Thank goodness it's Friday.
Thursday's action in the NCAA tournament was very good, but the play is going to go up a level on Friday. There are quite a few savory matchups that should pique fans' interest as the round of 64 reaches its conclusion.
You've got teams like the Miami Hurricanes and Duke Blue Devils who both have something to prove as No. 2 seeds. There are also stars like Doug McDermott and Victor Oladipo who will be making their first appearances in this year's tourney.
In a day full of college basketball, here are three games that should be marked on your schedule.
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Villanova Wildcats, 7:20 p.m. ET
Fans should really be honed in on this one if only to fantasize about a potential matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Kansas Jayhawks would be.
Roy Williams would be facing off with the school he led to two runner-up finishes in his 15 years as a head coach. Then there's also the added bonus of watching two teams who aren't afraid to score some points. Williams' style has always been more high-tempo, while on the other side, Bill Self has the Jayhawks averaging 75.4 points a game.
This is not to diminish the Villanova Wildcats. Their physical style would be a good match for Kansas. The Wildcats might not be as fun to watch, but they could possibly slow down Ben McLemore and Travis Releford, thus making for an intriguing game.
No. 6 UCLA Bruins vs. No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers, 9:57 p.m. ET
The Minnesota Golden Gophers were an inconsistent team but still managed five wins against teams in the RPI top 50. The selection committee was very harsh to the UCLA Bruins by giving them not only a very tough opponent in Minnesota but also a very low seed.
This will almost certainly be the swan song for Shabazz Muhammad. He's been good at UCLA, but he's arguably failed to live up to the hype. Travis Wear, Kyle Anderson and Larry Drew have been the glue holding this Bruins team together. It will be fun watching Muhammad score; however, fans should savor the possibility of Wear and Drew getting to advance another round.
No. 8 NC State Wolfpack vs. No. 9 Temple Owls, 1:40 p.m. ET
The NC State Wolfpack have been one of the biggest disappointments this season. Mark Gottfried has an experienced basketball team that earned a No. 6 preseason ranking. By February, the Wolfpack left the Top 25, never to return. This is still a team with enough to tempt you into thinking it could cause some major damage. C.J. Leslie is a dangerous player should he get hot at the right time.
Plus, NC State should provide plenty of entertainment. It averaged 77.5 points a game and shot 49.4 percent from the field, good enough for fourth in the country.
On the other side, the Temple Owls gave up an average of 68.1 points a game. There's going to be plenty of scoring in this one. The Owls also rely on Khalif Wyatt, who's averaging 19.8 points a game. Getting that close to the 20-point mark is a pretty nice accomplishment in college basketball today.
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