The opening Thursday of March Madness featured two massive upsets, one by an Ivy League program with a giant-slaying history and the other by a SoCon team that hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game in nearly half a century.
Now comes a Friday slate with just as much action. Here’s a rundown of Friday’s slate:
(7) Michigan State 72, (10) USC 62
(3) Xavier 72, (14) Kennesaw State 67
(3) Baylor 74, (14) UC Santa Barbara 56
(5) Saint Mary’s 63, (12) VCU 51
2:45 p.m. — No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 15 Vermont (CBS)
3:10 p.m. — No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (truTV)
4:10 p.m. — No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 NC State (TNT)
4:30 p.m. — No. 4 UConn vs. No. 13 Iona (TBS)
Must-see: Before Rick Pitino leaves for a bigger job, perhaps in the Big East at St. John’s, he’ll try to lead what is likely his last Iona team to a massive NCAA tournament upset. The Gaels haven’t lost since January … but they also haven’t seen anyone as talented as UConn. Iona has a potent backcourt and decent size for a mid-major, but defensive rebounding is a huge concern. If the Gaels can hold the Huskies to one shot, this one has the potential to live up to the hype.
6:50 p.m. — No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson (TNT)
7:10 p.m. — No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence (CBS)
7:25 p.m. — No. 5 Miami vs. No. 12 Drake (TBS)
7:35 p.m. — No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon (truTV)
9:20 p.m. — No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic (TNT)
9:40 p.m. — No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Montana State (CBS)
9:55 p.m. — No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Kent State (TBS)
10:05 p.m. — No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State (truTV)
Must-see: Two years ago, Kentucky endured its worst season in decades. Last year, the Wildcats suffered their worst NCAA tournament loss in program history. Thus, there is no coach in the country under more pressure to win his first-round game this week than John Calipari. Kentucky will be seeking to end a 1,449-day drought without an NCAA tournament victory when it faces a Providence team that contended for the Big East title into February but struggled on defense down the stretch.