Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March Madness 2016: Anything Could Happen

It is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting time on the sports calendar: March Madness. The culmination of the NCAA basketball season has arrived. My team, Michigan State received a favorable draw, having the weakest #1 seed, Virginia in their region, and not having a potential matchup against #1 overall Kansas. Controversy was raised by Spartans' fans over MSU remaining a #2 seed, even after winning the Big Ten Tournament, but I think it was for the better.

The Spartans would have been the fourth-choice team at #1, likely headed out to the West regional, with the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in Anaheim, California. But, since they are the first-choice #2 seed, they get the first two rounds in St. Louis and the next two in Chicago. After a long season, and three games in three days last weekend, the reduced travel can only help out the team.

I would say that MSU and Kansas have the strongest teams this year led by seniors Denzel Valentine at MSU and Kansas' Perry Ellis. The lineup depth of both teams should be a key asset throughout the tournament. Of course, I picked a few upsets. #12 over #5 is fairly common, so I have Arkansas-Little Rock and Yale getting out of the first round. Yale has the benefit of extra rest since the Ivy League has no conference tournament, and is ranked #30 in the KenPom ratings. Duke is only #22 and seems to get overrated solely due to name recognition.

How to watch/listen:

------------Television: CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV
------------Radio: SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 84, Westwood One
------------Mobile app: NCAA March Madness app for Apple and Android devices has live TV and radio broadcasts of every tournament game

FIRST ROUND SCHEDULE AND COMMENTATORS

Thursday 3/17:
12:15 - (13)UNC Wilmington vs. (4)Duke, CBS - Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn
West - Providence, RI
12:40 - (9)Butler vs. (8)Texas Tech, truTV - Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson
Midwest - Raleigh, NC
1:30 - (9)Connecticut vs. (8)Colorado, TNT - Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
South - Des Moines, IA
2:00 - (13)Iona vs. (4)Iowa State, TBS - Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Midwest - Denver
2:45 - (12)Yale vs. (5)Baylor, CBS - Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn
West - Providence, RI
3:10 - (16)Hampton vs. (1)Virginia, truTV - Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson
Midwest - Raleigh, NC
4:00 - (16)Austin Peay vs. (1)Kansas, TNT - Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
South - Des Moines, IA
4:30 - (12)Little Rock vs. (5)Purdue, TBS - Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Midwest - Denver
6:50 - (14)Buffalo vs. (3)Miami, TNT - Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn
South - Providence, RI
7:10 - (12)Chattanooga vs. (5)Indiana, CBS - Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
East - Des Moines, IA
7:20 - (16)Florida Gulf Coast vs. (1)North Carolina, TBS - Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson
East - Raleigh, NC
7:27 - (14)Fresno State vs. (3)Utah, truTV - Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Midwest - Denver
9:20 - (11)Wichita State vs. (6)Arizona, TNT - Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn
South - Providence, RI
9:40 - (13)Stony Brook vs. (4)Kentucky, CBS - Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
East - Des Moines, IA
9:50 - (9)Providence vs. (8)USC, TBS - Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson
East - Raleigh, NC
9:57 - (11)Gonzaga vs. (6)Seton Hall, truTV - Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Midwest - Denver

Friday 3/18:
12:15 - (10)Syracuse vs. (7)Dayton, CBS - Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson
Midwest - St. Louis
12:40 - (15)UNC Asheville vs. (2)Villanova, truTV - Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
South - Brooklyn
1:30 - (10)VCU vs. (7)Oregon State, TNT - Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio
West - Oklahoma City
2:00 - (13)Hawaii vs. (4)California, TBS - Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
South - Spokane, WA
2:45 - (15)Middle Tennessee vs. (2)Michigan State, CBS - Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson
Midwest - St. Louis
3:10 - (10)Temple vs. (7)Iowa, truTV - Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
South - Brooklyn
4:00 - (15)CS Bakersfield vs. (2)Oklahoma, TNT - Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio
West - Oklahoma City
4:30 - (12)South Dakota State vs. (5)Maryland, TBS - Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
South - Spokane, WA
6:50 - (10)Pittsburgh vs. (7)Wisconsin, TNT - Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson
East - St. Louis
7:10 - (14)Stephen F. Austin vs. (3)West Virginia, CBS - Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
East - Brooklyn
7:20 - (14)Green Bay vs. (3)Texas A&M, TBS - Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio
West - Oklahoma City
7:27 - (16)HC/SOU winner vs. (1)Oregon, truTV - Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
West - Spokane, WA
9:20 - (15)Weber State vs. (2)Xavier, TNT - Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson
East - St. Louis
9:40 - (11)TUL/MICH winner vs. (6)Notre Dame, CBS - Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
East - Brooklyn
9:50 - (11)Northern Iowa vs. (6)Texas, TBS - Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio
West - Oklahoma City
9:57 - (9)Cincinnati vs. (8)Saint Joseph's, truTV - Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
West - Spokane, WA