The must-watch games from Friday's first round March Madness matchups, the day's complete schedule and SI's recommended reads.

By Emily Caron
March 21, 2019

The first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament is underway, with No. 10 Minnesota knocking off No. 7 Louisville to start things off on Day 1. No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Auburn, No. 2 Michigan State and No. 6 Maryland escaped with close wins, while the likes of No. 4 Kansas, No. 2 Michigan and No. 2 Kentucky rolled their way through to the round of 32.

Some of the country's best teams take the court on Friday, with three No. 1 seeds—Virginia (South region), Duke (East region) and North Carolina (Midwest region)—all beginning their March Madness runs. The South's No. 2 Tennessee, the West's No. 3 seed Texas Tech, the Midwest's third-seeded Houston Cougars and the East's No. 4 Virginia Tech, who beat Duke in the regular season once already, also tip off for the first time on Day 2.

Virginia made history last year as the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed in NCAA tournament history—and everyone wants to see if they can redeem themselves this year when they tip off against Gardner-Webb on Friday afternoon.

If you're confident that the Cavaliers won't fall on the wrong side of history for the second straight year, here's a look at what else you should be watching (and reading about) on Friday as the first round continues. Full schedule follows.

All times listed in Eastern.

Best games

Early afternoon

No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 7 Cincinnati (12:15 p.m., CBS)

Cincinnati is one of the tournament’s top defensive squads—allowing just 62.2 points per game—but Iowa is kenpom’s No. 15 most efficient offense, armed with a pair of perimeter threats in Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp. With polar opposite styles of play and dramatically different strengths, this early afternoon matchup has enough contrast to keep things exciting. A win for the No. 10 seed Hawkeyes would be a big step toward sending Fran McCaffery to his first Sweet 16.

Afternoon

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 5 Wisconsin (4:30 p.m., TBS)

The Ducks have been without freshman star Bol Bol for most of the season and still went just 10–8 in the regular season against a mediocre Pac-12, but they've somehow become the favorite in Friday afternoon's clash against Wisconsin despite the fact that Dana Altman’s team is the No. 12 seed. Oregon has found form as of late, becoming a dangerous, defense-first team and making the Big Dance with a four-game tear through the Pac-12 tournament. Can they keep the hot streak rolling with a win over Ethan Happ and the Badgers? You'll want to watch to find out.

Evening

No. 12 Liberty vs. No. 5 Mississippi State (7:27 p.m., truTV)

No. 5 Mississippi State should be on upset alert from the second it tips off against No. 12 Liberty on Friday night. The Flames have shown that they can shoot and they have the country's sixth-best scoring defense, only allowing 60.8 points per game. They might have enough balance to take the Bulldogs down early in a matchup that's likely to be at least a little more lively than say, the one-seed vs. 16-seed games of Duke-North Dakota State and North Carolina-Iona.

Recommended reads from the SI Staff

• The SI Staff recapped all of Thursday's day 1 games for you, from Minnesota's upset to Kentucky's dominant win.

• Jeremy Woo was on-site for Richard Pitino and Minnesota's win over his dad's former team, No. 7 Louisville.

• Michael Shaprio took a look at which teams could come from outside of the top three seeds to earn a trip to the Final Four

• Joe Wilkinson examined Duke's path to a sixth national championship

• Eric Adelson has the scoop on Tacko Fall, UCF's 7'6" center who can impact a basketball game like no one else.

• Dan Gartland brings you one fun fact about each of March Madness's 68 teams. 

Friday's full schedule

• 12:15 p.m.: No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 7 Cincinnati (CBS)

• 12:40 p.m.: No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Ole Miss (truTV)

• 1:30 p.m.: No. 14 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (TNT)

• 2:00 p.m.: No. 13 UC Irvine vs. No. 4 Kansas State (TBS)

• 2:45 p.m.: No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Tennessee (CBS)

• 3:10 p.m.: No. 16 Gardner Webb vs. No. 1 Virginia (truTV)

• 4:00 p.m.: No. 11 Arizona State vs. No. 6 Buffalo (TNT)

• 4:30 p.m.: No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 5 Wisconsin (TBS)

• 6:50 p.m.: No. 9 Washington vs. No. 8 Utah State (TNT)

• 7:10 p.m.: No. 16 North Dakota State vs. No. 1 Duke (CBS)

• 7:20 p.m.: No. 14 Georgia State vs. No. 3 Houston (TBS)

• 7:27 p.m.: No. 12 Liberty vs. No. 5 Mississippi State (truTV)

• 9:20 p.m.: No. 16 Iona vs. No. 1 North Carolina (TNT)

• 9:40 p.m.: No. 9 UCF vs. No. 8 VCU (CBS)

• 9:50 p.m.: No. 11 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Iowa State (TBS)

• 9:57 p.m.: No. 13 Saint Louis vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech (truTV)

All games can also be streamed with March Madness Live online on NCAA.com.

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