The First Four games of the NCAA tournament in Dayton are officially in the books, which means fans are now left with the familiar 64-team bracket.
The conclusion of the initial games also means some of the long-shots in the field have been removed from the tournament odds.
All Your Bracket Essentials:
With that in mind, here is a look at the updated tournament odds as of Wednesday, March 19.
|Odds to Win the 2014 NCAA Tournent|
|San Diego State||65-1|
|North Carolina State||900-1|
|North Dakota State||1,000-1|
If you haven’t called in sick to work yet, make sure you do before the round of 64 games get underway. Here is the complete schedule. Keep in mind that every NCAA tournament game is live streamed on NCAA.com/march-madness-live.
|NCAA Tournament Round of 64 Schedule: South Region|
|3/20||30 min. after Colorado vs. Pittsburgh||No. 1 Florida||No. 16 Albany||TBS|
|3/20||1:40 p.m.||No. 8 Colorado||No. 9 Pittsburgh||TBS|
|3/21||7:27 p.m.||No. 5 VCU||No. 12 Stephen F. Austin||truTV|
|3/21||30 min after VCU vs. Stephen F. Austin||No. 4 UCLA||No. 13 Tulsa||truTV|
|3/21||30 min after New Mexico vs. Stanford||No. 2 Kansas||No. 15 Eastern Kentucky||TBS|
|3/21||1:40 p.m.||No. 7 New Mexico||No. 10 Stanford||TBS|
|3/20||30 min after Ohio State vs. Dayton||No. 3 Syracuse||No. 14 Western Michigan||CBS|
|3/20||12:15 p.m.||No. 6 Ohio State||No. 11 Dayton||CBS|
|NCAA Tournament Television Schedule: East Region|
|3/21||30 min after Memphis vs. George Washington||No. 1 Virginia||No. 16 Coastal Carolina||TBS|
|3/21||6:55 p.m.||No. 8 Memphis||No. 9 George Washington||TBS|
|3/20||2:10 p.m.||No. 5 Cincinnati||No. 12 Harvard||TNT|
|3/20||30 min after Cincinnati vs. Harvard||No. 4 Michigan State||No. 13 Delaware||TNT|
|3/20||30 min after Connecticut vs. Saint Joseph's||No. 2 Villanova||No. 15 Milwaukee||TBS|
|3/20||6:55 p.m.||No. 7 Connecticut||No. 10 Saint Joseph's||TBS|
|3/21||30 min after North Carolina vs. Providence||No. 3 Iowa State||No. 14 NC Central||TNT|
|3/21||7:20 p.m.||No. 6 North Carolina||No. 11 Providence||TNT|
|NCAA Tournament Television Schedule: West Region|
|3/21||2:10||No. 1 Arizona||No. 16 Weber State||TNT|
|3/21||30 min after Arizona vs. Weber State||No. 8 Gonzaga||No. 9 Oklahoma State||TNT|
|3/20||7:27 p.m.||No. 5 Oklahoma||No. 12 North Dakota State||truTV|
|3/20||30 min after Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State||No. 4 San Diego State||No. 13 New Mexico State||truTV|
|3/20||12:40 p.m.||No. 2 Wisconsin||No. 15 American||truTV|
|3/20||30 min after Wisconsin vs. BYU||No. 7 Oregon||No. 10 BYU||truTV|
|3/21||30 min after Baylor vs. Nebraska||No. 3 Creighton||No. 14 Louisiana||truTV|
|3/21||12:40 p.m.||No. 6 Baylor||No. 11 Nebraska||truTV|
|NCAA Tournament Television Schedule: Midwest Region|
|3/21||7:10 p.m.||No. 1 Wichita State||No. 16 Cal Poly||CBS|
|3/21||30 min after Wichita State vs. Cal Poly/Texas Southern||No. 8 Kentucky||No. 9 Kansas State||CBS|
|3/20||7:20 p.m.||No. 5 Saint Louis||No. 12 NC State||TNT|
|3/20||30 min after Saint Louis vs. NC State/Xavier||No. 4 Louisville||No. 13 Manhattan||TNT|
|3/20||7:10 p.m.||No. 2 Michigan||No. 15 Wofford||CBS|
|3/20||30 min after Michigan vs. Wofford||No. 7 Texas||No. 10 Arizona State||CBS|
|3/21||12:15 p.m.||No. 3 Duke||No. 14 Mercer||CBS|
|3/21||30 min after Duke vs. Mercer||No. 6 Massachusetts||No. 11 Tennessee||CBS|
Now that we know what the schedule looks like, let’s dig into a discussion about some of the many intriguing round of 64 games.
No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 10 Saint Joseph’s
It wasn’t that long ago that Saint Joseph’s appeared to be on the outside of the bubble looking in, but an Atlantic 10 tournament championship put the Hawks safely in the field.
Saint Joseph’s is led by Langston Galloway on the outside and Halil Kanacevic on the wing. Galloway averaged better than 17 points a game this year and is a lethal three-point shooter that will stretch Connecticut’s defense.
However, it is Kanacevic that will turn the most heads in this game.
At 6’8”, he is a walking mismatch who can handle the ball, crash the boards, score from outside or in the lane, block shots on the defensive end of the floor and set up his teammates. In fact, Kanacevic led the team in assists at 4.4 per game.
On the Connecticut side, the Huskies are returning to the Big Dance after missing out last year thanks to NCAA sanctions. Coach Kevin Ollie said he is proud of how his team fought through the penalties, according to The Associated Press, via the USA Today:
"There were some dark days there. But everybody in life is going to have dark days. I'm just so proud of the guys, how they stayed together, planting seeds."
Shabazz Napier is the unquestioned star for the Huskies.
He has hit a number of clutch shots in his career, including the game winner against Florida this season, and can take over a game single-handedly. He and Ryan Boatright make up one of the most athletic backcourts in the country, one that has no issue driving past defenders. They also force a number of turnovers a game.
Looking forward, if Connecticut wins against the Hawks it could set up an old Big East reunion with Villanova in the round of 32.
Regardless of the No. 2 seed next to Villanova on the bracket, there is familiarity in this matchup, which makes an upset a very real possibility. Napier is more than talented enough to lead the Huskies past the Wildcats, especially considering they are the last team to beat the overall No. 1 seed Florida Gators.
No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford
New Mexico comes into the NCAA tournament with its version of a “big three” that will give Kansas issues down low in the round of 32 without Joel Embiid.
However, before fans are treated to that matchup, the Lobos will have to get past Stanford.
Cameron Bairstow, who averaged 20.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a game, and Alex Kirk control the paint and the boards. They also block better than four shots per game as a tandem and will give the Lobos an interior advantage over almost every team in the tournament.
Throw in Kendall Williams as an excellent scorer and three-point shooter, and New Mexico is loaded with talent.
New Mexico will have to deal with Chasson Randle, who averaged nearly 19 points per game from the guard position, and Dwight Powell, who scored 14.2 points and grabbed 6.9 rebounds a game.
An impressive performance from Powell on the big stage of the NCAA tournament will turn some heads in NBA circles.
No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska
Baylor was 2-8 in the Big 12 at one point and headed to the NIT at the very best.
Since then, the Bears have only lost two games, one of which came in the Big 12 championship against Iowa State.
Baylor brings talent across the board to this matchup with its old conference mate in Nebraska. Cory Jefferson, Isaiah Austin and Royce O’Neale give the Bears a formidable frontcourt that should be able to control the rebounding department against the Huskers. Throw in Brady Heslip and Kenny Chery on the outside, and Baylor is going to be dangerous throughout the entire tournament.
As for Nebraska, this will be the program’s first tournament appearance since 1998.
The Cornhuskers beat Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten this year and have Terran Petteway to lead the way on the offensive end. Nebraska does struggle to score at times, but perhaps the bigger concern is how it will handle the tournament pressure.
The Huskers blew an 18-point lead against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten tournament and looked completely overwhelmed by the moment. If the conference tournament was too much to handle, the NCAA tournament probably will be as well.
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