The first two days of the NCAA tournament are among the most hectic on the entire sports calendar. After gorging on Thursday's buffet of basketball, Friday offers an equally busy and compelling slate of games for viewers.
For those looking to catch today's March madness action, check out the full TV info below. All games can also be streamed online at NCAA.com's March Madness Live.
|NCAA Tournament Friday TV Schedule|
|Game||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|(14) Mercer vs. (3) Duke||12:15 p.m.||CBS|
|(11) Nebraska vs. (6) Baylor||12:40 p.m.||truTV|
|(10) Stanford vs. (7) New Mexico||1:40 p.m.||TBS|
|(16) Weber State vs. (1) Arizona||2:10 p.m.||TNT|
|(11) Iowa/Tennessee vs. (5) Massachusetts||2:45 p.m.||CBS|
|(14) LA-Lafayette vs. (3) Creighton||3:10 p.m.||truTV|
|(15) Eastern Kentucky vs. (2) Kansas||4:10 p.m.||TBS|
|(9) Oklahoma State vs. (8) Gonzaga||4:40 p.m.||TNT|
|(9) George Washington vs. (8) Memphis||6:55 p.m.||TBS|
|(16) Cal Poly/Texas Southern vs. (1) Wichita State||7:10 p.m.||CBS|
|(11) Providence vs. (6) North Carolina||7:20 p.m.||truTV|
|(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (5) VCU||7:27 p.m.||TNT|
|(16) Coastal Carolina vs. (1) Virginia||9:25 p.m.||TBS|
|(9) Kansas State vs. (8) Kentucky||9:40 p.m.||CBS|
|(14) North Carolina Central vs. (3) Iowa State||9:50 p.m.||TNT|
|(13) Tulsa vs. (4) UCLA||9:57 p.m.||truTV|
So what should fans be expecting from today's contests? As yesterday's action illustrated, the tourney defies prediction. Nevertheless, let's undertake this fun (yet futile) exercise and forecast some of today's most intriguing matchups.
(11) Tennessee Over (6) UMass
Tennessee was one of the last teams into the field, needing to win a First Four game over Iowa just to reach the round of 64. However, the Volunteers rank ninth in the country in overall team efficiency, making them one of the most underrated teams in the field.
Indeed, the highly skilled frontcourt of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon provide excellent interior scoring, offensive rebounding and passing to power Tennessee. Stokes, who racked up the third-most double-doubles in the country with 18, powered the Vols during the regular season and in the opening round:
UMass' strength lies in the backcourt, where Chaz Williams' slashing creates opportunities for both himself and his teammates. The Minutemen are constantly pushing the pace, and played at the 14th-fastest tempo during the regular season.
Unfortunately, UMass' defensive strength is in preventing three-pointers, rather than locking down the interior. Coupled with one of the field's highest turnover rates, the Minutemen could run themselves out of the building against a dangerous Tennessee squad.
(5) VCU Over (12) Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin has received much fanfare as a trendy upset pick. The Lumberjacks, much like their higher-seeded foes, are among the most aggressive defenses in the country, which led to the fifth-best turnover margin per game. Some believe they are this year's small-school Cinderella:
VCU was in a similar position three years ago when they made a Final Four run as an 11-seed. Shaka Smart's Rams remain the same "Havoc" full-court press team, with the No. 1 turnover percentage defense in the country. Quite simply, they remain one of the most stressful teams to face.
SFA does have a plethora of scoring options if they can keep the ball. Desmond Haymon and Nikola Gajic are legitimate spot-up shooters who stretch the floor for forward Jacob Parker, whose potpourri of post moves are a matchup nightmare.
Nevertheless, the Rams rank second in the country in defensive efficiency, and behind the backcourt tandem of Briante Weber and Rob Brandenburg, there are plenty of drive-and-kick opportunities offensively. The Lumberjacks are a dangerous squad, but VCU will survive in a rare Goliath role.
(8) Kentucky Over (9) Kansas State
The preseason No. 1 team has largely disappointed this year, but after an impressive SEC tourney showing that nearly saw them knock off Florida, Kentucky looks like a dangerous squad. John Calipari's squad has been a volatile bunch all year, but the Final Four-caliber talent remains.
Meanwhile, expectations were much lower for a Kansas State team that lost top scorer Rodney McGruder from last year's tourney squad. However, behind a historic season from freshman guard Marcus Foster, the Wildcats have staved off the expected regression:
Kansas State runs lots of high pick-and-rolls meant to provide Foster space to attack the lane. They also have a capable post scorer in Thomas Gipson, the only other player to average double-digit scoring.
However, while Kansas State is a solid perimeter team, especially defensively, they match up poorly with a massive Kentucky squad. The SEC runner-ups led the nation in offensive rebounding, and with Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein as rim protectors, Kentucky should stifle Foster and win this all-Wildcats matchup.
*All stats via KenPom.com.