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March Madness is inspiring everybody to play ball. Above is the basketball player, part of the Body Worlds & The Mirror Of Time exhibition. Photo by: UK Press/PA Photos

Sweet Sweet 16

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March Madness is inspiring everybody to play ball. Above is the basketball player, part of the Body Worlds & The Mirror Of Time exhibition. Photo by: UK Press/PA Photos

We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the NCAA basketball championship tournament as only 16 teams remain. On Thursday the remaining contenders continue their march to this year’s Final Four in Detroit.

Here’s a rundown by region.
 
East:
 
Games to be played at TD Waterhouse Arena Boston, MA (Boston Garden)   
 
Thursday, March 26
 
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (4) Xavier 7:27 pm ET
 
Number one seed Pittsburgh Panthers, one of four teams to represent the Big East in the sweet sixteen, has made it to this round five out of the last eight years. The Panthers struggled in beating lower seeded Eastern Tennessee State and Oklahoma State. Forwards Sam Young (23 ppg., 10.5 rpg., 53.3 FG, 50 3FG) and Naismith award hopeful DeJuan Blair (18.5 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 54.2 FG) may power the team to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1974.
 
The Atlantic 10 regular season champs, number four seed Xavier, are also no strangers to the regional semifinals (getting there two of last three years). A traditionally steady team, the Musketeers defeated Portland State and Wisconsin behind the play of guard/forward BJ Raymond (14 ppg, 35.7 3 FG).
 
My pick: Pittsburgh
 

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