The first two days of the NCAA tournament are among the most hectic on the sports calendar. For those who couldn't quite keep up with the 16 games from Thursday, here's a link to an updated bracket via Turner Sports, as well as a one-stop shop for all your bracket essentials:
For those playing hooky to try and keep up with another 16-game buffet on Friday, check out all the TV information you'll need below:
|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 contests should fans look forward to? Here's a quick breakdown of the best contests remaining in the round of 64.
(10) Stanford vs. (7) New Mexico
New Mexico has disappointed during the tournament in recent years, culminating with a round of 64 exit as a No. 3 seed last season. However, with lower expectations and second-seeded Kansas looming for the winner of this game, the stars are starting to align for this year's Lobos squad:
@tkane7 Per BPI New Mexico has 20% chance of making Sweet 16. Risese to 31% if you adjust KU's BPI down for what it is in 5 games w/o Embiid— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 19, 2014
Of course, Stanford does not represent a second-round cakewalk. The Cardinal are one of the most experienced teams in the field, a trait that manifests itself in disciplined play and patience in shot selection. Guard Chasson Randle leads the team with 18.9 points per game, playing nearly 35 minutes per game and doing much of his damage from beyond the arc.
Conversely, New Mexico is a team built inside-out, with an excellent frontcourt tandem in Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk. The Lobos are a similarly deliberate and smart team, and the two teams should play a contest with few turnovers or head-scratching shot selections.
New Mexico is probably better equipped to exploit a Joel Embiid-less Kansas squad in the third round. Still, facing a low-variance Stanford team that will likely keep itself in the game, there is no guarantee the Lobos even receive the opportunity to upset the Jayhawks.
(11) Providence vs. (6) North Carolina
It's axiomatic to say that guard play is one of the defining factors of March Madness success. If that is truly the case, then both these squads have compelling cases as dark horses to make deep tourney runs.
The Big East champs feature senior guard Bryce Cotton, who leads Providence with 21.7 points per game. The two-time unanimous All-Big East first-team selection is not only a scorer, as he also leads the Friars in assists with 5.9 per contest.
His adversary will be Marcus Paige, whose midseason rise has lifted North Carolina after some early-season doldrums. Paige averages 17.1 points per game, and though the Carolina point guard has had some nagging injuries throughout the regular season, he declared himself good to go for the round of 64 showdown:
Marcus Paige: "I'm good - my thumb's fine … feeling good. Thigh's getting better."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) March 18, 2014
The Tar Heels are not as deep as they are accustomed to being, but in James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina has the secondary option that Providence simply does not possess. Still, there is not enough high-end talent from Carolina to make this an obvious mismatch, and Cotton is a game-changing force capable of carrying the Friars into the round of 32.
(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (5) VCU
The most frenetic game of the second-round slate will occur in San Diego, where a pair of high-pressure defenses accustomed to creating chaos for others will receive a taste of their own medicine. Both Stephen F. Austin and VCU are among the best in the country at creating turnovers, and the contest will come down to which team can limit the transition baskets for the other.
The 12th-seeded Lumberjacks are one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 28 consecutive games. The Southland Conference champs are led by forward Jacob Parker, who paces the team with 14.2 points per game. Parker is a nightmare for opposing defenses to contain, as his mid-range jumpers and potpourri of post moves make him a multifaceted weapon.
Stephen F. Austin has won 28 games in a row. Has a potential VCU-UCLA draw in first two rounds. Possible FGCU of '14?— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) March 19, 2014
VCU utilizes its speedy backcourt of Briante Weber and Rob Brandenberg to penetrate and create opportunities for others. But while the Rams are a drive-and-kick team in the half court, their real means of offense is their top-ranked 26.0 turnover percentage on defense, which leads to a plethora of easy layups and dunks.
If either team can crack the other's press and set up in the half court, the formidable defenses will be at a sudden disadvantage. Both teams can run into some trouble with gambling on pressure, so their overlapping styles should make for a wildly entertaining contest.