With Saturday, the fourth day of the NCAA tournament, about to begin, the third round should offer plenty of great TV when teams like Arizona, North Carolina and Kansas take the court.
The first day of the round of 32 produced some memorable moments, but with three of the four top seeds in play with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line, the second day of the round could be even better.
Read on for a full TV schedule and viewing info for the third round’s second slate of games, as well as for a preview of some of Saturday’s top matchups.
|Game||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|(10) Stanford vs. (2) Kansas||12:15||CBS|
|(8) Kentucky vs. (1) Wichita State||2:45||CBS|
|(6) North Carolina vs. (3) Iowa State||5:15||CBS|
|(14) Mercer vs. (11) Tennessee||6:10||TNT|
|(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (4) UCLA||7:10||TBS|
|(6) Baylor vs. (3) Creigton||7:45||truTV|
|(8) Memphis vs. (1) Virginia||8:40||TNT|
|(8) Gonzaga vs. (1) Arizona||9:40||TBS|
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(6) North Carolina vs. (3) Iowa State
Few teams have been as tough to analyze this season as the North Carolina Tar Heels.
After starting the season terribly and reeling off a huge win streak before collapsing in the ACC tournament, Roy Williams’ squad seemingly defies prediction.
That streak continued in its opening game against the Providence Friars, when the Tar Heels just barely managed to squeak by the No. 11 seed, 79-77.
Now, their next matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones presents a huge challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
The Cyclones boast a very efficient offense, as they entered the tournament ranked sixth in the nation in points per game and first in assists.
However, where UNC can take advantage is on the offensive glass.
The Tar Heels score plenty on their own, putting in 76.3 points per game, but they can make the up the difference by taking advantage of their talent for offensive rebounding.
The Heels rank 14th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game—the Cyclones come in more than 200 spots later at No. 232.
The team’s offensive rebounding advantage was a big reason it could outlast Providence, as ESPN’s Jake Trotter noted.
UNC is just mauling Providence on the glass. Tar Heels with 11-4 rebounding edge, already eight second chance points.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 21, 2014
Fred Hoiberg’s bunch are excellent on both ends of the floor, but if players like James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson—who each average more than two offensive boards per game—can start beating them down low, UNC could pull the upset.
(14) Mercer vs. (11) Tennessee
This matchup of two lowly seeded teams might seem inconsequential, but whichever one wins could very well end up making a deep run into the tournament.
However, the Volunteers defense shouldn’t be undervalued.
Tennessee was able to hold Massachusetts to 67 points in its second-round matchup—the Minutemen normally average a little over 76 per contest. Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin told The Associated Press’ Aaron Beard via Boston.com:
They understand and I guess they realize when you defend at the level we’re capable of defending at, these are the results behind it. They've really bought into it and embraced the fact that we can defend the way we defend because you can still score the ball, but scoring is a lot better when you can defend like this.
But, much like the Heels, Tennessee’s real advantage could come when this stifling defense is combined with hard work on the offensive glass, as Yahoo!’s Brad Evans predicted.
Tennessee absolutely WHOPPIN' on UMass. Volunteers' offensive rebounding prowess and defense will likely end Mercer's Cinderella dream.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) March 21, 2014
After all, the Vols rank 20th in offensive rebounds per game, while Mercer sits at 118th.
Mercer’s senior leadership and offensive efficiency can’t be discounted, but it does seem as if Martin’s squad has a real advantage in these two key areas.
If the Volunteers can actually take this one, they’d be quite the story.
A tough matchup with Michigan would await them in the Sweet 16, but even a trip there would be a big win for the program after some down years.
Similarly, if UNC gets through, Villanova awaits. But considering the season’s turmoil for the Tar Heels, anything past the third round has to be a plus.
Both these matchups will be difficult for UNC and Tennessee, but a pair of wins would really help to bolster two traditionally strong programs going through rough patches.