Thursday Tipoff! Must See March Madness Games For Today!
Today is the day that you have waited a year for! It is March Madness time where many people’s brackets are already busted as soon as the typical 9-5 workday ends… Here is today’s MUST SEE games that will keep you glued to your seat and will make you either cheer or pout by the end of the night.
#9 UConn vs #8 Colorado 1:30pm TNT:
UConn has been on a roll as of late, winning their last four straight games and clinching the American Conference title. However, are they really legit? UConn proved that they are not a bubble team with their 104-97 four-overtime win against Cincinnati in their conference tournament. They cruised past both Temple and Memphis in their conference tournament to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Uconn also got walloped by 26 points against their last Top 25 opponent, the SMU Mustangs, who are banned this year from postseason play. The Colorado Buffaloes was one of seven teams to qualify for the Big Dance from the Pac 12 Conference. The Buffs lost their last two games to Top 25 opponents, Utah and Arizona, by a combined six points. Do not underestimate Colorado because they are here to play against UConn. Josh Scott can be a huge impact for Colorado in this match up and averages 16 points per game. On the other hand, the decider could sway UConn’s way in the final minutes because they are the number one free throw shooting team in the nation.
#12 Yale vs #5 Baylor 2:45pm CBS:
These Ivy League schools have been notorious to give viewers a scare of a lifetime when watching the tournament. In 2011, Princeton lost to Kentucky by two, and last year, Harvard lost to North Carolina by two. This year’s match up could possibly be decided by a one-point buzzer beater, or an Ivy League school actually beating the higher seed. This year it could happen, and with Baylor in the hot seat, anything can happen. Last year, Baylor was seeded at number 3, and lost to number 14 Georgia State after R.J. Hunter banked in a deep sea three from the parking lot to give GSU the one point victory. The favorable outcome could even be more realistic for the Yale Bulldogs because of their region they were put in for the early stages of the bracket. Yale only needed to travel 1 hour and 40 minutes from New Haven, Connecticut, to Providence, Rhode Island for this match up. Yale lost by two points in a November non-conference game to SMU, who went 25-5 this season. The Bulldogs have won its past 17 out of 18 games, but with a very weak strength of schedule. Baylor is coming into the tournament with a 1-3 record in the month of March. This match up should be an interesting one to watch.
#12 Arkansas-Little Rock vs #5 Purdue 4:30pm TBS:
All eyes will be on this game today because nobody knows how good this Arkansas-Little Rock Trojan team can be. We will see what they can do and possibly burst the hopes of Purdue’s tournament run. Many see this one as a no-brainer by taking Purdue over Arkansas-Little Rock. However, anything is possible with a team that has the second best record in the tournament, behind Kansas. Defense will be the key to success if the Trojans want to stun America on this one. They are ranked third in the nation in points allowed and give up just less than 60 points per game on average. The Purdue Boilermakers, on the other hand, are going into the match up having won its last five out of six games in the always tough, and challenging Big Ten Conference. If the Boilermakers are looking for the “W,” they need to get the big man, AJ Hammons, going early to make baskets in the paint.
#12 Chattanooga vs #5 Indiana 7:10pm CBS:
Once again, there is another 5 vs 12 seed that has the likeliness to be a close one. The Chattanooga Mocs are on a hot streak and look to continue it with their sixth straight win. On the other side, the Indiana Hoosiers offense has been electric and is second in the nation averaging just above 82 points per game. Some have this one marked on their bracket as a Chattanooga upset. In order that to happen, they must be able to stop the senior guard Yogi Ferrell, who is the top scorer for Indiana averaging 17 points per game.
#16 Florida Gulf Coast vs #1 North Carolina 7:20pm TBS:
Could 2016 be the year that a 16 seed tops a 1 seed? Florida Gulf Coast could be the answer! FGCU has the chance to shock the nation tonight and stun North Carolina inside the PNC Arena in Raleigh, which is the home to UNC’s rival, North Carolina State. FGCU destroyed Fairleigh Dickinson in the First Four by 31 and look to carry the momentum over to a North Carolina Tar Heel team, who has won their last five straight games to all teams in the NCAA Tournament. Flashback to 2013, and FGCU became the first 15 seed to advance into the Sweet 16. Just remember, it might be wise to pick FGCU over UNC tonight because FGCU has a history of wrecking tournament brackets.
#14 Fresno State vs #3 Utah 7:27pm truTV:
The question still arises if Pac-12 teams are overrated. Everyone is polling for Utah to win. However, this may be the most unexpected turnout compared to other games. The Fresno State Bulldogs are running on a nine game win streak and look to extend it. Fresno State’s senior guard Marvelle Harris has been unstoppable as of late scoring no lower than 16 points in a one-month span. What tournament watchers need to be aware about is that Utah got demolished losing by 31 in the Pac-12 Championship game against Oregon. Fresno State also played Oregon early in the season in non-conference play and only lost by five points in Eugene. For those of you who think that Utah can cakewalk through the tournament, you might want to rethink this one because the Fresno State Bulldogs are here to stay.
#9 Providence vs #8 USC 9:50pm TBS:
Friar Fever has been sweeping the Ocean State and Ed Cooley’s squad wants to capitalize with a “W” this time. The Providence Friars have not won a first round tournament game in over 19 years. For those of us on the Southcoast, and our friendly neighbors next to us, we will stay up late tonight to support our local tournament team in hopes of making it deep into the tournament. Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn are two of the top players in the nation and hope to drop double digits on the Trojans. The USC Trojans went .500 in Pac-12 Conference play and lost their last five out of seven games. Also, the top scorer for the Trojans only averages a little more than 13 points per game. We will keep our eyes glued on the television screen late tonight to watch our local Providence Friars take on the USC Trojans.
#11 Gonzaga vs #6 Seton Hall 9:57pm truTV:
The tournament committee saved the best game of Thursday night for last! Gonzaga has the highest chance out of all the higher seeds to move on to a possible Sweet 16 match up. On the other side, the Seton Hall Pirates know how to pull out clutch last minute victories and defeated two number two NCAA Tournament seeds (Xavier and Villanova), by a combined total of six points in their last two games. However, if there is one thing we do know by now, it is that the Seton Hall Pirates have not feared well against teams with "Bulldogs" as their nicknames. Seton Hall lost both conference games against the Butler Bulldogs and defeated the NIT Bound Georgia Bulldogs early in the season in non-conference play. Gonzaga has not missed the NCAA tournament since 1998 and are looking to knock off the Pirates. If there is one thing to keep in mind about the past tournament history of the Gonzaga Bulldogs is that they have not lost in the first round of a NCAA tournament game since Steph Curry dropped 40 on them when he played for the Davidson Wildcats in 2008.
With additional reporting by Sal Lopez