NCAA Bracket 2014: Updated Schedule and Predictions After Day 2 of 1st Round

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NCAA Bracket 2014: Updated Schedule and Predictions After Day 2 of 1st Round
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Now the real fun begins. 

Yes, the Albany-Mount St. Mary's game was a fun contrast in styles, T.J. Warren put on an impressive individual performance and Tennessee's comeback and overtime win against Iowa was excellent. But let's not kid ourselves—the opening round of the NCAA tournament is just a way to distract America. 

The next 96 hours are the best four days in sports. Forty-eight games will tip off during that span, with just enough time for bathroom breaks, trips to the fridge and sleeping in between. Unequivocally, you will be treated to shocking upsets, transcendent individual performances, buzzer-beaters and a whole lot of other mayhem that will make you jump up from your couch and scream to no one in particular. 

So, with the field of 64 officially set, let's take a look at everything you need to know in order to catch all the games, along with some predictions for Thursday's action.

 

All Your Bracket Essentials

Bleacher Report

 

Schedule

2014 NCAA Tournament Schedule
Date 2nd Round Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Thu, March 20 (11) Dayton vs. (6) Ohio State 12:15 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (15) American vs. (2) Wisconsin 12:40 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (9) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Colorado 1:40 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (12) Harvard vs. (5) Cincinnati 2:10 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (14) Western Michigan vs. (3) Syracuse 2:45 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (10) BYU vs. (7) Oregon 3:10 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (16) Albany vs. (1) Florida 4:10 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (13) Delaware vs. (4) Michigan State 4:40 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (10) Saint Joseph's vs. (7) Connecticut 6:55 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (15) Wofford vs. (2) Michigan 7:10 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (12) NC State vs. (5) Saint Louis 7:20 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (12) North Dakota St. vs. (5) Oklahoma 7:27 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (15) Milwaukee vs. (2) Villanova 9:25 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (10) Arizona State vs. (7) Texas 9:40 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (13) Manhattan vs. (4) Louisville 9:50 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Thu, March 20 (13) New Mexico St. vs. (4) San Diego State 9:57 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (14) Mercer vs. (3) Duke 12:15 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (11) Nebraska vs. (6) Baylor 12:40 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (10) Stanford vs. (7) New Mexico 1:40 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (16) Weber State vs. (1) Arizona 2:10 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (11) Tennessee vs. (5) Massachusetts 2:45 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (14) La.-Lafayette vs. (3) Creighton 3:10 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (15) Eastern Kentucky vs. (2) Kansas 4:10 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (9) Oklahoma State vs. (8) Gonzaga 4:40 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (9) George Washington vs. (8) Memphis 6:55 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (16) Cal Poly vs. (1) Wichita State 7:10 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (11) Providence vs. (6) North Carolina 7:20 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (5) VCU 7:27 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (16) Coastal Carolina vs. (1) Virginia 9:25 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (9) Kansas State vs. (8) Kentucky 9:40 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (14) North Carolina Central vs. (3) Iowa State 9:50 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Fri, March 21 (13) Tulsa vs. (4) UCLA 9:57 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Date 3rd Round Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD Noon CBS March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 2:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 5:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 6 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 7 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 7:30 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 8:30 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Sat, March 22 3rd Round - TBD 9:30 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD Noon CBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 2:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 5:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 6 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 7 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 7:30 p.m. truTV March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 8:30 p.m. TNT March Madness Live
Sun, March 23 3rd Round - TBD 9:30 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Date Regional Semifinals Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Thu, March 27 Regional Semifinal - TBD 7 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 27 Regional Semifinal - TBD 7:15 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 27 Regional Semifinal - TBD 9:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Thu, March 27 Regional Semifinal - TBD 9:55 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 28 Regional Semifinal - TBD 7 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 28 Regional Semifinal - TBD 7:15 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 28 Regional Semifinal - TBD 9:30 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Fri, March 28 Regional Semifinal - TBD 9:55 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Date Regional Finals Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Sat, March 29 Regional Final - TBD 6 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Sat, March 29 Regional Final - TBD 8:30 p.m. TBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 30 Regional Final - TBD 2:10 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Sun, March 30 Regional Final - TBD 4:55 p.m. CBS March Madness Live
Date National Semifinals Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Sat, April 5 National Semifinal - TBD 6 p.m. TBS, TNT, truTV March Madness Live
Sat, April 5 National Semifinal - TBD 8:30 p.m. TBS, TNT, truTV March Madness Live
Date National Championship Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Mon, April 7 National Championship - TBD 9:10 p.m. CBS March Madness Live

 

Thursday Predictions

Upset of the Day: No. 13 New Mexico State over No. 4 San Diego State

The popular upset pick for Thursday's games will be No. 12 Harvard over No. 5 Cincinnati. The Crimson have only gotten better—returning Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry after their withdrawal from school due to a cheating scandal—since shocking New Mexico as the 14th seed last year, and with the Bearcats' propensity to take the air out of the ball, the game figures to be close no matter what. 

Throw in the ever-attractive 12-over-5 factor, and you can see why it's such a trendy pick.

But I'm looking at an underdog that is flying a little more under the radar. 

Well, about as far under the radar as a 7'5" man can actually fit. 

Sim Bhullar (7'5" and 360 pounds, aka nearly two Tyrion Lannisters put together), Tshilidzi Nephawe (6'10", 268 pounds) and Renaldo Dixon (6'10", 215 pounds) give the New Mexico St. Aggies some ridiculous size on the front line.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

And don't just think the Slammin' Sikh, the biggest player in the tournament, is some type of publicity stunt, either. The big boy can play. 

"He's so vastly improved," San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher told reporters, via the U-T San Diego's Mark Zeigler. "He's a force. He will make life difficult for us like he has for everyone else he's played this year."

Unsurprisingly, with Bhullar and company on the interior protecting the rim, the Aggies are holding teams to just 42.8 percent shooting inside the three-point line (11th in America) and blocking 13.5 percent of opposing teams' attempts (34th). 

In order to get consistent scoring, you're going to have to beat them from the outside. 

Unfortunately for the Aztecs, they are converting on just 33.9 percent of their three-point attempts (186th in the country) on the season, and their best scorer, Xavier Thames, is just 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) over his last five games. 

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

As a result, Fisher's squad, which is notoriously stingy on defense and notoriously inconsistent on offense, will struggle even more than usual to put points on the board against the Aggies' size.

In what will turn into a low-scoring game where neither team will be able to pull away, I'm willing to roll the dice on New Mexico State thanks to its ability to control the offensive glass and keep San Diego State from pushing the tempo. 

 

Most Intriguing Matchup: No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Manhattan

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

On a quick glance, many might overlook this matchup. Louisville is painfully under-seeded and a legitimate contender to cut down the nets in April, while Manhattan didn't even win the MAAC regular-season title. 

But you can't help but be captivated by student vs. teacher, especially when teacher's philosophies are so damn fun to watch. 

After playing for Rick Pitino at Kentucky as a freshman, Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello returned to nestle under Pitino's wing with Louisville for six more seasons before eventually taking the job with Manhattan. 

Much like Louisville, Masiello's Jaspers pressure the ball 94 feet from the basket, pushing the pace and forcing turnovers. Both teams rank in the top 60 in the country in adjusted tempo and top 20 in forced turnover percentage. 

Of course, Pitino wasn't thrilled about seeing his former protege as his second-round opponent, via USA Today's Dan Wolken:

The rest of us don't mind it one bit. Not only are the storylines intriguing for those who enjoy that kind of thing, but it also should make for one enthralling game of basketball. 

 

Underrated Player Who Will Take Over: Taylor Braun, North Dakota St.

Elijah Van Benschoten/Associated Press

There is going to be a lot of talent on display on Thursday: Aaron Craft, Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Lamar Patterson, Sean Kilpatrick, Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair, pretty much all of Florida and Michigan State's starting five, Shabazz Napier, Nik Stauskas, T.J. Warren, Russ Smith, Jahii Carson and the list goes on. 

But if you want an undervalued player capable of captivating the country and reminding everyone that North Dakota exists, look no further than Taylor Braun. 

The 6'7" senior guard does a little bit of everything. He averages 18.2 points per game, showing the ability to score from all three levelsaccording to Hoop-Math, 38.4 percent of his shots come at the rim and 27.7 percent come from behind the arc, where he connects at a healthy 44.1 percent. 

As a unique playmaker with size, he also averages 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game despite the Bison averaging a very slow 65.0 possessions per 40 minutes, per Basketball State

As Oklahoma attempts to speed up the game and neither team exhibits a whole lot of defensive chops, Braun is going to put up some massive numbers.

 

Note: All advanced stats and rankings courtesy of KenPom.com (subscription needed) unless noted otherwise.

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