Thursday marks the start of what will feel like non-stop NCAA tournament action, and the TV schedule for the 2013 tourney is stuffed with amazing matchups.
There is no better way to spend an entire day than sitting in front of a television watching 12 straight hours of college basketball; that’s called a dream come true.
All of Thursday’s matchups are amazing, but the following games will have the college basketball world taking notice and brackets (print yours here) on the verge of being busted.
Full Thursday NCAA Tournament TV Schedule
12:15 p.m. ET: (14) Valparaiso vs. (3) Michigan State; CBS
12:40 p.m. ET: (11) Bucknell vs. (6) Butler; tru TV
1:40 p.m. ET: (9) Wichita State vs. (8) Pittsburgh; TBS
2:10 p.m. ET: (13) New Mexico State vs. (4) Saint Louis; TNT
2:45 p.m. ET: TBA vs. (6) Memphis; CBS
3:10 p.m. ET: (14) Davidson vs. (3) Marquette; tru TV
4:10 p.m. ET: (16) Southern University vs. (1) Gonzaga; TBS
4:40 p.m. ET: (12) Oregon vs. (5) Oklahoma State; TNT
6:50 p.m. ET: TBA vs. (1) Louisville; TBS
7:15 p.m. ET: (13) South Dakota State vs. (4) Michigan; CBS
7:20 p.m. ET: (11) Belmont vs. (6) Arizona; TNT
7:27 p.m. ET: (12) California vs. (5) UNLV; tru TV
9:20 p.m. ET: (9) Missouri vs. (8) Colorado State; TBS
9:45 p.m. ET: (12) Akron vs. (5) Virginia Commonwealth; CBS
9:50 p.m. ET: (14) Harvard vs. (3) New Mexico; TNT
9:57 p.m. ET: (13) Montana vs. (4) Syracuse; tru TV
No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State
When the No. 12 Oregon Ducks (26-8) square off against the No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys (24-8) in the second round, the boys from Eugene will be fighting for the pride of the Pac-12.
Not only will the Ducks be looking to advance for their own betterment—each team is fighting for NCAA glory—the fact that the selection committee disrespected the Pac-12 powerhouse by making them a 12-seed is unforgivable.
As well as Oklahoma State has played this season (third in the Big 12), the team has been placed on upset alert in the second round. Led by the team’s stellar defense, Oregon will stifle the Cowboys’ impressive transition offense and dominate Oklahoma State at both ends of the court.
As long as Ducks’ forward E.J. Singler continues to play well (11.5 points in 30.5 minutes per game), Oregon should be able to pull off the upset.
(9) Wichita State vs. (8) Pittsburgh
Anytime the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds go head-to-head, the action is always some of the most intriguing of the tournament, and Thursday’s battle between the Pittsburgh Panthers (24-8) and the Wichita State Shockers (26-8) will be one of the best games all season.
While the Shockers excel in the rebounding aspect of the game (27th in the nation with 38.4 rebounds per game), the Panthers are the more efficient team in the offensive zone. Pittsburgh is seventh in the nation in assists per game (16.5) and 18th in the nation with a field-goal percentage of .475.
The key matchup will be senior guards Cleanthony Early (Wichita State) and Tray Woodall (Pittsburgh), and the player that gets the upper hand in that on-court war will give his team the victory in the second round.
(14) Valparaiso vs. (3) Michigan State
The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (25-8) are heavily favored over the No. 14 Valparaiso Crusaders (26-7) in their second-round matchup—the Spartans face a -10.5 spread (h/t Cover.com)—but the Crusaders can’t be underestimated.
Valparaiso is one of the most efficient shooting teams in the nation (sixth overall with a .489 field-goal percentage), but the team has yet to face a squad as tough as Michigan State. Not only are the Spartans excellent defenders, their presence in the low post and willingness to rebound (37.3 per game) will be the difference in this matchup.
As impressive as the Crusaders winning 16 of their last 18 games to make it into the tournament, they are a 14-seed for a reason and Tom Izzo and Michigan State should be able to roll to the next round.
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