The Round of 64 for the 2013 NCAA tournament kicks off on Thursday, March 21, and it will be one of the best days of the year for sports fans.
There will be first-class college basketball on all day, and if you have to fake an illness, use a vacation day or do something even more drastic to be able to watch all the action, it will be worth it.
Thursday’s games will be entertaining and thrilling, but a few matchups are more intriguing than all the others.
Here is a link to a printable PDF as well as a link to a live bracket with all the scores, scheduling and viewing information you will need throughout the competition. Now, here are the matchups you cannot miss on Thursday.
No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Oregon
When: 4:40 p.m. ET
The 12-5 matchups are known for producing upsets, and this one comes with even more of a chance for an unexpected result.
Oregon is not a normal No. 12 seed, as it is extremely rare for a team to win to finish a game out of first place in a major conference, win the conference tournament, then get snubbed like this.
Oklahoma State has a star in Marcus Smart, and the Ducks certainly have a difficult matchup ahead of them. But this is undoubtedly the most even 12-5 game in the tournament, and fans should not miss it.
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 South Dakota State
When: 7:15 p.m. ET
While the 12-5 games get all the attention, the 4-13 matchups often produce upsets as well. Michigan knows this all too well after losing to No. 13 Ohio in the Round of 64 last season.
Now the team faces a tough test against Nate Wolters and South Dakota State. Wolters is a first-rate sharpshooter, and if he gets hot, he is completely capable of leading his team to victory.
But the Wolverines have some offensive firepower of their own, and at the very least fans watching this game will see plenty of points.
No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Missouri
When: 9:20 p.m. ET
The 8-9 games are supposed to be the most even matchups, and in this case, the selection committee got it right. There is little to separate these two teams.
This game will be won on the glass, and both the Rams and the Tigers are fantastic rebounding teams. According to KenPom.com, Colorado State ranks second in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, while Missouri ranks seventh.
Those looking for a pretty jump shots and fancy dribbling displays should look elsewhere. This is going to be a physical battle leaving the winner black and blue for the Round of 32.
Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game