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

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 20, 2014

Louisville coach Rick Pitino calls for a jump ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut in the finals of the American Athletic Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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
Date2nd RoundTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Thu, March 20(11) Dayton vs. (6) Ohio State12:15 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(15) American vs. (2) Wisconsin12:40 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(9) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Colorado1:40 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(12) Harvard vs. (5) Cincinnati2:10 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(14) Western Michigan vs. (3) Syracuse2:45 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(10) BYU vs. (7) Oregon3:10 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(16) Albany vs. (1) Florida4:10 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(13) Delaware vs. (4) Michigan State4:40 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(10) Saint Joseph's vs. (7) Connecticut6:55 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(15) Wofford vs. (2) Michigan7:10 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(12) NC State vs. (5) Saint Louis7:20 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(12) North Dakota St. vs. (5) Oklahoma7:27 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(15) Milwaukee vs. (2) Villanova9:25 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(10) Arizona State vs. (7) Texas9:40 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(13) Manhattan vs. (4) Louisville9:50 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 20(13) New Mexico St. vs. (4) San Diego State9:57 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(14) Mercer vs. (3) Duke12:15 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(11) Nebraska vs. (6) Baylor12:40 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(10) Stanford vs. (7) New Mexico1:40 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(16) Weber State vs. (1) Arizona2:10 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(11) Tennessee vs. (5) Massachusetts2:45 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(14) La.-Lafayette vs. (3) Creighton3:10 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(15) Eastern Kentucky vs. (2) Kansas4:10 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(9) Oklahoma State vs. (8) Gonzaga4:40 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(9) George Washington vs. (8) Memphis6:55 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(16) Cal Poly vs. (1) Wichita State7:10 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(11) Providence vs. (6) North Carolina7:20 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (5) VCU7:27 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(16) Coastal Carolina vs. (1) Virginia9:25 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(9) Kansas State vs. (8) Kentucky9:40 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(14) North Carolina Central vs. (3) Iowa State9:50 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 21(13) Tulsa vs. (4) UCLA9:57 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Date3rd RoundTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBDNoonCBSMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD2:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD5:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD6 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD7 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD7:30 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD8:30 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 223rd Round - TBD9:30 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBDNoonCBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD2:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD5:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD6 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD7 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD7:30 p.m.truTVMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD8:30 p.m.TNTMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 233rd Round - TBD9:30 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
DateRegional SemifinalsTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Thu, March 27Regional Semifinal - TBD7 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27Regional Semifinal - TBD7:15 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27Regional Semifinal - TBD9:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27Regional Semifinal - TBD9:55 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28Regional Semifinal - TBD7 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28Regional Semifinal - TBD7:15 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28Regional Semifinal - TBD9:30 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28Regional Semifinal - TBD9:55 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
DateRegional FinalsTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Sat, March 29Regional Final - TBD6 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Sat, March 29Regional Final - TBD8:30 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 30Regional Final - TBD2:10 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Sun, March 30Regional Final - TBD4:55 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
DateNational SemifinalsTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Sat, April 5National Semifinal - TBD6 p.m.TBS, TNT, truTVMarch Madness Live
Sat, April 5National Semifinal - TBD8:30 p.m.TBS, TNT, truTVMarch Madness Live
DateNational ChampionshipTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Mon, April 7National Championship - TBD9:10 p.m.CBSMarch 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.

Mar 15, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New Mexico State Aggies player Sim Bhullar (2) protects the ball from defending Idaho Vandals players Bira Seck (13) and Stephen Madison (34) in the championship game for the WAC Conference college basketball tournament a
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.