Every year a new college basketball occurs in March. Here are some potential NBA lottery picks fans to watch out for in this NCAA tournament.
USA TODAY Sports
March Madness has officially arrived and college basketball fans can rejoice.
Yes, the first four have been played in Dayton the two previous nights. But the opening Thursday with 16 games across the four regions is the official start of the NCAA tournament. It is the day that marks the start of the run. Where Cinderella is made and top seeds fall prematurely. It is the day when your carefully thought out bracket predictions either take shape or are referred to the Recycle Site in history.
And for true college hoops fans, it's a 12-hour marathon of really meaningful, win-or-go-home games.
Kentucky guard Keldon Johnson celebrates after scoring against Tennessee in the 2019 SEC tournament semi-finals. (Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports)
How we rank the games for Thursday:
1. Nr. 5 Marquette vs No. 12 Murray State (19:30, TBS)
All-America guards Markus Howard (25.0 ppg) and Ja Morant (24.6 ppg) can both fill it and make a must -watch individual matchup. But which team wins? Right now, Howard Marquette is battling his team (losing five out of six), and Morants is a trendy outrageous choice as a mid-major because of it.
2. No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont (19:10, TruTV)
Bruins passed by Temple in the first four in Dayton, and now coach Rick Byrd has finally got his first NCAA tournament win, the nerves are quiet for a deep run. Maryland has the fourth youngest team in the entire Division I, who looks hot and cold in Big Ten games late in the season and looks mature for a disturbance.
REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS: East | Midwest | South | West
BRACKETIPS: Everything you need to dominate your office pool
MARCH MADNESS: 2019 NCAA Tournament Schedule and Results ]
3. No. 5 Auburn vs No. 12 New Mexico State (19:30, TruTV)
The SEC tournament champs are not a team to fight against based on current form, but Aggies is a 30-win team trained by Chris Jans. Wichita State disciple, when Shockers was a Cinderella Final Four finisher in 2013.
4. Nr. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern (4 pm, TNT)
Jayhawks did not win the big 12 season for the first time in 15 years, and they recently had their second-largest score, Lagerald Vick, leave the team. But Dedric Lawson is still out to destroy, so the huskies are better at their A games if they want to exploit KU's vulnerabilities.
5. No. 7 Nevada vs No. 10 Florida (19:50, TNT)
Twins Caleb and Cody Martin are back for more March Madness success after leading Wolf Pack to Sweet 16 last year. They run into a Gator's team that played out of the bubble late in the season and they don't want anything to lose.
6. No. 7 Wofford vs. No. 10 Seton Hall (19:40, CBS)
The Terriers believed the middle norm to stay away from the bubble and receive a solid seed in the NCAAs, but their memorable season could Come stop at a Seton Hall team that played out of the bubble and was very close to winning the Big East tournament. The player to watch is Wofford's Fletcher Magee, a three-point marker and 20 points per. Scorer.
7. No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion (9:50 pm, TBS)
Boilermakers calmly won the big ten regular seasons and have an unstoppable player in All-America Guard Carsen Edwards. The US-winning monarchs conference gets a good 1-2 backcourt battle from B.J. Stith and Ahmad Caver equip them for an unexpected disturbance.
8. No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale (12:40, TruTV)
What will Tiger's psyche be with coach Will Wades suspension and an impending NCAA violation clouding their future? Don't expect to take an LSU team that won the SEC regulation too far away from its track. But expect the dimension to give Yale a chance here to stave off an eerie rebellion.
TIGERS BOND: LSU players "come together" after suspension of coach
] 9. Nr. 6 Villanova vs No. 11 Saint Marys (19:20, TBS)
The defense masters Wildcats are not Final Four good. But they can be nice 16 good after winning both the usual season and the Big East titles tournament. They meet a Gaels team who only restricted Gonzaga's No. 1 ranked offense to 47 points in the West Coast Conference tournament to earn their place within 68.
10. No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Baylor (19:45 ET TruTv)
Two teams that ran away from the bubble in mid-February, Orange and Bears are dark horse teams to knock Gonzaga in the next round. They must do it on the defense because they are not very spectacular offensive either. & # 39; Cuse's sharp 2-3 zone is never an easy fit, but Baylors pretty well-matched against a number of top class teams in Big 12.
11. No. 7 Louisville vs No. 10 Minnesota (12:15, CBS)
Cardinals have lost seven of their last 10. Meanwhile, Gophers just beat a really good Purdue team in the Big Ten tournament. The story of Richard Pitino coaching against the school that fired his father is sure to get the most attention.
12. No. 2 Michigan vs. No 15 Montana (9:20 p., TNT)
Wolverines are a well-oiled machine on both ends of the floor. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis gives this team a backbone and veteran ball general Zavier Simpson makes this team go. Expect Grizzlies to fight. They are a top 10 shooter (50 percent), and if they make three, it is possible in March.
13. No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont (19:00, TBS)
Seminoles play as well as any team in the country that is not called Duke, who lost in the ACC tournament last after beating Virginia. Coach Leonard Hamilton has transformed this team into a Final Four champion, making Catamounts first round unfortunate.
14. No. 1 Gonzaga vs No. 16 Farleigh Dickinson (7:27 p., TruTV)
The Bulldogs are leading the nation into an offense with an average of 89 points a game. They also have the best field target percentage and assistance for revenue in the country. Can any of the knights stop & # 39; Zags & # 39; Rui Hachimura? No.
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15th No. 2 Kentucky vs No. 15 Abilene Christian (19:10, CBS)
Wildcats have matured from November to March more than any team in the country as a credit for coach John Calipari's ability to mold teenage standouts with egos in a cohesive unit. Abilene Christian was only eligible for the tournament two years ago and was the worst school throughout Division II eight years ago. So just playing Kentucky is a feat. Expect UK to give Southland Champ a welcoming.
16. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley (2:45 pm, CBS)
The reason why this game offers the least intrigue of the pile is because the Braves don't really come into this thing from the get-go. Unlike Middle Tennessee beating the Spartans when they were a No. 2 seed in 2016. Tom Izzo and MSU's path to an eleven eight matchup with Duke will start with a probable blowout of the unlikely Missouri Valley champ.
CONTRITION: Bradley coach Brian Wardle sorry for school-targeted reporter