For insight into Thursday's regional semifinal games, we tracked down actual scouting-report info from assistant coaches of former opponents, and gave them anonymity in exchange for their candor. You're sick of what the media has to say about these teams by now, so listen to our corps of coaches instead:
EAST REGION (Boston)
Click here for the West Region breakdown
No. 1 Pitt vs. No. 4 Xavier, 7:27 p.m. ET
Four Panthers scouting points:
• "DeJuan Blair is such a physical presence, and he's smart about getting position for rebounds: He pushes when officials aren't looking. He's figured out what he can get away with and what he can't. When a shot's in the air, he's good at moving people around without extending his arms. It's really sneaky -- he'll get a little shot in and move you and take your spot -- but it's not dirty. It's smart, kind of like how Dennis Rodman used to get all those boards with the Bulls. Blair is that type of rebounder. You have to check him at all times, and even then, he's going to work his a-- off to get the ball."
• "You have to sit down on all of Sam Young's pump fakes. He has that old-school game that lulls you to sleep, and then he puts the dagger in you with a dunk. You have to respect his outside shot -- he makes a decent percentage -- but keep your feet on the floor. Where he's most dangerous, though, is in transition, because he'll run past everyone and get to the rim, where Levance [Fields] can throw him lobs."
• "If Fields gets by you in transition, and you have to help, he's such a good passer that he always finds the right man. He's deceptively quick, too. He doesn't look like he's fast, but if he needs to blow by you he can. He's crafty like that, and has great handles."
• "You need to attack Blair when you have the ball. Go right at him and don't be scared of him. A lot of teams shy away from that, because he plays so exceptionally hard. But you have to try to bait Blair into fouling, because that's how to beat Pitt -- every time they lose, it's when he's been in foul trouble."
Four Musketeers scouting points:
• "They're very similar to Pitt, in that Xavier was the most physical team in the Atlantic 10, and Pitt is the most physical team in the Big East. So, they can hang with in a smash-mouth game, and keep up on the glass, too. As much as Xavier runs some sets to get the ball in the post -- its main goal is always to go inside -- a lot of times its best offense is just to throw it up and then go get it off the glass. Pitt does the same thing."
• "C.J. Anderson is an X-factor, an energy-and-toughness guy who does a lot of dirty work for them without getting enough credit. When they need a big shot, though, B.J. Raymond is the one taking it. I think he'll step up at times and say, 'I'm not going to let us lose.'"
• "You have to treat Raymond, when you're guarding him, like a shooting guard and go over any ball-screens, and chase over staggers and handoffs. When we watched film, any team that made the mistake of going under screens and not respecting Raymond, bam! -- he'd shoot that three in a hurry."
• "They've been able to win without a true point guard in their starting lineup. Dante Jackson is more of a combo guard, and they do some things offensively that don't require him to have the ball in his hands all the time. He doesn't take a lot of shots, but makes decent decisions in transition, and he guards pretty well because he's 6-5. He could give Fields some trouble just because of his size."
SI.com's pick: Pittsburgh 64, Xavier 60.
The Panthers haven't been playing great basketball in this NCAA tournament, and have looked ripe for an upset. But Oklahoma State gave them trouble, in part, because the Cowboys wanted to play at too high of a pace; Xavier's similarity to Pitt might play into Pitt's hands. Jamie Dixon's teams have a strong track record of winning slugfests, and they'll give out more punishment than they get.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Villanova, 9:57 p.m. ET
Four Blue Devils scouting points:
• "Gerald Henderson is playing at a ridiculous level right now. You can see, on the court, how much more confident he is now than at the same point last season. You have to guard him as a right-handed driver; he's more aggressive going that way, and they run a lot of plays where he can get the ball and go past someone to the right -- either all the way to the rim or so he can stop and hit that pull-up."
• "Kyle Singler is different than Henderson in that we felt like, even though he's a righty, he likes to go left a little more often. He's a three playing the four spot, which gives him an advantage, because it's hard for a lot of opposing fours to guard him on the perimeter in Duke's drive-and-kick game. You're going to see a zillion ball screens, and he will slip or dive to the basket off of a lot of them. How you handle those screens goes a long way in determining how you fare against them."
• "Elliott Williams has really improved them because he puts such a tremendous amount of pressure on the ball, more than Nolan Smith or [Greg] Paulus or [Jon] Scheyer do. The thing with their whole team, though, is that they don't ever take possessions off. That doesn't mean they're going to stop you from scoring every time, but they're going to go as hard as they can go every time."
• "When we showed our guys tape of David McClure, almost the whole edit was of him getting offensive boards and kicking them out for threes. That's what he does. He's unbelievable at creating extra possessions for them that way."
Four Wildcats scouting points:
• "When most people think of Villanova they think of guards and great offense, but their defense is more impressive. They'll do a 1-2-2 press off of some made baskets; some people say they play zone in the half court, but it's really just man-to-man with a lot of switching. They play hard, physical basketball -- and by that I mean they foul the hell out of you. They don't give away open layups; they foul you hard instead, or make you knock them over by trying to take a charge. They can get nasty."
• "Jay Wright is great at coaching help defense. They're probably the best help-defense team in the Big East. Because they're such an overaggressive help team, though, it exposes perimeter shots, and that's how you can beat them, by driving and kicking, because they'll give you those shots."
• "Reggie Redding is probably their best perimeter defender, and defense is why he and Dwayne Anderson start, rather than say, Corey Fisher or Corey Stokes, who are great offensive players. Scottie Reynolds is a poor defender and they're better off having guys like Redding and Anderson around him."
• "They run a lot of ball-screens for Reynolds, and he loves to come up to the screen, and then shoot a three from behind it at any range, or reject the screen and drive to the basket. He and Fisher dribble as well as any guards in the country, and it's tough to stop them from getting into the lane."
SI.com's pick: Villanova 77, Duke 75.
This has the potential to be the best Sweet 16 game in the bracket. The Blue Devils should get plenty of open looks for threes from their spread-out, motion offense, and the Wildcats should get plenty of buckets off of penetration from Reynolds and Fisher. The fact that Duke only narrowly escaped an average Texas team in the second round, while Nova throttled a similarly average UCLA team, makes me think the 'Cats have a leg up in momentum.