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NCAA Tournament 2017 Sweet Sixteen: Tip times, announcers, matchups for Thursday

Angry birds, guns, and which is the toughest, roughest mascot of the day.

Missouri v Kansas
angry birds
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Tonight will be a solid Sweet Sixteen night - though this season, the closest to a “Cinderella” or a real outsider team making the final 16 teams might be... Xavier, an 11-seed in this tournament.

That’s not the outside at all.

Really, South Carolina might be the only team that doesn’t fall into a who’s who of postseason name teams, after the Gamecocks dispatched the Duke Blue Devils and their preseason #1 superteam. Such is life.

A quick look at the mascot names involved leads us to a very simple understanding of which teams are going to win tonight . If you are betting your life savings, perhaps you should find a better guide.

But if not:

The Oregon Ducks take on the Michigan Wolverines and the shots are going to be flying in Kansas City (CBS, approx. 7 pm). The basketball shots. It will be a fun game. But, despite the known nastiness of ducks, Wolverines are vicious and unrelenting creatures and will eat ducks. Obviously, Michigan is going to win it all, for they have the fiercest mascot.

Aside: Kansas City is a lowkey solid place to visit. There is a large World War I museum, plus the Negro Leagues museum.

The West Virginia Moutaineers and the Gonzaga Bulldogs face off in San Jose (TBS, 7.39 pm) while the San Francisco 9-to-5ers are still at work (we all know the Silicon Valley folks don’t get out of work at 5). Will there be a crowd? As far as the game, shots will be flying. More like elbows and slaps, as West Virginia tries to press an offensively sloppy but disciplined Gonzaga squad. And Gonzaga will make West Virginia’s offensive ineptitude look even worse with their defensive height.

But if we assume Mountaineers have guns, and Bulldogs are tough and slow, I think the Mountaineer wins. Unless the Mountaineer has a soft spot for dogs and lets the Bulldog too close.

At 9:30 or so (CBS, after Oregon/ Michigan matchup finishes), the Kansas Jayhawks get a home game against the Purdue Boilermakers. A boilermaker makes... boilers (or is a beer with a shot of whiskey)? A Jayhawk, per KU:

The name combines two birds--the blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter.

The bird is made up. The boilermaker might be really strong and tough or have black problems and soot-covered eyes.

This is a toss up. And in real life, I think Kansas wins because their guards - future NBA player Josh Jackson and the sublime Frank Mason - are better than whoever Purdue lists as a “G” on their big man heavy roster.

Lastly, the Big East gets repped by the Xavier Musketeers against the Arizona Wildcats. (Gametime: 10.09 pm-ish on TBS.)

Did you know a Wildcat is basically an undomesticated house cat? What the hell? Why are so many teams named “Wildcat?” Meanwhile, the Musketeers were the King’s Guard in France, and were disbanded in 1776, obviously because of America for some reason or something, the brought back but discarded after the French Revolution.

Can a musket dispatch a Wildcat? I think so. Xavier should be tough.

The actual schedule:

NCAA Tournament Games: Thursday, March 23, 2017 (Round of 16)

Game/ Announcers Date Tip Time (ET) Network Site
Game/ Announcers Date Tip Time (ET) Network Site
(3) Oregon Ducks vs. (7) Michigan Wolverines 3/23/2017 7:09 p.m. CBS Kansas City
Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner / Dana Jacobson
(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (4) West Virginia Mountaineers 3/23/2017 7:39 p.m. TBS San Jose
Brian Anderson / Chris Webber / Lewis Johnson
(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (4) Purdue Boilermakers 3/23/2017 Approx. 9:29 p.m. CBS Kansas City
Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner / Dana Jacobson
(11) Xavier Musketeers vs. (2) Arizona Wildcats 3/23/2017 Approx. 10:09 p.m. TBS San Jose
Brian Anderson / Chris Webber / Lewis Johnson
Sweet Sixteen matchups Norman Rose