The round of 64 and the accompanying office pools begin on Thursday, but the NCAA tournament is under way with the First Four games in Dayton.
North Carolina State, behind an incredible performance from ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren, knocked off Xavier 74-59, and Albany held off Mount St. Mary’s 71-64 for the right to play overall No. 1 seed Florida.
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Cal Poly kicked off Wednesday’s schedule with an 81-69 victory over Texas Southern. Iowa plays Tennessee in the nightcap.
Here is a look at the updated schedule for the round of 64 with the first round winners taken into account.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
Cal Poly 81, Texas Southern 69
Cal Poly finished the regular season with an abysmal 10-19 record and improved it to 13-19 with three straight wins in the Big West Conference tournament.
Some people may have their doubts about a team entering the Big Dance six games under .500, but head coach Joe Callero seemed to have the right attitude, according to Rusty Miller of The Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports:
''If we win the national championship, we'll have a winning record. We have to win seven straight."
One down, six to go.
The Mustangs knocked out Texas Southern 81-69. Chris Eversley led the way for his team with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Dave Nwaba added 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Cal Poly held a 44-32 halftime lead, but it had to deal with Aaric Murray's quick start, as ESPN College Basketball pointed out:
Aaric Murray with 13 of Texas Southern's 19 points, but it's Cal Poly with the three point lead at the 11:18 mark. #FirstFour— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 19, 2014
Murray is a West Virginia transfer and had his way with the Mustangs down low. He finished with an incredible 38 points and was the only one keeping the Tigers in the game throughout the late first half and early second half.
Looking forward, Cal Poly's issues containing Murray down low will probably rear their ugly head against Wichita State in the round of 64. Cleanthony Early checks in at 6'8" and will dominate the Mustangs in the paint if they play the same interior defense they did against the Tigers.
Anthony averaged 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a night. He is versatile enough to score from the outside or down low, but, assuming he watched film on Cal Poly, expect him to set up camp on the block in the round of 64.
To the Mustangs' credit, every time it looked like Murray was going to bring the Tigers back, they had an answer.
Cal Poly hit six three-pointers on the game and exploited Texas Southern's 317th-ranked pace-adjusted defense, per Ken Pomeroy. The Mustangs averaged 63 points a game during the season, so their offensive output was a difference-maker in this one.
The lead hovered between 10 and 14 for much of the second half, but Texas Southern closed the gap to seven with just more than two minutes to play. It never got closer than that, though, as the Mustangs hit timely free throws down the stretch.
Tennessee 78, Iowa 65 (Overtime)
Iowa was in control of its First Four contest with Tennessee for the majority of the game and even held a double-digit lead at one point.
March Madness can be a cruel mistress.
The Volunteers went on a 7-0 run to close the first half, cutting the lead to 29-26. From there, they used that momentum to battle back-and-forth with an Iowa team that had climbed as high as No. 10 in the polls during the season.
The lead never stretched to more than three points in either direction during the final four minutes of regulation, as the opposing offenses traded critical basket after critical basket. Iowa superstar Roy Devyn Marble, who struggled from the field all game and finished with seven points on 3-of-15 shooting, hit a fade-away jumper with 18 seconds left to put the game in overtime.
From there, Tennessee dominated.
The Vols outscored Iowa 14-1 in overtime, and what was ruled an intentional foul was the unofficial end to the game. Tennessee got two foul shots and the ball and stretched its lead all the way to double digits.
Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports did not agree with the call:
Just a foul, low water mark, stupid call…this crew is awful—— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 20, 2014
Jordan McRae led the way with 20 points, while Jarnell Stokes added 18 points and 13 rebounds. On the Iowa side, Adam Woodbury paced the scoring with 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Looking ahead, Tennessee will now play Massachusetts in the round of 64.
If we base that contest on Pomeroy’s rankings, the Vols are the better team. Tennessee ranks No. 11 in the entire country despite its designation as No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, while Massachusetts checks in at No. 50.
Don’t be surprised if the Volunteers advance to at least the round of 32.
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