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Open Thread: 2017 NCAA Tournament Round of 64 (Villanova, Butler, Xavier today)

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It’s time to get it started in the NCAA Tourney tonight!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Buffalo Practice
This is the face of a coach who manages the defending champions
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s talk about the NCAA Tournament. Because we know you are watching. Comment with some notes and pass along what you’re seeing that’s ridiculous, fun, interesting, WTF, and more - in this open thread.

Big East teams playing today

Butler Bulldogs vs Winthrop Eagles, 1:30 on TNT, from Milwaukee (upset alert).

KenPom says the Bulldogs have an 84% chance of winning. I’m less bullish.

Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey is a good coach who will get high-major offers soon enough. They Eagles are led by 5’7” shooting guard Keon Johnson. They’re experience but lack girth.... so they play fast and defend well.

Is Butler really this good? on a good day, they execute well. On a bad day, their so-so talent and/ or lack of size catches up to them.

Xavier Musketeers vs Maryland Terrapins, 6:50 on TNT, from Orlando

Xavier is predicted to have a slight edge in the matchup per KenPom, despite being the 11 seed to the Terps 6 seed. Maryland has Melo Trible but starts three freshmen next to them. Xavier, sans Edmond Sumner, did defeat Butler.

Villanova Wildcats vs Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers, 7:10 on CBS, from Buffalo

Yeah... no. Not gonna happen. Mount St. Mary’s is a fine enough team, and won a dramatic play-in game. But Villanova could shoot like trash and still bully their way to the win over the small Mount.

KenPom has this at a 98% victory chance for the Wildcats.

NCAA Tournament Games: Thursday, March 16 2017 (Round of 64)

Game Tip Time (ET) Network Site
Game Tip Time (ET) Network Site
(5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (12) Princeton Tigers 12:15 p.m. CBS Buffalo
Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel / Allie LaForce
(5) Virginia Cavaliers vs. (12) UNC Wilmington Seahawks 12:40 p.m. truTV Orlando
Ian Eagle / Steve Lavin / Evan Washburn
(4) Butler Bulldogs vs. (13) Winthrop Eagles 1:30 p.m. TNT Milwaukee
Carter Blackburn / Mike Gminski / Debbie Antonelli / Lisa Byington
(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (16) South Dakota State Jackrabbits 2 p.m. TBS Salt Lake City
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas / Jamie Erdahl
(4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (13) Bucknell Bison Approx. 2:45 CBS Buffalo
Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel / Allie LaForce
(4) Florida Gators vs. (13) East Tennessee State Buccaneers Approx. 3 p.m. truTV Orlando
Ian Eagle / Steve Lavin / Evan Washburn
(5) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. (12) Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Approx. 4 p.m. TNT Milwaukee
Carter Blackburn / Mike Gminski / Debbie Antonelli / Lisa Byington
(8) Northwestern Wildcats vs. (9) Vanderbilt Commodores Approx. 4:30 p.m. TBS Salt Lake City
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas / Jamie Erdahl
(6) Maryland Terrapins vs. (11) Xavier Musketeers 6:50 p.m. TNT Orlando
Ian Eagle / Steve Lavin / Evan Washburn
(1) Villanova Wildcats vs. (16) Mt. St. Mary's Mountaineers 7:10 p.m. CBS Buffalo
Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel / Allie LaForce
(7) Saint Mary's Gaels vs. (10) VCU Rams 7:20 p.m. truTV Salt Lake City
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas / Jamie Erdahl
(4) Purdue Boilermakers vs. (13) Vermont Catamounts 7:27 p.m. TBS Milwaukee
Carter Blackburn / Mike Gminski / Debbie Antonelli / Lisa Byington
(3) Florida State Seminoles vs. (14) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles Approx. 9:20 p.m. TNT Orlando
Ian Eagle / Steve Lavin / Evan Washburn
(8) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (9) Virginia Tech Hokies Approx. 9:40 p.m. CBS Buffalo
Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel / Allie LaForce
(2) Arizona Wildcats vs. (15) North Dakota Fighting Hawks Approx. 9:50 p.m. TBS Salt Lake City
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas / Jamie Erdahl
(5) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (12) Nevada Wolf Pack Approx. 9:57 p.m. truTV Milwaukee
Carter Blackburn / Mike Gminski / Debbie Antonelli / Lisa Byington
Tip times, announcers & matchups for the first day of 2017 NCAA Tournament action Norman Rose