March Madness 2013: Highlighting Under-the-Radar Matchups in Round of 32
There are only 32 teams still alive in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including some Cinderellas who will look to crash the Sweet 16 party this weekend.
With the first two rounds in the books, Saturday and Sunday's action will feature 16 games sure to thrill college basketball fans and further injure brackets across America. But not every matchup is receiving the amount of hype it deserves.
Below, we'll highlight a trio of under-the-radar matchups to watch for in the third round this weekend.
No. 14 Harvard vs. No. 6 Arizona, Saturday, March 23 at 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT
Before there was Florida Gulf Coast there was 14th-seeded Harvard, who captured the hearts and minds of college basketball fans after knocking off New Mexico on Thursday night.
The Crimson will look to keep on dancing Saturday evening in Salt Lake City, where they'll take on sixth-seeded Arizona in the round of 32. The Wildcats denied Belmont's upset bid in the second round but will have their hands full going up against Tommy Amaker's well-coached unit.
Harvard ranks sixth in the nation in three-point shooting, hitting over 40 percent from deep as a team this season, and plays at a slow, controlled pace. The Crimson rank 329th in the country this season in total possessions and possess the perfect formula for an upset.
Plus, the Ivy League champions already have a win over the Pac-12 this season, beating California on the road back in late December. Without a doubt, Arizona features more talent, but this is the NCAA Tournament, where the better team, not the more talented team, moves on.
No. 9 Temple vs. No. 1 Indiana, Sunday, March 24 at 2:45 p.m. ET, CBS
With upsets defining the 2013 NCAA Tournament for the most part early on, Sunday afternoon's clash between ninth-seeded Temple and top-seeded Indiana could provide a shocking result to begin the day's slate of matchups.
The Owls knocked off a talented team in NC State in the second round on Friday and boast an elite scorer in senior guard Khalif Wyatt, who dropped 31 on the Wolfpack.
If Wyatt can put up his season average of 20 points or more and Temple can get another big-time performance from senior sharpshooter Jake O'Brien (44 percent from beyond the arc), the Owls will take Indiana to the wire in Dayton this weekend.
Another key stat to keep in mind is that Temple is 8-5 in games decided by fewer than six points this season. The Owls have proven before they are capable of delivering in big moments when it stays close.
There's a lot to watch for on Indiana's side as well. Tom Crean's squad is seen as the favorite in the East Region and features two of college basketball's best in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. If you haven't had a chance to see much of the Hoosiers this season, Sunday afternoon's battle with Temple is a great opportunity to soak up all that Indiana and March have to offer.
No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 2 Duke, Sunday, March 24 at 9:40 p.m. ET, TBS
The Bluejays and the Blue Devils will conclude the round of 32 on Sunday night in Philadelphia as they battle for the final spot in the Sweet 16.
Which under-the-radar underdog has the best shot to win this weekend?
But this matchup is being overlooked thanks to all of the Cinderellas that will be suiting up on Sunday, including 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the same arena in the game before this one.
Creighton vs. Duke will feature two of the best players in the tournament—and all of college basketball, for that matter—in Doug McDermott and Ryan Kelly. A National Player of the Year candidate, McDermott is averaging 23 points per game and scored 27 in Creighton's round of 64 win over Cincinnati on Friday.
On the other side, Duke senior forward Ryan Kelly is a terrific shooter (47 percent from beyond the arc) and a difference-maker for Mike Krzyzewski's squad. Duke is 19-1 this season with Kelly in the lineup— that includes a win over Louisville back in November.
Expect this game to be hotly contested throughout, as both Creighton and Duke are, without question, Sweet 16-caliber teams.
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