Before we get into today's picks, can we discuss the nastiness that was Adreian Payne of Michigan State? He's been a quiet monster at center for the Spartans for a minute now. But last night, he blew up all over Delaware for 41 points on 4/5 shooting from beyond the arc, 6/10 inside the arc, and 14/14 free throws. He fouled out Delaware's low-post threat in 22 minutes and dug into the depth of a shallow Blue Hens team.
That is what "in the zone" looks like, and maybe this is the class to end Tom Izzo Final Four drought - it's been like three years for him, and Izzo has different standards than a normal coach at a normal program.
Upsets by Harvard, Dayton and North Dakota State dotted the evening, while four overtime games upped the drama. This is a tournament to watch with strangers, a time to make friends with the words of our great forefathers, "whoo-HOOOO!" (They probably said "huzzah," but let me enjoy my revisionist history.)
And I'd like to take a moment to remark that North Carolina State's late choke job was epic, real and spectacular. Four for ten at the line late as St. Louis was trying to extend the game. The St. Lunatics aka the Billikens shot under 50% from the line as well, so both teams were trying to choke; but only one has so much experience as the Wolfpack. Kudos.
What games are you excited for tonight? How much are you going to hate-watch Duke? And the states of Kentucky and Virginia are well-represented tonight.
My upset picks: Nebraska over Baylor; Tennessee over Massachusetts; Oklahoma State over Gonzaga; and Providence over North Carolina.
Times, announcers, locations and matchups all below.
Friday's Game Schedule
|MidWest||Mercer Bears (14) vs. Duke Blue Devils(3)||PNC Arena (Raleigh, NC)||12:15p||CBS||Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller/Rachel Nichols|
|West||Nebraska Cornhuskers (11) vs. Baylor Bears (6)||AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)||12:40p||truTV||Marv Albert/Steve Kerr/Craigh Sager|
|South||Stanford Cardinal (10) vs. New Mexico Lobos (7)||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, MO)||1:40p||TBS||Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony/Tracy Wolfson|
|West||Weber State Wildcats (16) vs. Arizona Wildcats (1)||Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (San Diego, CA)||2:10p||TNT||Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski/Otis Livingston|
|MidWest||Iowa Hawkeyes/Tennessee Volunteers (11) vs. Massachusetts Minutemen (6)||PNC Arena (Raleigh, NC)||2:45p||CBS||Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller/Rachel Nichols|
|West||Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (14) vs. Creighton Bluejays (3)||AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)||3:10p||truTV||Marv Albert/Steve Kerr/Craigh Sager|
|South||Eastern Kentucky Colonels (15) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (2)||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, MO)||4:10p||TBS||Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony/Tracy Wolfson|
|West||Oklahoma State Cowboys (9) vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs (8)||Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (San Diego, CA)||4:40p||TNT||Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski/Otis Livingston|
|East||George Washington Colonials (9) vs. Memphis Tigers (8)||PNC Arena (Raleigh, NC)||6:55p||TBS||Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller/Rachel Nichols|
|MidWest||Cal Poly Mustangs/ Texas Southern Tigers (16) vs. Wichita State Shockers (1)||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, MO)||7:10p||CBS||Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony/Tracy Wolfson|
|East||Providence Friars (11) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (6)||AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)||7:20p||TNT||Marv Albert/Steve Kerr/Craigh Sager|
|South||Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (12) vs. Virginia Commonwealth Rams (5)||Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (San Diego, CA)||7:27p||truTV||Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski/Otis Livingston|
|East||Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (16) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (1)||PNC Arena (Raleigh, NC)||9:25p||TBS||Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller/Rachel Nichols|
|MidWest||Kansas State Wildcats (9) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (8)||Scottrade Center (St. Louis, MO)||9:40p||CBS||Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony/Tracy Wolfson|
|East||NC Central Eagles (14) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (3)||AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)||9:50p||TNT||Marv Albert/Steve Kerr/Craigh Sager|
|South||Tulsa Golden Hurricane (13) vs. UCLA Bruins (4)||Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (San Diego, CA)||9:57p||truTV||Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski/Otis Livingston|