The two best days of the year are here! Below is the schedule for Thursday's games. I love the staggered start times for the afternoon games.
Enjoy the games everyone! Let this also serve as the open thread for the games for those who want to check in throughout the day.
Thursday's Game Schedule
|South||Dayton Flyers (11) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (6)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||12:15p||CBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|West||American University Eagles (15) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||12:40p||truTV||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|South||Pittsburgh Panthers (9) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (8)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||1:40p||TBS||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|East||Harvard Crimson (12) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (5)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||2:10p||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|South||Western Michigan Broncos (14) vs. Syracuse Orange (3)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||2:45p||CBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|West||BYU Cougars (10) vs. Oregon Ducks (7)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||3:10p||truTV||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|South||Albany Great Danes (16) vs. Florida Gators (1)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||4:10p||TBS||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|East||Delaware Blue Hens (13) vs. Michigan State Spartans (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||4:40p||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|East||Saint Joseph's (PA) Hawks (10) vs. Connecticut Huskies (7)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||6:55p||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|MidWest||Wofford Terriers (15) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||7:10p||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|MidWest||North Carolina State Wolfpack (12) vs. Saint Louis Billikens (5)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||7:20p||TNT||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|West||North Dakota State Bison (12) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (5)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||7:27p||truTV||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|East||Milwaukee Panthers (15) vs. Villanova Wildcats (2)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||9:25p||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|MidWest||Arizona State Sun Devils (10) vs. Texas Longhorns (7)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||9:40p||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|MidWest||Manhattan Jaspers (13) vs. Louisville Cardinals (4)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||9:50p||TNT||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|West||New Mexico State Aggies (13) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||9:57p||truTV||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
Flyers13's Recommended Viewing (if you can't watch all the games):
12:15: The Ohio Skirmish (Dayton-Ohio St)
Possibly the only in-state skirmish that intrigues me more is Corn-Mageddon, the potential 2nd round match-up between Creighton and Nebraska. Ohio St at one point was ranked 3rd, and they definitely have talent to knock off anyone. Unfortunately for them, their weakest game could certainly get them sent home today. Dayton has a resume that includes wins over Cal and Gonzaga, with a narrow one point loss to Baylor out of league; and has wins over George Washington and St. Louis in the A-10. They also sport constructive losses to St Joes and VCU. They will be anything but intimidated by the Buckeyes.
2:10: Your Bracket's Most Dicey 5 vs 12 (Harvard-Cincinnati)
Tommy Amaker is continuing to build the program at Harvard. Our new AD, Whit Babcock, fostered the Cincinnati program to an elite level. I'd argue that the Bearcats seed is too low. After all they beat Louisville on the road, and lost to them at home by just one. The AAC tournament loss to UConn cost them dearly. The AAC as a whole, paid a heavy price for the ACC/Big East re-alignments. Both teams lost to UConn (the Bearcats two out of three).
4:10 and 4:40 Two Tournament Favorites Tune-Up (Albany-Florida & Delaware-Michigan St)
Michigan St and Florida should win their respective openers in what will amount to walks. The pressure continues to mount for the Gators, as they haven't lost since December 2nd, when they fell to who? You guessed it, the UConn Huskies! If Adreian Payne is back to full-strength, I look for him to put together a John Wallace-type run here where he does a bit of everything and wills Sparty to a couple of these wins single-handedly.
6:55 My Dark Horse (St Joes-UConn)
UConn. A 7 seed? With 3 of their 8 losses coming to the Louisville Cardinals, and one more to highly-touted CIncinnati? Two losses to first team out of the tournament SMU? A win over eventual #1 Florida, two over the top 10 Bearcats, along with wins over Harvard and Memphis. Kevin Ollie is doing a great job, and he just sat front and center during the Kemba Walker experience in 2011, when UConn unexpectedly won their 3rd national title. You never like to pick against the Huskies in March, it's just not smart. That said, Phil Martelli is no stranger to the dance, and that Hawk never stops flapping!
7:20 and 7:27 The Quest To Eliminate All Five Seeds (NC St-St Louis & North Dakota St-Oklahoma)
TJ Warren is perhaps the smoothest scorer in all of D-1 basketball, and after all these years I still don't know what a Billiken is. Should i finally stop the ignorance or remain blissfully so? I've come this far I suppose. I just know that the A-10 was severely oversold at the expense of the AAC. As for Oklahoma, if the committee got the state backwards. I don't care about resume, the Sooners aren't quite the team the OK St Cowboys are. And since the committee is so worried about star-power with Joel Embiid of Kansas potentially missing a weekend or two, then they should have seeded Marcus Smart higher. He's a bona-fide star! Anyhow, North Dakota State is surprisingly loaded. They beat Notre Dame in South Bend when the Irish still had Jerian Grant. They've lost just two games since January. The Sooners might be one of the most over-seeded schools in the tournament. With nine losses, some of the recent, and some of them bad, I think they are the ripest 12-seed to get knocked off.
9:50 Montrezl Harrell Dunk-a-thon (Manhattan-Louisville)
Really, kudos to the tournament for setting up four games that will begin around 10pm. Night owls like me salute this move. The Cardinals are the favorite, not Sparty. They won last year, they return a nice core of the guys who won last year. Louisville lost five games this year, none to an unranked team, and though they have lost three times since the New Year (twice to Memphis, and once to the Bearcats), they have won by 39, 12, 39, 17, 15, 24, 48, 26, 22, 13, 61, 29. There were three games of theirs decided by fewer than seven points (two losses, and a nail-biting win over Cincinnati). I argue that it was Louisville's decimation of it's own conference's bottom-feeders that did the AAC in at selection time and cost SMU a bid, and subsequently lowered all their seeds. I would also argue that the top of the conference is sorely underrated, and as an old Metro conference fan I am here to protest. Memphis, Cincinnati, and Louisville still feel like home after all these year.
Other Odds and Ends
- The Panther eats the Buffalo every time. I hope you scored your bracket accordingly. There is not a Tuna-Lion scenario that Will Ferrell could come up with to convince me otherwise.
- Will the Jim Boeheim's Vaunted 2-3 Zone Defense (it needs its own trademark at this point) hold the WMU Broncos to less than 35 points?
- Michigan has been playing over their heads all year. Not saying a 2 vs15 upset is happening this year, but the Wolverines seems to be a little above their pay grade in the 2 slot.
- Texas-Arizona State makes for a nice Holiday Bowl.
- 25th anniversary of Steve Fisher making a run with Michigan. How far can he take the Aztecs? And furthermore he might have been the oldest-looking 43 year old (he is now 68) I can remember seeing. I thought he was pushing 60 back when he had the Fab Five!