NCAA tournament viewing guide: What, when and where to watch Round 2
- Among the most intriguing matchups on day two of the second-round of the NCAA tournament is No. 7 seed Michigan's clash with No. 2 seed Louisville and No. 2 seed Kentucky's meeting with No. 10 seed Wichita State.
Lament the lack of first-round upsets if you must, but chalk reigning supreme on Friday means we have some excellent second-round matchups on Sunday. Louisville-Michigan? Kentucky-Wichita State? Michigan State-Kansas? Would you really have wanted upsets to derail any of those matchups? We're in for a great slate of games to wrap up the first weekend of the 2017 NCAA tournament.
12:10 p.m., CBS
Midwest Region: No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 7 Michigan
This is the first time these two schools have met since the 2013 national championship, in which Louisville won the program’s third title. Trey Burke and Luke Hancock won’t be there this time around. Instead, Louisville will use its seventh-rated defense by adjusted efficiency, according to kenpom.com, to try to slow down arguably the hottest offense in the country. After rolling through the Big Ten tournament, Michigan connected on 16 of its 29 attempts from behind the arc in a 92–91 win over Oklahoma State in the first round. Going back to the start of the Big Ten tourney, Derrick Walton has averaged 21.6 points per game over his last five contests.
2:40 p.m., CBS
South Region: No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 10 Wichita State
This has the feel of a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight game, not one staged during the first weekend of the tournament. These teams are ranked fourth and fifth on kenpom.com. To give you an idea of how ridiculous it is that they’re meeting in the second round, last year’s fourth- and fifth-ranked kenpom.com teams, Kansas and Michigan State, received a No. 1 and No. 2 seed, respectively. No matter what happens the rest of the way, Wichita State will go down as one of the most underseeded teams in tournament history, and that’s bad luck for Kentucky, which did not have its A-game, or B-game or C-game for that matter, in a win over Northern Kentucky in the first round. Both of these teams make life tough for their opponents offensively. If there’s one matchup to watch, it’s Wichita State’s three-point shooting against Kentucky’s three-point defense. The Shockers rank seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wildcats own the country’s 11th-best three-point defense, by opponent percentage.
5:15 p.m., CBS
Midwest Region: No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 Michigan State
These teams advanced to the second round with ease, though only one of them was expected to do so. As good as the Spartans looked in dispatching of Miami on Friday, this is a much different test. Can their defense slow down Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson? Moreover, can it get the Jayhawks out of the tempo they want to play? If Kansas can turn this into a game with a lot of possessions, Michigan State will have trouble keeping it close. The best weapon the Spartans have is likely their coach. Tom Izzo is the master of the quick turnaround in the NCAA tournament, boasting a 21–4 record in second round and Elite Eight games in his career.
6:10 p.m., TNT
South Region: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 8 Arkansas
If any of Sunday’s games is a mismatch with the best chance to get out of hand, this is it. North Carolina is the best rebounding team in the country, specifically on the offensive glass where it cleans up 42.2% of its misses. Arkansas, meanwhile, regularly has four players on the floor that stand 6’3” and, as such, struggles on the boards. The Razorbacks rank 330th out of 351 Division I programs in defensive-rebounding rate. If they’re going to pull off the upset, they’ll need to put up their best offensive performance of the season.
7:10 p.m., TBS
Midwest Region: No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 11 Rhode Island
After running third or fourth in its own conference all season, Rhode Island is the only Atlantic 10 team left standing. As hot as the Rams are, they haven’t seen a team like Oregon in a long time. We have to go all the way back to November when they played Duke to find a team on their schedule with anything like Oregon’s offensive firepower. Both of these teams play at a deliberate pace, but the Ducks have a big advantage in athleticism and tournament experience. The key matchup for Rhode Island is Hassan Martin on Dillon Brooks. He’ll have to slow Oregon’s star down, at least a little bit, if the Rams are going to pull off the upset.
7:45 p.m., truTV
East Region: No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 11 USC
Of all 32 teams that advanced to the second round, USC was the only true underdog. The Trojans pulled off an unlikely comeback to beat SMU, which was widely viewed as a possible Sweet 16 team and threat to Duke. Think of this as a watered-down version of North Carolina-Arkansas, at least as far as the offensive glass is concerned. Baylor ranks third in the country in offensive-rebounding rate, while USC is 250th in defensive-rebounding rate. Unlike most teams Baylor plays, however, USC does have the size to deal with Johnathan Motley.
8:40 p.m., TNT
East Region: No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 South Carolina
South Carolina won the program’s first NCAA tournament game since 1973 on Friday. Duke has won 97 NCAA tournament games and five national championships in that same window, so it’s safe to say the postseason experience has been different for these two schools over the last 44 years. Understand that South Carolina’s 93-point outburst against Marquette in the first round was anomalous. The Gamecocks are 138th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, 307th in effective field goal percentage, 245th in three-point percentage, and 304th in two-point percentage. They cannot score with Duke. If they’re going to notch what would be a stunning upset, it will have to be on the back of their third-ranked defense by adjusted efficiency. Of course, Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen have a way of making most defenses inefficient.
9:40 p.m., TBS
South Region: No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 6 Cincinnati
The first weekend of the NCAA tournament wraps up with one of its most conflicting matchups. UCLA is an all-offense team that plays at the country’s 13th-fastest pace. Cincinnati is balanced offensive and defensively, and plays at the 25th-slowest pace. The Bruins shoot the lights out from distance, led by Bryce Alford, Lonzo Ball and Aaron Holiday. This may be the best offensive team Mick Cronin has had at Cincinnati, but it’s not a good three-point shooting group, ranking 190th in the country from behind the arc. It may sound trite, but whichever team can control the pace of this game to its strengths will have a major advantage.