NCAA Tournament Schedule 2013: Where to Watch Top Mid-Majors in Opening Rounds

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2013

Mar 17, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Saint Louis Billikens forward Dwayne Evans (21) drives past Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Treveon Graham (21) during the second half of the championship game of the Atlantic 10 at the Barclays Center. Saint Louis won 62-56.  Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the college basketball season, you have seen plenty of action in the major conferences. In the first couple of rounds of the NCAA tournament, make sure you do not miss the smaller schools.

While there are plenty of mid-majors who will make decent runs in the Big Dance, the Round of 64 could be the last chance for you to see a player like South Dakota State's Nate Wolters or Iona's Lamont Jones.

A few squads will certainly surprise people when they realize how talented they really are. Here are the best non-power conference teams with information on how to watch them. 


No. 1 Gonzaga

First Game: March 21 at 4:10 p.m. ET vs. No. 16 Southern

When Gonzaga was selected as the No. 1 seed in the West region, there were a lot of people questioning the committee's decision. Sure, the Bulldogs built up a 31-2 record, but who did they beat?

In reality, Gonzaga has a bunch of good wins including a 5-0 mark against the Big 12. That conference's co-regular season champions, Kansas State, lost by 16 on a neutral floor against Mark Few's squad. 

Kelly Olynyk is one of the best players in the country, averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He also made 34.6 percent of his three-point shots this year, not bad for a seven-footer.

With Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos providing help inside and out, this team should go far in the NCAA tournament. 


No. 3 New Mexico

First Game: March 21 at 9:50 p.m. ET vs. No. 14 Harvard

The Mountain West conference raised its profile this season with some big non-conference wins and ended up getting five of its nine teams into the NCAA tournament.

Now it is time for the entire conference to prove its merit on a national stage.

New Mexico proved throughout the season that it is the best team in the conference, winning both the regular season and tournament titles. The success is based on a smothering defense that prevents even good teams from getting easy shots off.

Offensively, the Lobos have had some inconsistency, but Kendall Williams does a good job running the show as the leader in points and assists per game.

With a relatively open region, this team could have a nice run to the Elite Eight or Final Four.


No. 4 Saint Louis

First Game: March 21 at 2:10 p.m. ET vs. No. 13 New Mexico State

Most people who want to talk about the strength of the Atlantic 10 this season discuss either VCU or Butler. While these two teams have had success in the NCAA tournament in the past, Saint Louis is the class of the conference.

The Billikens have beaten those two teams a combined five times as part of a streak of 15 wins in the last 16 games.

This is a very veteran squad with good balance offensively. Five players average at least nine points per game, and Jordair Jett is not far behind at 9.1 per game.

Of course, a bracket that could feature games against Oklahoma State and possibly Louisville will make advancing very difficult. However, this is a team that could definitely surprise people over the next couple of weeks.


No. 5 VCU

First Game: March 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET vs. No. 12 Akron

With the exception of top-overall seed Louisville, no one runs a better full-court press than VCU.

The Rams lead the nation in forced turnovers, and that theme is certain to continue in the NCAA tournament against groups that have never seen this type of pressure before.

In the first round, VCU is fortunate to face a team without its starting point guard. Akron's Alex Abreu was suspended after being arrested for drugs, according to Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports.

Things will get tougher in the next round, which will likely be against Michigan and then possibly Kansas. However, Shaka Smart has led his team to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed in the past. Do not be surprised if he can do it again as a No. 5 seed.


2013 NCAA Tournament Second Round (Round of 64) Dates, Times, TV Schedule

Notes: Times and networks subject to trade/change. All times are approximate, Eastern Standard and P.M., unless otherwise noted. Information on matchups via The Washington Post 

Date Matchup Time TV
Mar. 21 (14) Valparaiso vs. (3) Michigan St. 12:15 CBS
Mar. 21 (11) Bucknell vs. (6) Butler 12:40 truTV
Mar. 21 (9) Wichita St. vs. (8) Pittsburgh 1:40 TBS
Mar. 21 (13) New Mexico St. vs. (4) Saint Louis 2:10 TNT
Mar. 21 (6) Memphis vs. (11) MTSU/SMU 2:45 CBS
Mar. 21 (14) Davidson vs. (3) Marquette 3:10 truTV
Mar. 21 (16) Southern vs. (1) Gonzaga 4:10 TBS
Mar. 21 (12) Oregon vs. (5) Oklahoma St. 4:40 TNT
Mar. 21 (16) NC A&T/Lib. vs. (1) Louisville 6:50 TBS
Mar. 21 (13) South Dakota St. vs (4) Michigan 7:15 CBS
Mar. 21 (11) Belmont vs. (6) Arizona 7:20 TNT
Mar. 21 (12) California vs. (5) UNLV 7:27 truTV
Mar. 21 (9) Missouri vs. (8) Colorado St. 9:20 TBS
Mar. 21 (12) Akron vs. (5) VCU 9:45 CBS
Mar. 21 (14) Harvard vs. (3) New Mexico 9:50 TNT
Mar. 21 (13) Montana vs. (4) Syracuse 9:57 truTV
Mar. 22 (15) Albany (NY) vs. (2) Duke 12:15 CBS
Mar. 22 (12) Ole Miss vs. (5) Wisconsin 12:40 truTV
Mar. 22 (9) Temple vs. (8) North Carolina St. 1:40 TBS
Mar. 22 (15) Pacific vs. (2) Miami (FL) 2:10 TNT
Mar. 22 (10) Cincinnati vs. (7) Creighton 2:45 CBS
Mar. 22 (13) BSU/La Salle vs. (4) Kansas St. 3:10 truTV
Mar. 22 (16) LIU-Brooklyn/JMU vs. (1) Indiana 4:10 TBS
Mar. 22 (10) Colorado vs. (7) Illinois 4:45 TNT
Mar. 22 (15) Florida Gulf Coast vs. (2) Georgetown 6:50 TBS
Mar. 22 (15) Iona vs. (2) Ohio State 7:15 CBS
Mar. 22 (9) Villanova vs. (8) North Carolina 7:20 TNT
Mar. 22 (14) Northwestern St. vs. (3) Florida 7:27 truTV
Mar. 22 (10) Oklahoma vs. (7) San Diego St. 9:20 TBS
Mar. 22 (10) Iowa State vs. (7) Notre Dame 9:45 CBS
Mar. 22 (16) W. Kentucky vs. (1) Kansas 9:50 TNT
Mar. 22 (11) Minnesota vs. (6) UCLA 9:57 truTV


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