SportsPulse: We asked kids from a Boys Girls Club in Washington to fill out Mar Madness brackets. Enlightenment and hilarity ensued.
USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA men’s basketball contest tips off Thursday, with a full line-up of 16 games, commencement usually after noon ET.
Here is all we need to know per coverage, along with must-watch story lines streamer into Mar Madness’ opening weekend.
– Need assistance filing out your bracket? We’ve got we lonesome with some fun tips on who to collect and why.
– Adored in Cameron Indoor Stadium and vilified outward it, Grayson Allen is on a brink of his final NCAA tournament.
– What if a Mascots played in a NCAA tournament?
– Virginia and Villanova’s NCAA contest plan: Get old, stay old, win titles.
– Six dark-horse teams that could theatre Final Four runs.
– Three Mar Madness matchups between haves and have-nots.
– These 8 teams got prohibited during a right time.
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No. 7 Rhode Island vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Midwest Region; 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Why Rhode Island will win: The gifted Rams get good ensure play from seniors Jared Terrell (17.5 points per game) and E.C. Matthews (12.8 points per game). Two some-more starters are seniors: Forward Andre Berry (9.1 points per game) and ensure Stanford Robinson (9.3 points per game. And a youngster of a group, sophomore ensure Jeff Dowtin (9.7 points per game), handles a turn well, averaging 5.5 assists to 1.8 turnovers. And a Rams can get hot: They won 16 uninterrupted games this season.
Why Oklahoma will win: Freshman ensure Trae Young led a republic in scoring (27.4 points per game) and assists (8.8 per game). The Sooners started out 14-2 and looked like a top-four seed. The bad news: They struggled mightily down a widen and finished 18-13. The good news: The contest is a new deteriorate and a Sooners’ measure 86 points per game, fourth best nationally. And they were a Final Four group in 2016, their final time in a tournament.
No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Wright State
South Region; 12:40 p.m. ET, truTV
Why Tennessee will win: Before losing to Kentucky in a SEC contest pretension game, a Volunteers had won 13 of 15. That’s a form of sustained, plain play — underscored by victories during a deteriorate vs. Florida, Kentucky and Purdue — that will propel Tennessee.
Why Wright State will win: Simply put, it’s time. The Raiders, winners of a Horizon League tournament, are creation their third coming in a contest and are in hunt of their initial victory. A challenging invulnerability will energy Wright State, generally if Tennessee underestimates a Raiders.
No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 13 UNC-Greensboro
West Region; 1:30 ET, TNT
Why Gonzaga will win: The Zags are one of a best sharpened teams in a republic (50.3%), seventh best in a country. They don’t have a headlining luminary as in years past, though beginner Killian Tillie has been sharpened lights out from prolonged stretch a final few weeks, and during 6-10, gives teams problems in a paint, too.
Why UNCG will win: The Spartans don’t give anyone easy looks. UNCG binds opponents to 40.6% from a field, and yields 62.4 points a game, sixth best in a country. They also squeeze 7.7 steals per game.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Penn
Midwest Region; 2 p.m. ET, TBS
Why Kansas will win: The Jayhawks morphed in Feb into something formidable. With a four-guard lineup that fires adult three-pointers (and hits 40%), Kansas has overcome a miss of distance and depth, and even with starting core Udoka Azubuike a game-time preference given of a sprained knee, a Jayhawks have too most talent to remove in a initial round.
Why Penn will win: Penn ranks No. 2 nationally in three-point field-goal invulnerability and could foil Kansas’ fringe sharpened strategy. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1. It has to occur sometime, right? The Kenpom rating complement has Penn as a highest-rated No. 16 seed given 2012, when UNC Asheville played Syracuse to a wire.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Iona
Midwest Region; Approx. 2:45 p.m. ET, CBS
Why Duke will win: The Blue Devils, as usual, have Final Four talent. Freshman Marvin Bagley III, a expected NBA lottery collect when he leaves college, averages 21.1 points per diversion and 11.5 rebounds per game. Then there’s associate frosh Wendell Carter Jr. with his 13.8 ppg and 9.3 rebounds a game. Senior ensure Grayson Allen provides maestro participation among a sea of gifted freshmen. Duke was a preseason No. 1 and they’d like to finish a contest as a postseason’s No. 1.
Why Iona will win: The Gaels have offset scoring, with 5 players who measure in double figures, and they fire good from over a three-point arc, that is mostly a regulation for upsets in a tournament. Their three-point commission is 39.8, 31st in a nation. Junior ensure Rickey McGill averages 13.5 points and 5.6 assists per game. They’ll need to miscarry good opposite a bigger Blue Devils as Iona’s miscarry domain is subsequent H2O during scarcely minus-four per game.
No. 6 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago
South Region; Approx. 3:10 p.m. ET, truTV
Why Miami will win: Any group that kick North Carolina on a highway is some-more than able of advancing past a first-round competition creation a initial NCAA contest coming given 1985. The Hurricanes are low adequate to tarry a detriment of star ensure Bruce Bowen, who’s out with a feet injury.
Why Loyola-Chicago will win: The Ramblers will daub into a sorcery of 1963, a year they won a NCAA tournament. The Ramblers have won 10 in a quarrel and their experience, apt sharpened from three-point operation and resilient are a winning combination.
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 South Dakota State
West Region; Approx. 4 ET, TNT
Why Ohio State will win: Keita Bates-Diop. The 6-7, 235-pound redshirt youth has been one of a biggest surprises of a 2017-18 deteriorate and arguably a best actor in a Big Ten a final few months, averaging 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds.
Why South Dakota State will win: Mike Daum. The two-time Summit League actor of a year is a double-double (23.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg) watchful to happen. The 6-9, 250-pound brazen shoots 42.1% from three, and has given teams fits all year.
No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 N.C. State
Midwest Region; Approx. 4:30 p.m. ET, TBS
Why Seton Hall will win: With 4 starters averaging during slightest 13 points, Seton Hall has a kind of change that allows a group to continue an off night from one player. The Pirates play a earthy diversion — they’re among a inhabitant leaders in blocked shots and resilient — and their strengths play into N.C. State’s weakness.
Why N.C. State will win: The thought behind Wolfpack’s vigour invulnerability is to force a quick gait and to grub down opponents. When it works, they force mistakes, generally after in games. Offensively, they fire copiousness of three-pointers — this means any starter, and includes 7-foot sophomore Omer Yurtseven, who presents a critical matchup difficulty.
No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 16 Radford
East Region; 6:50 p.m. ET, TNT
Why Villanova will win: The Wildcats can shoot. They have a nation’s best offense during 87.1 points a game, interjection in vast partial to their ability to hit down threes. They normal 11.3 of those per game, fourth in a nation. They fire improved than 50% from a domain altogether and scarcely 40% from 3 and 77% from a giveaway chuck line. Junior guards Jalen Brunson (19.4 points per game) and Mikal Bridges (18 points per game) are stars.
Why Radford will win: No 16-seed has ever beaten a tip seed, though a Highlanders have astounded all deteriorate so they figure: Why stop now? They were picked to finish seventh in a Big South, though they done a NCAA contest by winning 8 uninterrupted games, including 3 in a discussion contest and one in a First Four in Dayton opposite LIU-Brooklyn. And a Highlanders play good defense, giving adult usually 64.4 points per game, 16th in a nation.
No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Davidson
South Region; 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS
Why Kentucky will win: The Wildcats are immature and fresh though approach too gifted to blow a diversion of this magnitude. Few teams in a republic have an answer for 6-9 beginner brazen Kevin Knox, who averages a team-best 15.6 points a game.
Why Davidson will win: They’re on a roll, and they’re they’re disciplined. The Wildcats run good half-court sets, that is partial of because they managed to hit off top-seeded Rhode Island, another contest team, in a A-10 discussion tournament. Peyton Aldridge (21.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg) will be tough to slow.
No. 6 Houston vs. No. 11 San Diego State
West Region; 7:20 p.m. ET, TBS
Why Houston will win: Led by comparison ensure Rob Gray and a harsh defense, Houston kick Wichita State and mislaid by one to Cincinnati in a American Athletic Conference contest final. Houston’s No. 18 RPI is a thoughtfulness of a Cougars’ strength. There’s also this: Houston has not mislaid uninterrupted games this season.
Why San Diego State will win: The Aztecs are as prohibited as any team. They won 3 games in 3 days to acquire a Mountain West’s involuntary bid, and given ensure Trey Kelly returned from damage final month, they’ve won 9 in a row.
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin
East Region; 7:27 p.m. ET, truTV
Why Texas Tech will win: Coach Chris Beard and his Red Raiders are contest prepared after finishing second in a imperishable Big 12.
Why Stephen F. Austin will win: The Lumberjacks always seem primed for postseason upsets, carrying knocked off Virginia Commonwealth in 2014 as a No. 12 seed and West Virginia in 2016 as a No. 14.
No. 8 Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Alabama
East Region; Approx. 9:20 p.m. ET, TNT
Why Virginia Tech will win: The Hokies exaggerate an fit offense. They make 50% of their shots from a field, eighth best in a nation. They make 39% of their three-point shots, that ranks 29th in a nation. They have 4 starters who normal in double figures, led by youth ensure Justin Robinson (13.8 points, 5.6 assists per game). The Hokies can kick anyone on their best day. The evidence: They won during Virginia, a tournament’s tip altogether seed.
Why Alabama will win: Freshman ensure Collin Sexton is a linchpin of a Crimson Tide. He averages 19 points per diversion and 3.6 assists per game. He attacks a basket and has a knack for finishing around a rim. Fellow beginner ensure John Petty averages 10.1 points per game. The Tide don’t miscarry good so it depends on 6-9 youth brazen Donta Hall, who averages 10.9 points per diversion and 6.8 rebounds per game, and some-more than dual blocks per game.
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 Buffalo
South Region; Approx. 9:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Why Arizona will win: Deandre Ayton. The Pac-12 actor of a year is a beast in a paint during 7-1, 250, averaging 20.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg. He gets assistance on a fringe from Allonzo Trier (18.4 ppg) and Rawle Alkins (13.4), and another 7-footer, comparison core Dusan Ristic (12.1), helps on a inside.
Why Buffalo will win: They can score. The Bulls normal 84.8 points per game, seventh best in in a country. They have 4 players who normal 14 points or more, led by youth ensure CJ Massinburg (16.9 ppg). If they get hot, they can play with anyone.
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 Montana
West Region; Approx. 9:50 p.m. ET, TBS
Why Michigan will win: Winners of 9 in a row, including a Big Ten contest for a second uninterrupted season, a Wolverines are led by Mo Wagner’s inside-out game. But their strength is a extreme invulnerability that allows usually 63.5 points a game.
Why Montana will win: The Griz are in a NCAA contest for a initial time given 2013. But youth ensure Ahmaad Rorie, a send from Oregon, leads a group that won a Big Sky’s regular-season and contest titles. Montana is hot, carrying won 6 uninterrupted (with usually dual waste given late December).
No. 6 Florida vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure
East Region; Approx. 9:57 p.m. ET, truTV
Why Florida will win: The Gators have a required knowledge after advancing to a Elite Eight final season, and their tip guards, that any normal double-figures in scoring, will be too tough for a Bonnies to contain.
Why St. Bonaventure will win: Notching their initial contest feat given 1970 with a win opposite UCLA in a First Four, a Bonnies will float a momentum. Courtney Stockard, behind from a new hamstring injury, knows how to score.
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