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2015 NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: Thursday morning game(s) thread

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Find everything you need to know to watch each of the games in the first half of the best day of the year, including times, TV channels and online streaming links.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It's here: The first day of the NCAA tournament, otherwise known as absolute heaven for sports fans. Whether you're at work or in Las Vegas or laid up on the couch after having a certain procedure taken care of at an opportune time, we've got you covered with a the nuts and bolts of how to watch each game, a brief preview of what you're going to watch, and a place to talk about the action as it unfolds.

Oh, and if it's before the first tipoff, you've still got time to enter our CougCenter Bracket Challenge. You know you want to!

Game 1: (14) Northeastern vs. (3) Notre Dame

Midwest Region - Pittsburgh, PA

9:15 a.m. PT | CBS | Streaming

The Irish bring the No. 2 offense into the tournament (via adjusted offensive efficiency) thanks to two factors: Otherworldly shooting and a preternatural ability to take care of the basketball. Point guard Jerian Grant is a flat-out stud. Notre Dame's defense is suspect, thought, and Northeastern can really shoot the ball. That always gives a team a puncher's chance in a one-off scenario. Quincy Ford and David Walker are long-range sharpshooters whom the Irish will have to locate on each possession.

Kenpom.com says: Notre Dame - 88%

Game 2: (14) UAB vs. (3) Iowa State

South Region - Louisville, KY

9:40 a.m. PT | TruTV | Streaming

Another tremendous offense. Not quite as good as the Irish offense, but darn near. As Kyle noted in our draft contest post, the Cyclones are among the most entertaining teams in the tournament. They play fast, and they make shots. Georges Niang hits 50 percent of this twos and 40 percent of his threes. Turns out, that's a pretty good combination!

Kenpom.com says: Iowa State - 87%

Game 3: (14) Georgia State vs. (3) Baylor

West Region - Jacksonville, FL

10:40 a.m. PT | TBS | Streaming

If you're looking at the odds, this is really the first game of the morning that seems to have big upset potential. Georgia State has some legitimate offensive talent with Louisville transfer Kevin Ware -- you might remember him -- and R.J. Hunter is deadly if he's allowed to get into the paint. GSU's chances might ride on the availability of Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow; he's questionable with an injury. The Panthers are incredibly poor shooting from the perimeter, but it doesn't generally matter because they attack the rim so well. Interestingly, Baylor's defense is built on pressuring the perimeter to limit 3s and then blocking the shots of anyone who gets into the lane. Georgia State shoots few threes, and they're one of the very best in the country at avoiding shot blocks. This could be a highly interesting game.

Kenpom.com says: Baylor - 77%

Game 4: (15) Texas Southern vs. (2) Arizona

West Region - Portland, OR

11:10 a.m. PT | TNT | Streaming

Kenpom.com's "FanMatch" feature lists this as the second-least interesting game today. The Wildcats are playing as well as anyone in the country right now -- perhaps even (GASP) Kentucky -- and Lafayette is a sub-200 team with an offense ranked 178th. The Cougars weren't a sub-200 team this year, and they had a pretty good offense, and you saw how the Wildcats shredded them.Sometimes, no further analysis is needed.

Kenpom.com says: Arizona - 98%

Game 5: (11) Texas vs. (6) Butler

Midwest Region - Pittsburgh, PA

11:45 a.m. PT | CBS | Streaming

On the flipside, we have FanMatch's second-most interesting game! Don't let the seedings fool you - these are probably two pretty evenly matched teams. By now you've probably heard that the Longhorns once were a top 10 team before a series of losses (many of them close) sent their season spiraling. But the talent is still there, and if you believe that close losses are often more a function of luck than anything else, well, you might believe the Longhorns are primed for one of those "wow, they really pulled it together just in time!" runs. Both of these teams are strong defensively and like to play slow, so the drama here is likely to come from the fact that it will probably be a close game perceived as an upset brewing. But you'll know better.

Kenpom.com says: Texas - 52%

Game 6: (11) UCLA vs. (6) SMU

South Region - Louisville, KY

12:10 p.m. PT | TruTV | Streaming

Larry Brown returns! The 74-year-old coach is back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since he led Danny Manning and the Miracles to the title waaaaaay back in 1988. Who knows how much longer he coaches, but this is cool. Not only does he have a talented team, led by his tremendous point guard Nic Moore, he also gets the benefit of coaching against Steve Alford, who leads a UCLA team many thought didn't even belong in the tournament. UCLA is undeniably talented, but have I mentioned that Alford's teams at New Mexico regularly flamed out in the tournament? Not yet? OK, Alford's teams usually flame out in the tournament. Choose against Larry Brown at your own peril.

Kenpom.com says: SMU - 61%

Game 7: (11) Ole Miss vs. (6) Xavier

West Region - Jacksonville, FL

1:10 p.m. PT | TBS | Streaming

The Rebels are coming off a stunning comeback victory over BYU in the First Four, rallying from 17 points down to beat the Cougars in what could end up being the most entertaining game of the entire tournament -- 184 points in 81 possessions in regulation. (Unless you think the First Four isn't really part of the tournament, in which case, I won't argue with you.) According to Kenpom.com's win probability graph, the Rebels had a less than 5 percent chance of coming back, but that's why we watch these games, right? (Unless you didn't watch the game because you didn't even really know it was on, in which case, I understand.) Stefan Moody played out of his mind in the second half, but one has to wonder how much the Rebs have left in the tank after such an emotional victory, then traveling to Jacksonville. Xavier's defense is a lot better than BYU's -- roughly 100 spots better in adjusted defensive efficiency -- and it was all those open looks that really allowed the Rebels to get going and get back into the game. Xavier's not going to allow that sort of thing. I wouldn't be surprised if the Musketeers kind of end up rolling in this one.

Kenpom.com says: Xavier - 57%

Game 8: (10) Ohio State vs. (7) VCU

West Region - Portland, OR

1:40 p.m. PT | TNT | Streaming

Ah, now we have what FanMatch rates as the most interesting game of the day! Two athletic teams who love to press the tempo on offense, then stymie teams on defense. Ohio State is another team, like Texas, that could be considered underseeded thanks to 10 losses, but these 7/10 matchups are a lot like the 8/9s in that there's really very little difference between the teams anyway. The key here might be which offense is able to take care of the ball -- both defenses rely heavily on forcing turnovers, although they do it differently, with VCU running it's full-court "Havoc" under Shaka Smart. These are two great coaches who each have deep tournament runs under their belts. Just sit back and watch the fun.

Kenpom.com says: Ohio State - 55%