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NCAA Tournament: Previewing Day 1 of the Round of 32

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Harvard will look to continue their bracket-busting ways (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images).

Harvard will look to continue their bracket-busting ways (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images).

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The field has now been cut in half as the Round of 32 begins with eight matchups on schedule today. New Mexico is the most notable school that didn’t survive and advance on Thursday, after being eliminated by fourteenth-seeded Harvard.  However, the Mountain West-champion Lobos weren’t the only high seed that had a close call. Top-ranked Gonzaga only led Southern University by two points in the closing minutes of their opening round game and third-seeded Marquette had to make a comeback to prevent Davidson’s upset win.  Here’s a look at what to watch for in today’s games.

12:15pm – CBS – #5 VCU vs. #4 Michigan

Shaka Smart’s team wasted little time putting an end to Akron’s season with a 88-42 win in their opening round game. The stakes will get higher and more difficult against Michigan’s talented lineup of underclassmen.

2:45pm – CBS – #6 Memphis vs. #3 Michigan State

The Wolverine’s in-state rival from Lansing will tip off shortly after their contest, against a Memphis team that has survived close calls in its last two games. The Tigers needed double overtime time to beat Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA title game and held off Saint Mary’s in the final seconds of their game two days ago.

5:15pm – CBS = #8 Colorado State vs. #1 Louisville

After winning their first NCAA Tournament game in 23 years, the Rams will have the follow up their dominant win with a matchup against number one-overall seed Louisville. The Cardinals are coming off a 79-48 win over North Carolina A&T.

6:10pm – TNT  – #14 Harvard vs. #6 Arizona

The Crimson are coming off their first tournament win in program history and will now face another Southwest hoops power with a Sweet Sixteen berth on the line. Harvard will be in for another tough matchup against Arizona, a team in control for the majority of their game against Belmont.

7:10pm – TBS – #12 Oregon vs. #4 Saint Louis

The 12-seeds went 3-1 in the second round, a trend started by the Ducks in their 13-point win over Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State on Thursday afternoon. Saint Louis dominated New Mexico State 64-44 in their opening game and another victory for the Billikens would send them to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1957.

7:45pm – CBS – #6 Butler vs. #3 Marquette

Butler played like the favorite in their game against Bucknell, rather than as a scrappy underdog. Instead, that role was played by the Davidson Wildcats on Thursday, who couldn’t hold on to their seven point-lead against Marquette with 93 seconds left in regulation. The pressure will be on the Golden Eagles to avoid a similar fate against another future member of the new Big East.

8:40pm – TNT – #9 Wichita State vs. #1 Gonzaga

Even before their scare against Southern University, the Zags were a popular pick to go out in the second round. Wichita State has played the role of Cinderella before by going to the Sweet Sixteen as a 7-seed in 2006. Another slow start for the Zags could put their Final Four hopes in danger and extend the Shockers season to the second weekend of the tourney.

9:40pm – TBS – #12 California vs. #4 Syracuse

Like Thursday night,  The Orange will once again play in the final game of the evening. Syracuse beat Montana by more than 50 points and will look to have that moment carry over against the Golden Bears, who joined their fellow Pac-12 member Oregon, as a bracket buster in the round of 64.

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