NCAA Tournament Day One Preview

EDIT NUSS: This is hereby deemed the official open thread of the day's basketball. Unless the comments get to be too numerous, in which case, we'll open a new one. Grady here: I'm going to do threads session by session, since I'm hoping we're overrun by comments. But read this one first. NUSS HERE: I've been usurped! :-) DANCING FOOTBALL HERE: I felt left out. GRADY HERE: I forgot to use all caps the first time.

Also, SB Nation told us we could make $20 if we put the following widget for CBS's MMOD on our threads, so you're stuck with it. Sorry, cougfan, if this ruins the integrity of your preview, but hey -- 20 bucks is 20 bucks! Besides, never hurts to have the scores at the top of the thread, right? Also, you can launch straight to online streaming of the various games from here.

Launch Player

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  March Madness starts Thursday, meaning wall to wall tournament games, and consequently angry girlfriends/wives everywhere, for the next four days.  If you haven't called in sick yet, feel free to fake a cold that lasts for at least 48 hours.

When: First tip-off at 9:20.  Why they couldn't pick a nice round number like 9:30 is beyond me.

Where: CBS for those playing at home, here for those trying to play at work

After the jump, you'll learn more about the first day then you'll ever want or need to know.

For those looking for last minute bracket picks, don't look at me.  I'm terrible at the brackets.  Instead, I'll offer a few teams and players to watch during day one.

Let's start with the most important part: the schedule.  If you haven't seen it yet, there's a handy widget with the tournament schedule on the CougCenter sidebar.  In addition, CBS has generously provided the announcer pairings and network coverage map here.  I'm a fan of announcers during the NCAA tournament, so listed below are the specifics:

Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner
9:20 am: #7 BYU vs. #10 Florida
11:40 am: #2 Kansas State vs. #15 North Texas
4:10 pm: #8 Northern Iowa vs. #9 UNLV
6:30 pm: #1 Kansas vs. #16 Lehigh

Dan Bonner played at the University of Virginia.  Just throwing that out there.

Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas
9:25 am: #6 Notre Dame vs. #11 Old Dominion
11:45 am: #3 Baylor vs. #14 Sam Houston State
4:15 pm: #1 Kentucky vs. #16 ETSU
6:35 pm: #8 Texas vs. #9 Wake Forest


Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery
9:30 am: #2 Villanova vs. #15 Robert Morris
11:50 am: #7 Richmond vs. #10 St. Mary’s
4:25 pm: #3 Georgetown vs. #14 Ohio
6:45 pm: #6 Tennessee vs. #11 San Diego State

Lundquist and Raftery are the pair to watch.  Raftery, of "onions" and "da kiiiisss" fame, manages to steal the show come tournament time.  He's no Gus Johnson, but it beats watching Enberg and Bilas call a game.

Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel
11:30 am: #4 Vanderbilt vs. #13 Murray State
1:45 pm: #5 Butler vs. #12 UTEP
4:20 pm: #6 Marquette vs. #11 Washington
6:40 pm: #3 New Mexico vs. #14 Montana

I have no clue who either of these two are, but since they're calling the UW-MU game, we'll be getting acquainted with them real soon.

Games to watch:

4:20 pm: #6 Marquette vs. #11 Washington

This one is obvious.  Kenpom shows this game as being a coin flip, despite it being a 6-11 matchup.  Marquette's kenpom page has some fun things to look at, as well.  First, they slow the game down, WAY down.  It's not Tony Bennett slow, but 63.8 possessions a game is not what UW wants to do.  Additionally, the offense runs through Lazar Hayward, but the player to watch is Jimmy Butler.  Butler is posting a ridiculous 129.5 ORtg, while using just over 20% of the teams possessions.

1:45 pm: #5 Butler vs. #12 UTEP

Your obligatory 5-12 matchup with upset potential.  Butler and UTEP are evenly matched teams and it should make for a good game.  Unfortunately, this game constitutes mid-major on mid-major crime.  Thanks selection committee!

11:40 am: #2 Kansas State vs. #15 North Texas

Since Nuss is now the biggest KSU fan in the world, might as well toss this one in here.  If KSU doesn't run North Texas out of the gym, I'll be surprised and disappointed.

Players to watch:

Jimmer Fredette, BYU:  Besides having a cool name, Fredette is BYU's offensive force.   He's coming off of a 45 point game against TCU and a 30 point game in a loss to UNLV in the conference tournament.  If BYU is going to make a run, Fredette will probably be the one powering it.

Avery Bradley, Texas:  Spent his high school days in Tacoma at Bellarmine Prep before playing his senior year at basketball factory Findlay Prep in Las Vegas.  Bradley runs the show for Texas and, being a local (kind of) product, he could be someone to keep an eye on.

Jacob Pullen, KSU: You may remember him from the WSU-KSU game.  He scored 21 points in 25 minutes, including going 11-11 from the charity stripe.  It's not like I hold a grudge or anything.

For those wondering why this is up so early, the CBI is on tonight!  OSU plays Boston University in an exciting matchup that continues the Pac-10 vs. America East Conference rivalry.  Good luck finding it on TV, though.  HDNET, official carrier of the CBI, chose Colorado State-Morehead State over the OSU-BU game.  Apparently, the awesomeness of the Pac-10 TV deal carries over to the postseason.

So, there you go.  A day one preview for one of the most wonderful annual sporting events in America.  This will serve as your open thread to scream about upsets, amazing shots, or to simply talk about the action throughout the day.

This FanPost does not necessarily reflect the views of the site's writers or editors, who may not have verified its accuracy. It does, however, reflect the view of this particular fan, which is just as important as the views of our writers or editors.