After a wild start to the 2014 NCAA tournament, the third round of March Madness concludes on Sunday with several marquee matchups.
Will the 2014 NCAA tournament exceed the excitement of the 2013 tournament?
With several of the top programs in the nation playing and plenty of Cinderella teams still alive, the final games of Round 3 promise to be some of the most entertaining basketball action thus far.
Here is all the updated bracket information, Sunday’s schedule and a full slate of predictions.
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|Time (ET)||Matchup||TV||Predicted Winner|
|12:15 p.m.||(10) Stanford vs. (2) Kansas||CBS||Kansas|
|2:45 p.m.||(8) Kentucky vs. (1) Wichita State||CBS||Wichita State|
|5:15 p.m.||(6) North Carolina vs. (3) Iowa State||CBS||North Carolina|
|6:10 p.m.||(14) Mercer vs. (11) Tennessee||Turner Network Television||Mercer|
|7:10 p.m.||(12) Stephen F. Austin vs. (4) UCLA||TBS||Stephen F. Austin|
|7:40 p.m.||(6) Baylor vs. (3) Creighton||truTV||Creighton|
|8:40 p.m.||(8) Memphis vs. (1) Virginia||Turner Network Television||Virginia|
|9:40 p.m.||(8) Gonzaga vs. (1) Arizona||TBS||Arizona|
Sunday’s Best Matchup: No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers vs. No. 14 Mercer Bears
After knocking off the Massachusetts Minutemen in the second round, the No. 11-seeded Tennessee Volunteers look to continue the dream run deep into the NCAA tournament by knocking off the No. 14-seeded Mercer Bears.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, Mercer is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now and coming off a huge 78-71 upset victory over the No. 3-seeded Duke Blue Devils.
With momentum on the Bears’ side, the Volunteers are in serious trouble.
When asked about Mercer’s success in the Big Dance, Belmont head coach Rick Byrd spoke to David Climer of The Tennessean regarding conference rival and Mercer coach Bob Hoffman heading into Sunday’s third-round matchup:
I’m not sure I’ve ever coached against anybody that does so many different things on offense. He runs 100 set plays with multiple screening action. … It’s different coaching against somebody that runs so many set plays as opposed to a team that runs motion and ball-screens all the time.
Bob practices his offense every day, but you’re coming in with a limited amount of preparation time. You can’t really prepare for everything they do. You have to be sound defensively and try to adjust as the game goes on.
While the Bears are clearly one of the hottest teams in the sport right now, WWE manager Zeb Colter believes he would have coached Duke to a victory:
Tennessee deserves immense credit for making it this far in the tourney. The program knocked off a tough Iowa team in the first round to earn its place in the field of 64 and followed it up with a hard-fought victory in the second round against UMass.
Who ya got?
Mercer boasts a superior offense that not only averages more points per game (79.3) than Tennessee but also is incredibly efficient from the field (.475 field-goal percentage) and is the definition of unselfish (16.4 assists per game).
After winning the Atlantic Sun Conference championship and knocking off Duke in the second round, the Bears are one of the hottest teams in the nation and will continue the dream run into the Sweet 16.
Predicted Winner: Mercer 77, Tennessee 67
*Stats via ESPN.com.