Fans don't have to wait for Round 3 of the 2014 NCAA tournament, as the most popular sporting event in the nation does not take a day off—even after a wild ride in Round 2 that was littered by upsets and jaw-dropping performances.
Perhaps best of all, the action will only presumably get better as highly anticipated matchups are finally set to go down. No more blowouts as a big seed warms up against a little team.
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To get prepared for the action, here's a look at the updated Round 3 Day 1 schedule, which will be updated with results as the tournament continues.
|Time (ET)||Team A||Team B||TV||Live Steam||Result|
|12:15 p.m.||No. 1 Florida||No. 9 Pittsburgh||CBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
|2:45 p.m.||No. 4 Louisville||No. 5 St. Louis||CBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
|5:15 p.m.||No. 2 Michigan||No. 7 Texas||CBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
|6:10 p.m.||No. 4 San Diego State||No. 12 North Dakota State||TNT||March Madness Live||TBD|
|7:10 p.m.||No. 3 Syracuse||No. 11 Dayton||TBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
|7:45 p.m.||No. 2 Wisconsin||No. 7 Oregon||CBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
|8:40 p.m.||No. 4 Michigan State||No. 12 Harvard||TNT||March Madness Live||TBD|
|9:40 p.m.||No. 2 Villanova||No. 7 Connecticut||TBS||March Madness Live||TBD|
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas
It is hard to ask for a better matchup in the early goings of Round 3.
Michigan had it rather easy as it kicked things off with a 57-40 win over Wofford, and its top defense that allows an average of 64.6 points per game is a pleasure to watch for those who enjoy sound, fundamental play.
But the Wolverines have a serious test on their hands Saturday against Texas, which survived Round 2 with a last-second shot to down Arizona State, 87-85.
As Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead points out, the Longhorns are on quite the turnaround and certainly have what it takes to advance past the Wolverines:
Can't believe this, but Texas and Rick Barnes not only have a good chance against Michigan, but they'll open next season in the Top 10-15— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) March 21, 2014
The biggest issue for Michigan is the size and dominance of the Longhorns beneath the rim, as Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News illustrates:
But there’s no doubt about the Longhorns’ intentions. They play recklessly and shoot haphazardly (32 percent on 3-pointers) but led the Big 12 in rebounding and blocked 198 shots (compared to Michigan’s 83). Most impressive, they average 15 offensive rebounds, and if they’re gobbling up everything, that’s trouble for the Wolverines.
If Michigan's shots don't consistently fall, it will have a hard time keeping up as the duo of Cameron Ridley (8.2 rebounds per game) and Jonathan Holmes (7.1) absorb anything in the vicinity.
With the path to the rim closed off, Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert will not find the bottom of the net consistently enough from range to fend off the Longhorns.
Prediction: Texas 64, Michigan 60
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 7 Connecticut
Another classic Big East battle is about to occur—in spirit.
The two sides are surely prepared for another heavyweight bout, and UConn's Ryan Boatright assured reporters the team has not forgotten how to compete at that level, according to Don Amore of The Hartford Courant:
We know it's going to be a grinding, Big East-style basketball game. It's really been like that all year. SMU played like that, Cincinnati played like that. We didn't lose [that style], we just don't have the title Big East team.
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein put it best:
Old rivalries will be renewed on Saturday in Buffalo when Villanova faces UConn. Terrific matchup between two old Big East rivals.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 21, 2014
Not much has changed since the two sides last met in the old Big East, which was a 70-61 victory for Villanova. The Wildcats just blew past Milwaukee 73-53, while UConn overcame St. Joe's in overtime, 89-81.
Saturday will be a battle of opposite strengths, as the Huskies excel on defense. But the Wildcats' offense, led by James Bell (14.5 points per game) and Darrun Hilliard II (14.3), are a guard combo not many in the nation can stop.
Villanova has looked nothing short of dominant so far and gets a UConn team that is running on fumes after needing overtime to make it out of Round 2. The fatigue will rear its head in the second half.
Prediction: Villanova 78, UConn 73