March 21, 2023
Ranking of all eight NCAA Men's Tournament games to watch on Sunday

Ranking of all eight NCAA Men’s Tournament games to watch on Sunday

Their support has already been blown up, destroyed, disintegrated, and put to shame. Don’t pretend otherwise, we all know it’s true.

How many teams will you have at your Sweet 16? We’ll find out who advances after Sunday’s eight-game slate with some of the highest seeds still standing after a crazy and unpredictable start to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

But we’ll all be paying close attention to the outlier, as No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson looks to build on Friday night’s historic upset of No. 1 Purdue with a second-round matchup against No. 9 Florida Atlantic.

Keep this in mind, though: Of the eight games played on Sunday, six feature the highest possible seeds: No. 6 vs. No. 3, No. 5 vs. No. 4 and No. 7 against No. 2.

Here is the list of Sunday’s games ranked by visibility:

No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic

TIME/TV: Sunday, 7:45 p.m., TruTV

Five years ago, Maryland-Baltimore County stunned Virginia to become the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed and then lost a close game to Kansas State in the second round. Can FDU make even more history as the first No. 16 to reach the Sweet 16? For one thing, any team that can outmaneuver and intimidate Purdue could be just as lucky against Florida Atlantic. On the other hand, FAU has more shooters than the Boilermakers and averaged nearly 79 points per game during the regular season. Despite the seeding change, this should be a tougher matchup for the Knights.

Fairleigh Dickinson guard Grant Singleton (4) celebrates a three-pointer against Purdue during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena.

No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 4 Connecticut

TIME/TV: Sunday, 6:10 p.m., TNT

UConn trailed two points behind Iona at halftime, but drove the Gaels out of the gym for the final 20 minutes. If you believe in the Huskies’ ability to make it to the Final Four, and the bandwagon has filled up quickly in recent weeks, the second half against Iona only supports that faith. Saint Mary’s has a veteran, winning team that is more than capable of setting the pace against UConn. But that may not matter if Adama Sanogo stays hot and Jordan Hawkins finds the punch for him.

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No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Kansas State

TIME/TV: Sunday, 2:40 p.m., CBS

The Wildcats take on the Wildcats as two teams flying under the national radar compete for a Sweet 16 bid. Kansas State has gotten going under rookie coach Jerome Tang, but could struggle against forward Oscar Tshiebwe and the Kentucky front, who is among the best in the country at hitting the glass offensively. Kentucky ranks second in Division I in offensive rebounds (13.7 per game), while Kansas State ranks 154th in defensive rebounding and 117th in rebounding margin.

No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 3 Baylor

TIME/TV: Sunday, 7:10 p.m., TBS

Transfers have played a huge role for both teams heading into this matchup. Baylor’s offseason additions included forwards Jalen Bridges (West Virginia) and Caleb Lohner (Brigham Young). Creighton brought in guard Baylor Scheierman (South Dakota State), who hit the game-winning basket late against No. 11 North Carolina State. The Bears and coach Scott Drew continue to put together an elite game at the back, but will need to step up near the basket to contain Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner. The junior has scored at least 20 points in three of the last four games, led by his career-best 31 points against the Wolfpack.

No. 6 TCU vs. No. 3 Gonzaga

TIME/TV: Sunday, 9:40 p.m., TBS

It’s been years since Gonzaga has been overlooked at tournament time. Ironically, it could be this team that finally delivers a national championship to coach Mark Few after two previous Final Four appearances. Led by All-America forward Drew Timme, Gonzaga appears to have a huge frontcourt advantage against a TCU team that is athletic up front but short, without a starter taller than 6-foot-7. The Horned Frogs are very hard to predict but also dangerous, as shown by this year’s 23-point win at Kansas and their first-round woes against Arizona State.

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Marquette

TIME/TV: Sunday, 5:15 p.m., CBS

There are few things more reliable in March than Tom Izzo and MSU getting at least one win; The former Spartans coach is 54-23 in the tournament after Friday’s win against Southern California. Marquette is led by point guard Tyler Kolek, the Big East player of the year, but keep an eye on fellow outfielder Kam Jones, who scored 18 straight second-half points in the win against Vermont.

No. 5 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 4 Indiana

TIME/TV: Sunday, 8:40 p.m., TNT

Miami was tested by Drake in the first round, while Indiana basically got the better of Kent State. For the Hurricanes, getting past the Hoosiers demands more from guards Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller, who combined to go 3-of-17 for 12 points against the Bulldogs. It will take a team effort to slow down Indiana’s big senior man Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was incredible against the Golden Flashes: 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 assists.

No. 11 Pittsburgh vs. No. 3 Xavier

TIME/TV: Sunday, 12:10 p.m., CBS

The Panthers put the clamps on Iowa State with a dominating defensive performance to earn a shot against the Musketeers, who were pushed to the limit by No. 14 Kennesaw State. That fueled allegations that Xavier was ranked too high at No. 3, even though the Musketeers finished the regular season in second place in a very good Big East. A former Pittsburgh point guard, Xavier’s coach Sean Miller faced the Panthers once in his coaching career, losing to the Panthers in 2009 Sweet 16.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: March Madness: Ranking all eight NCAA Tournament games to watch on Sunday

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