Unless you've already lost all four Final Four participants on your 2013 NCAA tournament bracket, Friday's slate of second-round games has a chance to set you apart from the rest of the field in your bracket pool.
Thursday's round of 64 games were as exciting as promised, highlighted by several upsets later in the day by No. 12 California and No. 14 Harvard. Both top seeds that played on Thursday—Louisville and Gonzaga—managed to move on to the round of 32, although the way each team got there was strikingly different.
The second round will commence again and culminate on Friday. The action is scheduled to get underway a little after noon on the East Coast, giving you several hours to fret over whether or not your picks in this year's bracket will stand the test of time after the second full day of action.
Here's a complete look at the final Friday in which we will have more than 32 teams still vying for the 2013 NCAA tournament title.
Day 4 Tournament Schedule (Friday, March 22)
|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) La Salle vs. (4) Kansas St.||3:10||truTV|
|Mar. 22||(16) James Madison 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|
No. 10 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Notre Dame
The Cyclones will be an interesting team to watch on Friday.
They have excellent guard play across the board, lead the nation in three-pointers per game and have a big man (Melvin Ejim) that can create problems for teams on the inside in four-out, one-in offensive sets.
Notre Dame is a comparable team that can attack you on the inside with offensive sets and also spread the floor, particularly with sharpshooting forward Jack Cooley paving the way for the rest of the offense to get the green light.
Michigan State transfer Korie Lucious has tournament experience, as do the rest of the Cyclones, who lost to eventual champion Kentucky in the round of 32 last year. Iowa State has big-time experience against No. 1 Kansas, and it won't be scared of a team from the Big East.
If the threes are falling in this game, we could easily see 80 points from both teams before the game is over. If that's the game plan, though, a shootout would have to favor the Cyclones, who play at a quicker pace and can withstand that kind of up-and-down game.
Projection: Cyclones upset
No. 13 La Salle vs. No. 4 Kansas State
This is an interesting matchup, for several reasons.
One, La Salle is hot right now, especially after putting up 80 points against Boise State in the First Four. The Explorers can score with anybody, and teams that can score (Michigan, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Kansas) are the teams that have given Kansas State problems this season.
However, the Wildcats have two stud guards with Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez, the latter of whom will be counted on to control the pace and flow of this game and get the former open looks with his penetration.
Bruce Weber's team also has a big man on the inside in Jordan Henriquez that could be an X-factor on Friday, especially with 6'11" Explorers center Steve Zack sitting this one out due to a foot injury. I love what La Salle did on Wednesday in the First Four, and guards Ramon Galloway and Tyrone Garland should be fun to watch.
However, the game is in Kansas City, and this Kansas State team has quietly flown under the radar by beating every team it was supposed to this season.
Projection: Wildcats survive
No. 8 North Carolina State vs. No. 9 Temple
The winner of this game likely gets a date with No. 1 Indiana (barring a monumental James Madison upset) in the round of 32, so there will be nothing held back from either of these mid-seeds on Friday afternoon.
That being said, the Wolfpack are in the position of needing a win to salvage what's left of their disappointing regular season. Richard Howell emerged as a true star for head coach Mark Gottfried, but NBA prospects Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie left something to be desired this year.
Temple is no slouch, either.
The Owls have wins over Villanova, Syracuse, Saint Louis and Butler this year and come into this game with the lethal one-two scoring punch of Khalif Wyatt and Scootie Randall. It should be a back-and-forth thriller, but I like the Wolfpack to emerge late and pick up where they left off in last year's tournament.
Projection: Wolfpack move to round of 32
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Iona
Ohio State is the hottest team in the country right now, plain and simple.
Sure, Louisville and VCU both have cases after impressive wins on Thursday, but Ohio State can beat you multiple ways, has a leader in Aaron Craft and employs top scorer Deshaun Thomas against foes on a nightly basis.
Since losing to Wisconsin in February, the Buckeyes haven't lost again, and that includes two wins over Michigan State to go along with wins over Indiana and those pesky Badgers.
Iona is a Cinderella story in the making, but the Gaels have played just two tournament teams (Liberty and La Salle) this season, going 1-1 in those games. Iona has a lethal scorer in 23-point-per-game man Lamont Jones, but Ohio State is coming in hot and gets to play in front of a home crowd in Dayton, Ohio (Ohio State lost only two games at home this season).
Unlike some other games on Friday, this one should be relatively easy for the top seed.
Projection: Buckeyes roll
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