The brackets have been completed. Now all the left is to sit back and watch the madness unfold, right? The NCAA tournament tips off this morning just after 9 a.m. PDT with the first of 63 games: No. 11 seed Dayton against No. 6 seed Ohio State from Buffalo, N.Y.*
*No, the abomination known as the "First Four" does not count in the total number of games. Sorry.
We'll get to the full schedule in a minute -- and if you're just here to use this for an open thread to talk about what you're watching, please, feel free to skip to the end -- but I want to highlight a couple of games from the morning session that I think ought to be particularly compelling.
No. 12 Harvard vs. No. 5 Cincinnati: The Crimson stunned New Mexico last year, but they're not going to take the Bearcats by surprise today. The 12/5 matchup is well known for its upset potential, with at least one five seed going down every year. Harvard is a trendy pick to knock off Cincinnati, and if the Crimson can pull it off it will set the mood for the day. For what it's worth, Nate Silver's model at FiveThirtyEight.com -- which combines all the major computer power ratings -- believes Harvard wins this matchup 42 percent of the time. In other words, not that much of an upset!
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 BYU: No, there's no sexy upset factor here. Instead, you just get sexy fast basketball! These two teams played earlier this year, and it was a 100-96 barnburner that the Ducks won in overtime. The game featured 88 possessions -- 77 of them before overtime. In case you didn't know, that's a lot of possessions. (WSU typically has played around 60 possessions per game the last couple of years.) BYU held a seven-point lead with four minutes to go in the game, only to cough it up. This game should be highly entertaining.
Here's the full schedule for the day:
Thursday's Game Schedule
|South||Dayton Flyers (11) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (6)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||9:15am||CBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|West||American University Eagles (15) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||9:40am||truTV||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|South||Pittsburgh Panthers (9) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (8)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||10:40am||TBS||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|East||Harvard Crimson (12) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (5)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||11:10am||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|South||Western Michigan Broncos (14) vs. Syracuse Orange (3)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||11:45am||CBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|West||BYU Cougars (10) vs. Oregon Ducks (7)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||12:10pm||truTV||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|South||Albany Great Danes/ Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers (16) vs. Florida Gators (1)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||1:10pm||TBS||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|East||Delaware Blue Hens (13) vs. Michigan State Spartans (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||1:40pm||TNT||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|East||Saint Joseph's (PA) Hawks (10) vs. Connecticut Huskies (7)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||3:55pm||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|MidWest||Wofford Terriers (15) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||4:10pm||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|MidWest||North Carolina State Wolfpack (12) vs. Saint Louis Billikens (5)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||4:20pm||TNT||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|West||North Dakota State Bison (12) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (5)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||4:27pm||truTV||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|
|East||Milwaukee Panthers (15) vs. Villanova Wildcats (2)||First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)||6:25pm||TBS||Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery/Allie LaForce|
|MidWest||Arizona State Sun Devils (10) vs. Texas Longhorns (7)||BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, WI)||6:40pm||CBS||Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Lewis Johnson|
|MidWest||Manhattan Jaspers (13) vs. Louisville Cardinals (4)||Amway Center (Orlando, FL)||6:50pm||TNT||Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy|
|West||New Mexico State Aggies (13) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (4)||Spokane Memorial Arena (Spokane, WA)||6:57pm||truTV||Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio|