The first day of the 2014 Madness was wild to say the least, with major upsets and last-second finishes that kept fans locked to the tube for more than 12 hours.
And we're just getting started.
Day 2 of the round of 64 has arrived, and more evenly matched teams are set to partake in the action. Plus, who knows? Like Thursday when No. 16 Albany gave No. 1 Florida a run for its money, anything can happen.
All Your Bracket Essentials
Here is a look at the full slate of games, with a few breakdowns after the jump.
|NCAA Tournament Round 2, Day 2 Schedule|
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Predicted Winner|
|Duke (3) vs. Mercer (14)||12:15 p.m.||CBS||Duke|
|Baylor (6) vs. Nebraska (11)||12:40 p.m.||truTV||Baylor|
|New Mexico (7) vs. Stanford (10)||1:40 p.m.||TBS||New Mexico|
|Arizona (1) vs. Weber State (16)||2:10 p.m.||TNT||Arizona|
|Massachusetts (6) vs. Tennessee (11)||2:45 p.m.||CBS||Tennessee|
|Creighton (3) vs. LA-Lafayette (14)||3:10 p.m.||truTV||Creighton|
|Kansas (2) vs. Eastern Kentucky (15)||4:10 p.m.||TBS||Kansas|
|Gonzaga (8) vs. Oklahoma State (9)||4:40 p.m.||TNT||Oklahoma St.|
|Memphis (8) vs. George Washington (9)||6:55 p.m.||TBS||Memphis|
|Wichita State (1) vs. Cal Poly (16)||7:10 p.m.||CBS||Wichita St.|
|North Carolina (6) vs. Providence (11)||7:20 p.m.||TNT||Providence|
|VCU (5) vs. Stephen F. Austin (12)||7:27 p.m.||truTV||VCU|
|Virginia (1) vs. Coastal Carolina (16)||9:25 p.m.||TBS||Virginia|
|Kentucky (8) vs. Kansas State (9)||9:40 p.m.||CBS||Kentucky|
|Iowa State (3) vs. North Carolina Central (14)||9:50 p.m.||TNT||Iowa State|
|UCLA (4) vs. Tulsa (13)||9:57 p.m.||truTV||UCLA|
Kentucky (8) vs. Kansas State (9)
Two Wildcats with plenty to prove will highlight the action on Friday.
For Kentucky, now is a chance to prove that a sluggish regular season for one of the national powerhouses was a fluke, and that a jaw-dropping recruiting class has what it takes in the clutch to take home a title.
For Kansas State, it's the chance to slay a giant and prove it belongs after a miserable 10-8 record in the Big 12.
Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, one of the starting freshmen for the Wildcats, is looking forward to the opportunity to prove the nation wrong, according to The Associated Press, via USA Today: "It's a chance for us to validate what people said we could do at the beginning of the year. We became much better in the last month or so, especially in the last two weeks. It's a new season, we get another opportunity to play, and just go out there and have fun and see what we can do."
In the NCAA tournament, a talent disparity does not mean much—but it has to count for something when the gap is this wide, as Rick Bozich of WDRB points out:
Kentucky is simply a better team on both ends of the court. The defense is elite and holds opponents to an average of 66.6 points per game while averaging in the top 20 in rebounds (26.6) and blocks (6.2). On offense, the combo of Julius Randle (15 points per game) and James Young (14.5) will be too much for Kansas State to handle now that Kentucky is finally hitting a stride at the right time.
Prediction: Kentucky 67, Kansas State 60
Gonzaga (8) vs. Oklahoma State (9)
With a date against No. 1 Arizona likely on the line, both Gonzaga and Oklahoma State would be wise not to look past each other on Friday.
Not only that, the two sides know each other well, which may give the Cowboys an advantage, according to Fran Fraschilla of ESPN:
He raises a good point, but it is important to remember the Cowboys are undersized against the Bulldogs beneath the rim thanks to Przemek Karnowski (7'1") and Sam Dower Jr. (6'9"), who both average more than 10 points and six rebounds per game.
Even better, the Bulldogs rank No. 5 in the nation in field-goal percentage, although that number is inflated thanks to WCC play. They have dropped games to the likes of Dayton, Kansas State, Memphis and BYU.
For Oklahoma State, that's the silver lining. The Cowboys are a tough squad that is accustomed to close encounters thanks to the Big 12. They have the star power with names like Marcus Smart and the overall quality defense to silence the Bulldogs before moving on to take down a No. 1 seed.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 73, Gonzaga 70