The opening Thursday of March Madness featured two massive upsets, one by an Ivy League program with a history of killing giants and the other by a SoCon team that hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in nearly half. century.
Now comes a Friday list with so much action. Here’s a summary of Friday’s whiteboard:
(7) State of Michigan 72, (10) USC 62
(3) Xavier 72, (14) Kennesaw State 67
(3) Baylor 74, (14) UC Santa Barbara 56
(5) Santa Maria 63, (12) VCU 51
2:45 p.m. — No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 15 Vermont (CBS)
3:10 p.m. — No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (truTV)
4:10 p.m. — No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 NC State (TNT)
4:30 p.m. — No. 4 UConn vs. No. 13 Iona (TBS)
You should see: Before Rick Pitino leaves for a bigger job, perhaps in the Big East in St. John’s, he’ll try to lead what is likely to be his last Iona team to a massive upset in an NCAA tournament. The Gaels haven’t lost since January … but they also haven’t seen anyone as talented as UConn. Iona has a powerful backcourt and decent size for an average player, but defensive rebounding is a big concern. If the Gaels can hold the Huskies to one shot, this one has the potential to live up to the hype.
6:50 p.m. – No. 1 Purdue vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson (TNT)
7:10 p.m. — No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence (CBS)
7:25 p.m. — No. 5 Miami vs. No. 12 Drake (TBS)
7:35 p.m. — No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon (truTV)
9:20 p.m. — No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic (TNT)
9:40 p.m. — No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Montana State (CBS)
9:55 p.m. — No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kent State (TBS)
10:05 p.m. — No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State (truTV)
You should see: Two years ago, Kentucky endured its worst season in decades. Last year, the Wildcats suffered their worst NCAA tournament loss in program history. Therefore, there is no coach in the country with more pressure to win his first round match this week than John Calipari. Kentucky will look to end a 1,449-day drought without an NCAA tournament win when it faces a Providence team that challenged for the Big East title in February but struggled on defense down the stretch.