You’ve heard it a million times – “It’s that time of year again!”– when basketball is always on the TV, and everything is an upset waiting to happen. You have already likely joined a handful of bracket groups, gotten upset over the selection committee picks (like Dan Dakich), and have been checking Twitter nonstop for any information you can get your hands on. There is just one thing missing: the games.
Despite the ability to watch a game on every other app and follow your favorite reporters for play-by-play tweets, there’s still nothing like watching it in real time. Here’s a schedule courtesy of CBS (the official broadcaster of March Madness) detailing tip off time, location and TV schedule. We will update the schedule with the most interesting games throughout the tournament so that you can appropriately plan your life around basketball.
You should probably clear your schedule for this one.
Best game in its time slot (i.e. Noon, 12:30, 1 PM games)
Give this game second-screen consideration.
No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast (20-13) vs. No.16 Fairleigh Dickinson (18-14)– 6:30, truTV
No.11 Vanderbilt (19-13) vs. No.11 Wichita State (24-8)– Approx. 9:00, truTV
No.16 Holy Cross (14-19) vs. No.16 Southern (22-12) – 6:30, truTV
* No.11 Michigan (22-12) vs. No.11 Tulsa (20-11) – Approx. 9:00, truTV
Why you should watch: By all accounts, Tulsa was the last team into the tournament, as only one posted bracket on the Internet Sunday afternoon had Tulsa in the field of 68, according to Bracket Matrix. Michigan needed a game-winning three from Kam Chatman to beat Indiana in the Big Ten tournament, and had to wait nervously on Sunday to find out whether they were in. One of the winners from the First Four has won an additional game in each of the past five tournaments, and chances are either the Wolverines or Golden Hurricanes could be that team, with six seed Notre Dame waiting in the second round.
Key matchup: The three-guard lineup from Tulsa will have to be matched by Derrick Walton, Jr. (11.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.5 APG), Zak Irvin (11.7 PPG), and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who averaged 14.7 points over three games in the Big Ten tournament. Watch out for James Woodard (15.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and Shaquille Harrison (14.7 PPG) on Tulsa’s side.
Prediction: Michigan 72, Tulsa 64
Round of 64
No. 4 Duke (23-10) vs. No. 13 UNC Wilmington (25-7) – Noon, CBS
! No. 8 Texas Tech (19-12) vs. No. 9 Butler (21-10) – 12:30, truTV
No. 8 Colorado (22-11) vs. No. 9 Connecticut (24-10) – 1:00, TNT
*# No. 4 Iowa State (21-11) vs. No. 13 Iona (22-10) – 1:30, TBS
Why you should watch: If you love watching an offensive battle, you should tune in to this game. Although Fred Hoiberg left the Cyclones after last year to coach the Bulls, Steve Prohm has replaced Hoiberg very well. Playing through the toughest conference this season, the Cyclones finished sixth at 10-8. If you recall last year’s tournament, the three seeded Cyclones were upset in the first round against UAB.
Key Matchup: The backcourt of the Cyclones has been tough all season with guard Monte Morris (13.9 PPG) and Abdel Nader (13.1 PPG) but they are facing a future pro in senior guard A.J. English from Iona who stuffs the stat sheet each game, averaging just under twenty-three points per game, six assists and also grabs five rebounds a game. Keep an eye also on Gaels forward Jordan Washington, who is second on the team in scoring with a hair under fourteen a game.
Prediction: Iowa State 77, Iona 66
! No. 5 Baylor (22-11) vs. No. 12 Yale (22-6) – Approx. 2:30, CBS
No. 1 Virginia (26-7) vs. No. 16 Hampton (21-10) – Approx. 3:00, truTV
No. 1 Kansas (30-4) vs. No. 16 Austin Peay (18-17) – Approx. 3:50, TNT
No. 5 Purdue (26-8) vs. No. 12 Little Rock (29-4) – Approx. 4:20, TBS
No. 3 Miami (25-7) vs. No. 14 Buffalo (20-14) – 6:45, TNT
*# No. 5 Indiana (25-7) vs. No. 12 Chattanooga (29-5) – 7:00, CBS
Why you should watch: This game is not your typical 5-12 matchup. Tom Crean was not handed the easiest first round game by any means. Chattanooga is a very worthy twelve seed this year, going 29-5 including a road win over seventh seeded Dayton, not to mention beating Georgia and Illinois earlier in the season. Indiana cruised to a regular season Big Ten Title, but the loss in the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament has to have Hoosiers fans a bit nervous, especially against a very good squad that coach Matt McCall has put together this season.
Key Matchup: The guard play. Yogi Ferrell could have very well been the Big Ten Player of the year, averaging a bit over 17 PPG and just a hair over four rebounds per game, but it will be fun to watch if junior guard Greg Pryor can slow down the Indiana offense and keep Ferrell in check.
Prediction: Indiana 81, Chattanooga 73
No. 1 North Carolina (28-6) vs. FGCU–Dickinson winner – 7:15, TBS
! No. 3 Utah (26-8) vs. No. 14 Fresno State (25-9) – 7:15, truTV
No. 6 Arizona (25-8) vs. Vandy-Wichita State winner – Approx. 9:15, TNT
No. 4 Kentucky (26-8) vs. No. 13 Stony Brook (26-6) – Approx. 9:30, CBS
! No. 8 USC (21-12) vs. No. 9 Providence (23-10) – Approx. 9:45, TBS
*# No. 6 Seton Hall (25-8) vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (26-7) – Approx. 9:55, truTV
Why you should watch: You have Seton Hall, winning their first Big East title game in 23 years and have been playing as well as anybody in the country the past month or so. Sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, who is a total pro maybe after this season, if not the next has been deadly this season, averaging just a bit over 18 PPG. With Gonzaga’s March performances varying from year to year, this is by far one of the biggest toss-ups in a first round game.
Key Matchup: The battle down low will be a fun matchup to look out for. 6-11 Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis will be banging all game with 6-9, 255 lb Forward Angel Delgado.
Prediction: Seton Hall 66, Gonzaga 60
*#No. 7 Dayton (25-7) vs. No. 10 Syracuse (19-13) – Noon, CBS
Why you should watch: This is not a typical Syracuse team, as this year’s Orange stand at 19-13 heading into the tournament. Neither team has played well down the stretch, with Syracuse losing five of its last six games and Dayton losing to St. Joe’s and Rhode Island in A-10 play. If Dayton can shoot the ball well against the Boeheim 2-3 zone, this game could get out of hand early.
Key matchup: The backcourt will likely decide this matchup, as the main man for Syracuse is Duke transfer Michael Gbinije. Gbinije averages close to 18 points a game, and is shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc. On the Flyers’ side, Scoochie Smith is the catalyst for their offensive play, as his 11.7 points per game and team-leading 4.3 assists per game would tell you.
Prediction: Dayton 75, Syracuse 68
No. 2 Villanova (29-5) vs. No. 15 UNC Asheville (22-11) – 12:30, truTV
* No. 7 Oregon State (19-12) vs. No. 10 VCU (24-10) – 1:30, TNT
Why you should watch: Shaka Smart may be gone, but “Havoc” is alive and well under first year VCU head coach Will Wade. Four starters from last year’s Rams are ready to rectify a loss to Ohio State last year, including juniors JeQuan Lewis (10.7 PPG) and Mo Alie-Cox (10.2 PPG). The last time Oregon State was in the Big Dance in 1990, they were led by future hall of famer Gary Payton. This year’s team is led by Gary Payton II, and a stifling 1-3-1 zone mixed with scoring from freshmen Tres Trinkle (13.1 PPG) and Stephen Thompson Jr. (10.8 PPG) puts the Beavers in decent shape to walk away from this second round matchup with a win, but VCU has the experience here.
Key matchup: Payton is productive across the board (15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists a game), but he could find a foil in senior guard Melvin Johnson, who leads VCU in scoring with 17.4 points per game and a three point percentage just under 40.
Prediction: VCU 68, Oregon State 59
*# No. 4 California (23-10) vs. No. 13 Hawai’i (27-5) – 2:00, TBS
Why you should watch: The Rainbow Warriors have already tied their school record for wins in a season, and the Big West champs are back in the tournament for the first time since 2002. Their conference-leading 77.8 points per game will match up nicely with Cal’s excellent defense, which led the Pac-12 in scoring defense and allowed opponents only 39.3 percent shooting. This game features several highly talented individuals, with two senior point guards leading the way in Hawaii’s Roderick Bobbitt (13.3 PPG, 5.5 APG) and Cal’s Tyrone Wallace (15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG). Cal split the season series with the best teams in the Pac-12 (Oregon, Utah, Arizona), but if you’re looking for a vulnerable 4 seed, this is as good as it gets.
Key matchup: The other “big” matchup in this game will be between 6-foot-11 Big West POTY Stefan Jankovic and the two-headed monster of Jaylen Brown (15 PPG, 5.5 RPG) and Ivan Rabb (12.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG) for Cal. Jankovic averages 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds a game, and he’ll have his hands full against an energetic Golden Bear frontcourt.
Prediction: Sound the Upset Alarm! Hawai’i 81, Cal 79 (OT)
No. 2 Michigan State (29-5) vs. No. 15 Middle Tennessee State (24-9) – Approx. 2:30, CBS
! No. 7 Iowa (21-10) vs. No. 10 Temple (21-11) – Approx. 3:00, truTV
No. 2 Oklahoma (25-7) vs. No. 15 CSU Bakersfield (24-8) – Approx. 3:50, TNT
# No. 5 Maryland (25-8) vs. No. 12 South Dakota State (26-7) – Approx. 4:20, TBS
! No. 7 Wisconsin (20-12) vs. No. 10 Pittsburgh (21-11) – 6:45, TNT
# No. 3 West Virginia (26-8) vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (27-5) – 7:00, CBS
No. 3 Texas A&M (26-8) vs. No. 14 Green Bay (23-12) – 7:15, TBS
No. 1 Oregon (28-6) vs. Holy Cross-Southern winner – 7:15, truTV
No. 2 Xavier (27-5) vs. No. 15 Weber State (26-8) – Approx. 9:15, TNT
* No. 6 Notre Dame (21-11) vs. Michigan-Tulsa winner – Approx. 9:30, CBS
Why you should watch: Keeping with the prediction from Wednesday night, Michigan should be the team with a chance to keep the First Four winning streak alive. The Fighting Irish are not the Elite Eight team they were last season, as outside of a split with North Carolina and two wins against Duke the resume is lacking slightly. Notre Dame has also had mixed results down the stretch, going 7-5 in their last 12 games. Forward Zach Auguste picked up 19 points and 22 boards against Duke in the ACC tournament, and could overmatch the Michigan frontcourt.
Key matchup: The Michigan backcourt will be in for a long game if they can’t stop guards Demetrius Jackson (15.6 PPG) and Steve Vastura (12.3 PPG). Irvin and Walton will have to step their scoring up if they want a chance to avoid a first round exit, which may be tough with Notre Dame’s ability to limit turnovers (2nd in the country with 9.2 per game).
Prediction: The streak lives! Michigan 67, Notre Dame 65
*# No. 6 Texas (20-12) vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa (22-12) – Approx. 9:45, TBS
Why you should watch: Northern Iowa has made waves in tournaments past, and this year’s Panthers team is experienced enough to do the same. Texas, meanwhile, has been inconsistent most of the year. Both these teams beat North Carolina early on in non-conference play, but it is Northern Iowa who has managed to knock off teams such as Iowa State and Wichita State as well. The Longhorns may have senior big man Cameron Ridley back, but Northern Iowa’s talented backcourt should give Texas plenty of problems.
Key matchup: Point guards are again a main talking point leading up to this one. UNI’s Wes Washpun will match up with junior Isaiah Taylor, who averages 15 points and five assists a game for Texas. Experienced guards Matt Bohannon and Jeremy Morgan (10.4 PPG) should be able to help with Taylor as well.
Prediction: Northern Iowa 63, Texas 57
*! No. 8 Saint Joseph’s (27-7) vs. No. 9 Cincinnati (22-10) – Approx. 9:55, truTV
Why you should watch: The last game on Friday night features A-10 tournament champs St. Joe’s and Cincinnati, who lost in three overtimes to UConn in the AAC quarterfinals and were relieved on Selection Sunday to make their sixth straight tournament. The Hawks feature two of the hottest players in the A-10, as POTY DeAndre Bembry (17.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG) and A-10 Tournament MOP Isaiah Miles (18.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG) will bolster the St. Joe’s frontcourt against the Bearcats, whose resume features no real signature wins. The winner here could gain momentum to beat 1 seed Oregon before the Sweet 16.
Key matchup: Cincy guard Troy Caupain leads a balanced scoring attack with 13.2 points per game, and could look to exploit a Hawks backcourt that is average defensively. Aaron Brown from St. Joe’s will be the X-factor in this one, as his defense on Caupain will likely be the difference.
Prediction: St. Joe’s 70, Cincinnati 62
Joey Ellis is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports who contributed to this story with Kyle Turk.