madness on both the men’s and women’s brackets. But now, it’s down to just 16 on each side.

The finish line has come into sight for the prospective champions, with just four more wins separating themselves from college basketball royalty.

The Sweet 16 round in the 2024 March Madness offers mouthwatering match-ups for fans in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, as teams begin to pick up steam.

Here’s everything you need to know as the action tips off.

While plenty of shock results occurred in the early going, the men’s tournament has largely gone how you might have expected, with many of the higher seeds progressing through the first two rounds unscathed – though no perfect brackets remain on the men’s side.

All eight teams seeded 1 and 2 advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time since the NCAA tournament began seeding in 1979.

However, the action has remained gripping, with those highest seeds having to navigate tricky encounters to earn their wins.

And like previous rounds, those higher seeded team’s will have to play their best to avoid an upset victory.

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 5 San Diego State

All eyes will be on how the No. 1 UConn Huskies navigate their Sweet 16 clash with the No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs as the overwhelming favorites to claim this year’s national championship title.

The reigning champions have looked ominous through their opening two games, winning by margins of 39 and 30 and not trailing for a second in either clash. They have lost only once since December 20 and now have won eight consecutive NCAA tournament games by double digits going back to last year’s tournament.

“We have a big picture that we want to get to and we have to take it one step at a time,” UConn guard Tristen Newton said after the team’s second round victory over Northwestern. “Getting to the Sweet 16 is another step to our main goal, and it feels good.”

Now, the burden falls upon San Diego State to come up with solutions to stop the Huskies. It is a rematch of last year’s national championship game and the Aztecs will be out for revenge this time around.

No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 5 Gonzaga

A fascinating storyline is the final dance of Purdue big-man Zach Edey.

The 7-foot-4-inch Canadian is arguably the most dominant player in men’s college basketball this year, helping lead his Boilermakers to a No. 1 seed as he leads men’s Division I in points per game.

Last year’s National Player of the Year has continued his excellent regular season form – averaging 24.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game – into March Madness, putting up 30 points and 21 rebounds in the first round against Grambling State and getting a double-double just 15 minutes into the game against Utah State in the second round.

However, Edey – who has already announced he will leave the Boilermakers at the end of this season and declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft – has never made it to the Final Four during his stellar collegiate career, something he’s looking to amend this season.

“There’s no satisfaction,” the 21-year-old said on Sunday after his team’s second round victory. “Like I didn’t come back to make the Sweet 16. I came back to make a run, a deep run. Nobody is satisfied with where we are now. Everybody wants to keep pushing.”

Edey fights for a rebound with Jimel Cofer of the Grambling State Tigers during the first half.

Women’s: Historically dominant team and player on collision course

Like the men’s tournament, the women’s edition saw all four No. 1 seeds make it to the Sweet 16 stage.

And similarly to their male counterparts, there are plenty of potential pitfalls lying in wait for any slip-ups.

Although the Sweet 16 is mostly packed with the typical heavyweights of women’s college basketball, there are some who are looking to go where they’ve never been before.

Four teams – Alabama, Clemson, Creighton and Tennessee – have never made it to the Final Four and with just two wins standing between that goal, the motivation is sky high.

No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Indiana

Although it takes over 60 games to crown a national champion, it could all be futile given the way South Carolina is playing at the moment.

The top overall seed Gamecocks haven’t lost a game all season and currently hold a 34-0 record. They looked ominous in their opening games of March Madness, winning the two encounters by a combined margin of 99 points.

The average winning margin of South Carolina’s victories is 31 points and, in the last 108 games over the past three seasons, the team has lost just three times by a combined seven points. The only game they lost last season was in the Final Four to a surging Iowa spearheaded by Caitlin Clark.

Led by head coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks are a fearsome opponent for the rest of the tournament, boasting a roster which includes eight All-Americans.

Now, they face the No. 4 seed Indiana Hoosiers who are enjoying an excellent run under coach Teri Moren. But Moren is realistic about their chances coming up against South Carolina.

“I doubt that anybody’s going to be thinking Indiana’s going to go over there and upset them,” she told reporters following her team’s second round victory over Oklahoma.

“They’re the best team in the country. We know that’s going to be an incredibly tough challenge. But I’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys because of their experience, because of their maturity, because of their toughness.”

South Carolina guard Te-Hina Paopao drives against the North Carolina Tar Heels.

No. 1 Iowa vs. No. 5 Colorado

For many, this season’s March Madness has been about Caitlin Clark.

After enjoying a record-breaking regular season before she leaves for the WNBA, Clark’s final mountain to climb is winning a first national championship title for both Iowa and herself.

And her Hawkeyes have begun in promising fashion, progressing to the Sweet 16 with relative ease to set up a clash with No. 5 Colorado.

If Iowa can advance to the Elite Eight, a potential clash against Angel Reese and LSU – a rematch of last season’s feisty national championship game – could be on the horizon.

And a much-anticipated clash against South Carolina could be the final hurdle for Clark to overcome in the national championship game should both teams win all their games and set up a final for the ages.

Clark brings the ball down the court during the first half of Iowa's match against the Holy Cross Crusaders at March Madness.

Here is the full set of games for the Sweet 16 of the 2024 men’s March Madness (all times in ET):

Thursday, March 28

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Clemson – 7:09 p.m. on CBS

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 5 San Diego State – 7:39 p.m. on TBS/truTV

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Alabama – 9:39 p.m. on CBS

No. 2 Iowa State vs. No. 3 Illinois – 10:09 p.m. on TBS/truTV

Friday, March 29

No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 11 NC State – 7:09 p.m. on CBS

No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 5 Gonzaga – 7:39 p.m. on TBS/truTV

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 4 Duke – 9:39 p.m. on CBS

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Creighton – 10:09 p.m. on TBS/truTV

Here is the full set of games for the Sweet 16 of the 2024 women’s March Madness (all times in ET):

Friday, March 29

No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Oregon State – 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Indiana – 5 p.m. on ESPN

No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 3 NC State – 7:30 p.m. on ESPN

No. 1 Texas vs. No. 4 Gonzaga – 10 p.m. on ESPN

Saturday, March 30

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 UCLA – 1 p.m. on ABC

No. 1 Iowa vs. No. 5 Colorado – 3:30 p.m. on ABC

No. 1 USC vs. No. 5 Baylor – 5:30 p.m. on ESPN

No. 3 UConn vs. No. 7 Duke – 8 p.m. on ESPN

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