Reporting Matt Ryan
With the field of 64 officially set, the NCAA Tournament will get in to full swing today with a slate of 16 games throughout the afternoon and late evening. Here’s a look at six key matchups that could have major implications for the brackets.
1:40pm – TBS – #9 Wichita State vs. #8 Pittsburgh -
Eight versus nine games are always a toss-up in the tournament. The winner of this matchup will more than likely face Gonzaga in the second round on Saturday night and could pull off the upset against the Zags.
3:10pm -TruTv – #14 Davidson vs. #3 Marquette
Davidson has played the role of Cinderella before in the tournament, which has many people putting the Golden Eagles on upset alert, despite a share of the Big East regular season title.
4:40pm – TNT – #12 Oregon vs. #5 Oklahoma State
Twelve versus five matchups are one of the most common upsets in the NCAA Tournament. Freshman superstar Marcus Smart and the Cowboys will have an intriguing game with Pac-12 tourney winning Oregon, that could go anywhere from a blowout to a buzzer beater.
7:15pm – CBS – #13 South Dakota State vs. #4 Michigan
This matchup may be the most intriguing during the first two days of the Big Dance. Michigan is a young team that many people have going all the way to Atlanta or getting their bracket busted on day one against a South Dakota State team led by Nate Wolters, the best player in the nation you’ve never heard of.
7:20pm – TNT – #11 Belmont vs. #6 Arizona
Its hard to call Belmont a mid-major anymore, especially since the Nashville-based school is in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in eight years. However all their previous postseason trips were one and done campaigns. Their luck could change today against an Arizona team that missed last year’s tourney, after going to the Elite Eight in 2011. A win for the Wildcats could set up a Southwest showdown on Saturday against New Mexico.
9:57 – TruTv – #13 Montana vs. #4 Syracuse
The Orange had a first day scare last year as a top seed against UNC-Asheville and could be in for a long day against the twice defending Big Sky conference champion-Grizzlies.