March Madness opening Thursday was marked by two massive upsets, one by an Ivy League program with a history of massive kills and the other by a SoCon team that hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in nearly half a century.
Now there will be a Friday plate with just as much action. Here’s a rundown of Friday’s slate:
12:15 p.m. – No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 USC (CBS)
12:40 p.m. — No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State (truTV)
13:40 — No. 3Baylor vs. No. 14 U.C. Santa Barbara (TNT)
2 p.m. — No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 12 VCU (TBS)
2:45 p.m. — No. 2 Marquet vs. No. 15 Vermont (CBS)
3:10 PM — No. 6Iowa State vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (truTV)
4:10 PM – No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 NC State (TNT)
4:30 p.m. — No. 4 UConn vs. No. 13 Iona (TBS)
Can not be missed: What powerful person angered Andy Enfield? It’s bad enough that USC has brought on a Michigan State team that is giving the Trojans matchup trouble because of the perimeter shooting. What makes it even worse is that the game is being played in the Big Ten country in Columbus and the tip is at 9:15 a.m. PST. Will adversity excite or break the Trojans? Can Michigan State sink enough jump shots over the top of the Trojans’ thicket of home defenders? That’s what makes this battle between big brands so intriguing.
Can not be missed: Before Rick Pitino leaves for a bigger track, perhaps in the Big East near St. John’s, he will try to lead what is likely his last Iona team to a huge NCAA tournament. The Gaels haven’t lost since January…but they also haven’t seen anyone as talented as UConn. Iona has a powerful backcourt and decent size for a mid-major, but rebounding defensively is a major concern. If the Gaels can hold the Huskies in one go, this one has the potential to live up to the hype.
6:50 pm — No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson (TNT)
19:10 – No. 6Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence (CBS)
7:25 p.m. — No. 5 Miami vs. No. 12 Drake (TBS)
7:35pm – #3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon (truTV)
21:20 — No. 8Memphis vs. No. 9Florida Atlantic (TNT)
9:40 pm – No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Montana State (CBS)
9:55 p.m. — No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kent State (TBS)
10:05 PM — No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State (truTV)
Can not be missed: Two years ago, Kentucky had its worst season in decades. Last year, the Wildcats suffered their worst NCAA tournament loss in program history. So there is no coach in the country who is under more pressure to win his first round match this week than John Calipari. Kentucky will try to end a 1,449-day drought without an NCAA tournament victory when it faces a Providence team that was vying for the Big East title in February but struggled on defense on the stretch.