The NCAA tournament got underway on Tuesday with the first half of the First Four. Wednesday will wrap up the first round. That, of course, frees us up to really begin March Madness with the round of 64.
Let us not get ahead of ourselves, however, we won't even know all the matchups for the round of 64 until Wednesday's games are completed.
Have a look at the bracket and the schedule for Day 2:
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|(16) Texas Southern||(16) Cal Poly||6:40 p.m.||truTV||March Madness Live|
|(11) Iowa||(11) Tennessee||9:10 p.m.||truTV||March Madness Live|
Live Stream: March Madness Live
No. 16 Texas Southern vs. No. 16 Cal Poly
Cal Poly (13-19) will try to continue its new momentum against Texas Southern (19-14) in the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio for the right to take on Wichita State in the second round.
Cal Poly made the Big Dance after it captured its first Big West Conference tournament title in a surprising run. Now, the school not renowned for basketball success will be playing in its first-ever NCAA tournament.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Cal Poly. The Tribune's Joshua Scroggin passed along this quote from Cal Poly athletic director Don Oberhelman:
As I sit here now, it’s as dramatic as anything I’ve ever seen. Knowing what was against us and to be able to do that is the most dramatic, amazing finish to a season.
Just the ways those games played out, I don’t know how you can’t have goose bumps for each one of those three games.
For their part, Texas Southern made the Dance by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, as the Tigers enter this contest having won nine straight. This is Texas Southern's fifth time in the NCAA tournament.
The winner of this game will advance to take on No. 1 seed Wichita State.
That, of course, is not a task either team is equipped to handle. Wichita State is the first team to enter the tournament with an undefeated record in over two decades. Also, a No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16.
Prediction: Texas Southern 75, Cal Poly 70
Cal Poly's momentum is tempting to jump behind. It is a fun story and it would be entertaining to see that run continue. Texas Southern is playing too well for that to happen, however.
It is the Tigers who will extend their winning streak.
No. 11 Iowa vs. No. 11 Tennessee
This battle in the Midwest Region features two teams that were headed in completely opposite directions at the end of the season.
Not long ago, Iowa was headed for a far better seeding than a No. 11 and a play-in game. Iowa limped to the end of the season, however, as the Hawkeyes have lost six of their last seven.
Meanwhile, Tennessee surged to end its season by wining five of its last six. The lone loss in that stretch was a seven-point setback to No. 1 seed Florida.
Senior guard Jordan McRae leads Tennessee with 18.6 points per game, although he hasn't scored more than 15 points in a game in any of the Volunteers' last five games.
Meanwhile, Iowa's recent struggles stem from a slumping offense. The Hawkeyes posted an average of 82 points per game, which is 10th-best in the nation. However, Iowa scored an average of 62.5 points over its last two games.
The winner of this game will advance to take on UMass. The Minutemen are a vulnerable No. 6 seed, as they have lost three of their last five.
Prediction: Tennessee 61, Iowa 54
The Volunteers will ride their strong recent form to a victory. Tennessee prefers to play low-scoring games and impose its will with a strong defensive effort. That will help prolong Iowa's offensive slump and end its season.