11 Miami-Florida Hurricanes - South Regionvs. 3
Tip-off: 12:10pm (all times Eastern), CBS (Ian Eagle/Chris Webber/Len Elmore/Evan Washburn)
Tip-off: 2:40pm (approximate), CBS (Ian Eagle/Chris Webber/Len Elmore/Evan Washburn)
Game to watch: Wichita State vs. Miami
Miami keeps flying under everyone's radar as a legitimate Final Four team and title contender, but a great compilation of veteran talent and good guard play from multiple guys should have more people taking notice. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes have to take on the top KenPom defense in the country in Wichita State, who has allowed just 105 points combined to Vanderbilt and Arizona in its first two tournament games.
It's an interesting match-up, as the Shockers haven't played anyone quite as good as Miami and will have to do so playing their third game in five days. Still, as a 3 seed, I can't imagine many teams the Hurricanes would want to play less in the second round than Wichita State. The bracket's funny that way sometimes; the Shockers deserved, at best, their last-four-in status, but they also need to be recognized as a real threat to continue another great tournament run. Should be a great start to the second round.
Early Evening Games:
Tip-off: 5:15pm, CBS (Jim Nantz/Grant Hill/Bill Raftery/Tracy Wolfson)
Tip-off: 6:10pm, TNT (Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Jamie Eradhl)
Tip-off: 7:10pm, TBS (Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner/Lewis Johnson)
Game to watch: Indiana vs. Kentucky
The second-round game that everyone wanted once the bracket was revealed. What a terrific match-up of talent, especially at the point guard position as Yogi Farrell and Tyler Ulis go toe-to-toe. Despite their size, both players have been excellent this season and should be fun to watch go at each other. But it doesn't stop there. Jamal Murray, Alex Poythress, Troy Williams, Thomas Bryant, on and on. It's just a great collection of college talent, plenty of which we'll be seeing for years in the NBA.
There is always a ton of pressure on John Calipari and Kentucky to perform in the tournament, and he usually meets the hype, with his team playing its best ball come March. The opposite is often true of Tom Crean and Indiana, who, following their regular season B1G title, went one-and-done in the conference tournament and need to really make a run here to quiet the doubters. His March resume in 8 years at Indiana only has two Sweet 16s, which just isn't enough for the Hoosiers, and failing to even get there with this squad may lose him a large portion of the Indiana fan base for good.
Late Evening Games:
Tip-off: 7:45pm (approximate), CBS (Jim Nantz/Grant Hill/Bill Raftery/Tracy Wolfson)
Tip-off: 8:40pm (approximate), TNT (Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Jamie Eradhl)
Tip-off: 9:40pm (approximate), TBS (Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner/Lewis Johnson)
Game to Watch: Providence vs. North Carolina
What a showcase for Kris Dunn, as he tries to lead the Friars into the second weekend of what will likely be his last NCAA Tournament. Providence hit a long rough patch during conference play after spending much of the season ranked, but an upset here over a top seed would make everyone forget all that and add another line to Dunn's legacy.
The ACC regular season and tournament champion Tar Heels still have many people skeptical despite their top seed, and a sleepy performance against Dunk City in the first round did little to convince them otherwise. North Carolina's guard play doesn't wow you, for one, and their surprising lack of top wins this season (by far the fewest RPI top 50 wins of the 1-seeds) isn't comforting, either, for a team that had the "most talented team in the country" label tagged to them early and often this year. Can they silence doubters and avoid being this year's Villanova?