Most intriguing matchup
6:50 pm ET, TBS, No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 St. Louis, Columbus: I am as excited about this game as any of the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Memphis is playing as well as any team in the country right now. They have a roster loaded with potential NBA players and they are finally starting to realize their potential and play up to their athleticism.
But St. Louis is such a great matchup for them. The Tigers like to get out and play helter skelter. St. Louis, on the other hand, wants to control pace, control tempo and execute their offense to create open threes. Which style wins out? Memphis has been the trendy pick, but you know Rick Majerus has a trick up his sleeve.
Upsets on the horizon?
7:20 pm ET, TNT, No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 Ohio, Nashville: Ohio has pulled upsets before. They have a ball-hawking point guard that can slow down Trey Burke. They force turnovers and they defend the three well. Michigan is about as perfect as matchup as you could imagine for the Bobcats.
9:40 pm ET, TNT, No. 5 Temple vs. No. 12 South Florida, Nashville: Ten days ago, I never would have thought South Florida was even capable of making the NCAA tournament, but the more I watch the Bulls, the more I like them. They have athletes on their perimeter, they have big men inside, they have a shooter that doesn’t miss and they have a talented point guard in Anthony Collins. Temple is more of a finesse team than they have been in a long time.
9:57 pm ET, TruTV, No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Detroit, Omaha: Detroit is arguably the most talented No. 15 seed of all time. They have a McDonald’s all-american at the point in Ray McCallum and a pair of talented and athletic big men. They press and they forced turnovers, and we all know how Tyshawn Taylor has had turnovers issues this season.
Story lines to keep an eye on
7:15 pm ET, CBS, No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Lehigh, Greensboro: How hurt is Ryan Kelly? He sprained his right foot before the ACC tournament and say out Duke’s two games in Atlanta. He’s supposed to sit out tonight, which puts the Blue Devils in an interesting situation. Lehigh has the horses — well, the horse, CJ McCollum — so spring an upset.
7:27 pm ET, TruTV, No. 7 St. Mary’s vs. No. 10 Purdue, Omaha: Robbie Hummel makes his triumphant return to the NCAA tournament with a trip to take on the Gaels in Omaha. Journalists are supposed to remain impartial and unbiased, but it is hard not to pull for the Boilermakers in this situation.
9:45 pm ET, CBS, No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Xavier, Greensboro: Xavier season collapsed when they got into a brawl in the middle of December, which just so happened to be the same point in time that Notre Dame’s season inexplicably changed for the better when they lost Tim Abromaitis to a knee injury.
Oh, and they play too
9:20 pm ET, TBS, No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 16 LIU-Brooklyn, TBS: Julian Boyd had a heart problem that nearly cost him his career. Now he is playing in his second straight NCAA tournament.