And there were 24. The field is shrinking and the NCAA Tournament will close out its first weekend of action with eight matchups on schedule today. These games will consist of the winners from Friday’s contests, including Sherwood Brown who helped Florida Gulf Coast make history against Otto Porter and Georgetown. Meanwhile, Kansas nearly made history shortly after for the opposite reasons against Western Kentucky. Here’s a look at what to watch for.
12:15pm – CBS – #10 Iowa State vs. #2 Ohio State
The Cyclones had little trouble getting past Notre Dame on Friday night and will look to continue their bracket-busting ways in their matchup with the Big Ten Tournament-winners Ohio State. The Buckeyes had an even easier contest in their opening game, defeating Iona by 25 points and getting a combined 44 points from Deshaun Thomas and Sam Thompson.
2:45pm – CBS – #9 Temple vs. #1 Indiana
While the Hoosiers are a heavy favorite to reach the Sweet Sixteen for a second straight year, many are unsure of how far this team can go in the Big Dance. Temple hasn’t advanced to the second week of action since 2001, when the Owls made it to the Elite Eight as an 11-seed.
5:15pm – CBS – #8 North Carolina vs. #1 Kansas
The pressure will be mounting for the Jayhawks after their nail-biter against Western Kentucky on Friday. Kansas trailed 31-30 at halftime and were up by only five points in the closing minutes, despite the Hilltoppers 25% second half shooting in the paint. North Carolina won’t struggle to score against Kansas’s forwards like Western Kentucky did. Another slow start could mean another early exit for Bill Self’s squad.
6:10pm – TNT – #11 Minnesota vs. #3 Florida
Minnesota played up to its potential in their crushing win over UCLA and will now face a Gator squad that limited the nation’s highest scoring team to 47 points in its last game.
7:10pm – TBS – #15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. #7 San Diego State
Seven 15-seeds have won a game in the NCAA Tournament, but none have advanced past the round of 32 and in to the second weekend of play. Sherwood Brown and Florida Gulf Coast will look to buck that trend against an Aztec squad coming off a 15-point win against Oklahoma.
7:4opm – TruTv – #13 La Salle vs. #12 Ole Miss
At least one double digit seed will be advancing today. The Explores tournament run wasn’t assured beyond Wednesday night, but after a play-in win over Boise State and upsetting Kansas State, La Salle has its sights on the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1955. They will be facing a Rebels squad led by Marshall Henderson that is having a banner year of their own, with an SEC tournament title and upset against fifth-seeded Wisconsin to its credit.
8:40pm – TNT – #7 Illinois vs. #2 Miami
The Hurricanes are a heavy favorite to win their region and make it to the Final Four in Atlanta. Illinois played inconsistent at times during the regular season, but the Fighting Illini have also victories over two number one seeds in this tournament (Gonzaga and Indiana).
9:4opm – TBS – #7 Creighton vs. #2 Duke
Duke did more than just take care of business on Friday by avoiding its same fate from a year ago. The duo of Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee combined for 49 points keeping the Blue Devils in control of the game throughout their 12 point win over Albany. Meanwhile, All-American Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays are looking to breakthrough to the Sweet Sixteen and further establish themselves as an elite program.