You've already thrown away one day of work for the 2014 NCAA tournament, why not make it two?
All Your Bracket Essentials:
According to The Columbus Dispatch's Mark Williams, the Big Dance costs an estimated "$1.2 billion for each unproductive hour of work during the first week of the tournament. That total was determined by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, who multiplied a total of 50 million people watching the NCAA tournament by $24.31 an hour.
With so much great college basketball on, how do you expect to get anything done?
It's going to be more of the same on Friday, with plenty of enticing matchups to come.
|2014 NCAA Tournament Schedule—March 21|
|12:15 p.m.||No. 3 Duke||No. 14 Mercer||CBS||Duke|
|12:40 p.m.||No. 6 Baylor||No. 11 Nebraska||TruTV||Baylor|
|1:40 p.m.||No. 7 New Mexico||No. 10 Stanford||TBS||New Mexico|
|2:10 p.m.||No. 1 Arizona||No. 16 Weber State||TNT||Arizona|
|2:45 p.m.||No. 6 UMass||No. 11 Tennessee||CBS||Tennessee|
|3:10 p.m.||No. 3 Creighton||No. 14 UL-Lafayette||TruTV||Creighton|
|4:10 p.m.||No. 2 Kansas||No. 15 Eastern Kentucky||TBS||Kansas|
|4:40 p.m.||No. 8 Gonzaga||No. 9 Oklahoma State||TNT||Oklahoma State|
|6:55 p.m.||No. 8 Memphis||No. 9 George Washington||TBS||Memphis|
|7:10 p.m.||No. 1 Wichita State||No. 16 Cal Poly||CBS||Wichita State|
|7:20 p.m.||No. 6 North Carolina||No. 11 Providence||TNT||Providence|
|7:27 p.m.||No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth||No. 12 Stephen F. Austin||TruTV||VCU|
|9:20 p.m.||No. 1 Virginia||No. 16 Coastal Carolina||TBS||Virginia|
|9:45 p.m.||No. 8 Kentucky||No. 9 Kansas state||CBS||Kentucky|
|9:50 p.m.||No. 3 Iowa State||No. 14 N.C. Central||TNT||Iowa State|
|9:57 p.m.||No. 4 UCLA||No. 13 Tulsa||TruTV||Tulsa|
|Sports Media Watch|
Teams to Watch
No. 11 Tennessee
It says a lot about how well the selection committee did that No. 11 Tennessee is favored by four points against No. 6 Massachusetts, according to VegasInsider.com. For what it's worth, Ken Pomeroy has the 11th-seeded Volunteers ranked 10th in the entire country, at the time of writing.
Yet they still needed to beat Iowa on Wednesday just to get to this point.
The Vols caught fire in February and haven't really cooled off. They won five of six to end the regular season and nearly upset No. 1 Florida in the SEC tournament.
Tennessee plays really good defense, and the combination of Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae can be unplayable.
A possible Duke-Tennessee matchup would be interesting to watch.
No. 9 Oklahoma State
Like a president entering the final years of his term, Marcus Smart is entering the legacy-building period. Up until now, his flopping, tantrums and shoving of a fan have overshadowed his prodigious talent.
With a deep run in the NCAA tournament, though, Smart can leave a positive lasting impression, since he's almost certainly entering the NBA draft.
Bleacher Report's C.J. Moore made the point that there's still much of Smart's legacy that can be written this month.
The Oklahoma State star disagreed:
"I think my legacy is already defined," Smart said when asked if the next few weeks will help redefine his legacy. "I'm a hard worker, teammate. I like to make my teammates better. I'm kind, but like Kevin Durant said, don't let the kindness fool you. Don't take it for weakness. Between those lines, I talk trash, I'm physical, I don't respect you."
As a whole, the West Region is pretty weak. If Smart is on top of his game, it's not crazy to envision the Cowboys in the Final Four.
Should that happen, Jeff Orr would only be a distant memory.
No. 1 Wichita State
Oliver Stone is watching the 2014 NCAA tournament with a determined focus. The Midwest Region is rife with conspiracy theories, mostly surrounding how the selection committee wanted to exterminate Wichita State as early as possibly.
Regarding a possible conspiracy, CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel wrote that the committee couldn't have created this problem by sheer coincidence:
Case in point, B: Louisville as a No. 4 seed and having a de facto home game in the Sweet 16 against No. 1 seed Wichita State. We can debate whether Louisville deserved to be seeded so poorly, but what we cannot debate is what is being asked of Wichita State. The top seeds are supposed to be geographically protected, helped out if possible but not completely screwed at a minimum. And Wichita State was completely screwed.
Any idea how far Louisville is from Indianapolis? About 90 minutes by car. It's nothing. And southern Indiana is a hotbed of Louisville fans. Louisville is more than comfortable at Indy.
And that's the team, and the city, likely awaiting Wichita State in the Sweet 16.
One way or the other, clearly the selection committee begrudgingly put the Shockers as a No. 1 seed. Then it set them up to fail.
Nobody is expecting Wichita State to fall to Cal Poly, but it's important for the Missouri Valley champions to not give any ammunition to the doubters and validate any lack of respect.
No. 2 Kansas
Kansas head coach Bill Self revealed that Joel Embiid could be back on the court by next week, per USA Today's Gary Mihoces:
"We said all along he would be the longest of long shots for this weekend, but that hasn't by any stretch ruled out next weekend. And he's making progress in rehab," Self said Thursday.
If Kansas advances, Self said he is "very optimistic" Embiid can return to practice next week. "If that is the case, there would be a chance he can play," said Self.
Matt Tait of KUSports.com snapped a photo of the freshman big man shooting around ahead of Kansas' game with Eastern Kentucky, so that's an encouraging sign:
The Jayhawks should breeze past the Colonels without Embiid. Should they struggle, though, it may be an ominous sign for the later rounds.
With everybody healthy, Kansas has a great chance of winning the national title. But there's no guarantee of when Embiid will be back and whether he'll immediately pick right back up from where he left off.
Trouncing Eastern Kentucky will at least prevent any more doubts from creeping in.
No. 3 Iowa State
The East Region is anybody's to win. Virginia is arguably the weakest No. 1 seed in the tournament, and the same could be said about Villanova regarding the four No. 2 seeds.
That opens the door for both Iowa State and Michigan State. The Spartans beat Delaware 93-78 on Thursday and looked every bit a Final Four threat. Now, the onus is on the Cyclones to do the same in their matchup with North Carolina Central.
Given his history at the school, Fred Hoiberg is one of those guys you can't help but root for:
If he can lead Iowa State to the Final Four, maybe he'll get promoted to governor.