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NCAA Tournament 2018: Day 1 matchups, odds, announcers, streaming, how to watch

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A look at the Day 1 matchups for the true opening day of the tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Pittsburgh Practice Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All right, all right. Game Day! The NCAA Tournament kicks into full gear with the full slate of games on the day that SHOULD be a national holiday, but is not.

A look at the matchups, odds, some notes on selected teams, how to watch, times and announcing teams for the March Madness games on Thursday, March 15th:

(10) Oklahoma Sooners (18-13) vs. (7) Rhode Island Rams (25-7)

Time: 12:15 p.m.

How to watch: CBS | Stream

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Odds: Rhode Island, -1

Oklahoma has gone 7-12 since winning against Oklahoma State in early January. Or we can say the Sooners have gone 2-7 since the opening of February. The trends look terrible for them; their defense is indifferent; and while he might be a lottery pick, Trae Young is only one guy, and he can be kind of wild.

Rhode Island has a veteran squad that played great defense in the A-10. They take a lot of two-pointers off the dribble, avoiding threes.

Oklahoma has no chance, wink wink. This could be a blast.

(14) Wright State Raiders (25-9) vs. (3) Tennessee Volunteers (25-8)

Time: 12:40 p.m.

How to watch: truTV | Stream

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, Ros Gold-Onwude

Odds: Tennessee, -13

The State of Wright is Ohio, by the way. The defensively-focused Wright State Raiders have size in the paint, rebound well, force turnovers. But let’s talk size and youth, where freshman Loudon Love weighs nearly 300 pounds and connects on 53% of his shots inside the arc. He’s joined in youth by freshmen 6’5” Jaylon Hall, a solid shooter, and 6’6” Everett Winchester, a slashing wing; and there is a 6’11” Parker Ernsthausen to boot.

Tennessee’s defense has been excellent against that tough SEC. Now, you may say the Big 12, the ACC and the Big East all have better teams, you could say the Big Ten has higher-end teams, but do those teams have a guy named Admiral Schofield? Or Jordan Bone? Onetime St. John’s target Derrick Walker logs the occasional minute for the Volunteers.

(13) UNC-Greensboro Spartans (27-7) vs. (4) Gonzaga Bulldogs (30-4)

Time: 1:30 p.m.

How to watch: TNT | Stream

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington

Odds: Gonzaga, -12

Last year, a near-dominant Gonzaga lost two games — one at the end of the regular season, and one in the National Championship game. This season, they are 11 points from being a 1-loss team (Villanova waxed them by 16 in December), they continue to be tall and athletic behind sophomores Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura.

UNC-Greensboro has a win over North Carolina State and a little height in sophomores James Dickey and Kyrin Galloway. Can their defensive approach and slow pace stymie Gonzaga? Maybe! (For a few minutes?)

(16) Pennsylvania Quakers (24-8) vs. (1) Kansas Jayhawks (27-7)

Time: 2 p.m.

How to watch: TBS | Stream

Announcers: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Odds: Kansas -15

This is the year a 16 beats a 1 seed!

After all Udoka Azubuike may not play unless it’s an emergency, limiting Kansas’ height to the 6’8” Mitch Lightfoot and the inexperienced Silvio de Sousa.

In the reality-based world, we should note that Kansas ran through the Big 12 Tournament, dispatching Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia by 11 points or more each game.

Iona can score in bunches, but this year’s team may be less adept at putting points up. The defense remains a theory.

(15) Iona Gaels (20-13) vs. (2) Duke Blue Devils (26-7)

Time: 2:45 p.m.

How to watch: CBS | Stream

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Odds: Duke -20.5

After back-to-back finals appearances by their in-state rival, North Carolina, Duke hopes to have a run of their own. The Blue Devils are eighth in the country in points per game and sixth in total offensive rebounds. Dukes two stars, 6’11” freshman forward Marvin Bagley III (21.1 PPG, 11.5 rebounds per game) and 6’4” senior guard Grayson Allen (15.7 PPG) will have National Title aspirations in what will likely be their last season as college basketball players.

After being the No. 4 seed in the MAAC tournament, the Gaels were able to upset their way through their conference tournament and into the NCAA Tournament. Iona is a perimer-oriented (31st nationally in made three-pointers), ball-movement (41st nationally in assists) offense. Their balanced offense offers five player that averaged over ten points per game this year, led by 6’1” sophomore guard Rickey McGill who average 13.5 points per game.

(11) Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (28-5) vs. (6) Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes (22-9)

Time: 3:10 p.m.

How to watch: truTV | Stream

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, Ros Gold-Onwude

Odds: Miami, -1.5

The talented Miami Hurricanes hope to show more consistency than they did throughout the season. Making their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, The Hurricanes hope to mimic their 2016 Tournament, where they made it to the Sweet Sixteen. The 6’5” sophomore guard Bruce Brown was ruled out for the entire tournament by coach Jim Larranaga. Miami will still have 6’4” freshman guard Lonnie Walker (11.5 PPG) and 6’11” sophomore forward Dewan Huell (11.4 PPG).

The Ramblers come into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985 with an efficient offense (third in the country in field goal percentage) and dominant defense (fifth in the nation points per game allowed). Loyola’s harmonious offense has five players average double digit scoring for the season. Cameron Krutwig will be a player worth watching, as he averages 10.5 points per game and 2 offensive rebounds per game.

(12) South Dakota State Jackrabbits (28-6) vs. (5) Ohio State Buckeyes (24-8)

Time: 4 p.m.

How to watch: TNT | Stream

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington

Odds: Ohio State, -8

Ohio State comes into the tournament thrilled they do not have to see Penn State’s Tony Carr again this season. The Buckeyes and their efficient offense (24th in the nation in field goal percentage) look to get first tournament win under new coach Chris Holtmann after not making an appearance since 2015. The 6’7” senior forward Keita Bates-Diop leads the way for the Buckeyes with 19.4 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game.

The Jackrabbits and their high-powered perimeter offense aim to win in a high-scoring affair. South Dakota State is second in the nation in total points scored and sixth in made three-pointers. The energizer bunny behind the Jackrabbit offense is 6’9” junior forward Mike Daum. Daum averages 23.8 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game.

(9) North Carolina State Wolfpack (21-11) vs. (8) Seton Hall Pirates (21-11)

Time: 4:30 p.m.

How to watch: TBS | Stream

Announcers: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Odds: Seton Hall, -2.5

Seton Hall makes their third straight appearance in the Big Dance. The 6’9” senior center/forward Angel Delgado averaged a double-double this season with 13.3 points per game and 11.6 rebounds per game. The remaining majority of points come from 6’6” senior forward Desi Rodriguez (17.8 PPG) from the Bronx, 6’2” sophomore guard Myles Powell (15.4 PPG), and 6’3” senior guard Khadeen Carrington (14.9 PPG) from Brooklyn. As pointed out by New York Post Sports Reporter Zach Braziller, NC State is 303th in country in defensive rebounding percentage. Seton Hall is 37th in offensive rebounding percentage.

The Wolfpack brings their press defense with the goal of getting their first Tournament win since their Sweet Sixteen run in 2015. The 6’1” sophomore guard Markell Johnson creates much of the Wolfpack offense by penetrating the lane and making the smart choice leading to his 9.8 points per game and 7.4 assists per game. To score the ball, North Carolina State presents 6’3” freshman guard Allerik Freeman (15.4 PPG), 6’5” red-shirt junior Torin Dorn (13.8 PPG), and 7’0” sophomore center Omer Yurtseven (13.8 PPG).

(16) Radford Highlanders (23-12) vs. (1) Villanova Wildcats (30-4)

Time: 6:45 p.m.

How to watch: TNT | Stream

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Odds: Villanova, -23

Nope. Not gonna happen. Should be a thorough beating.

(12) Davidson Wildcats (21-11) vs. (5) Kentucky Wildcats (24-10)

Time: 7:10 p.m.

How to watch: CBS | Stream

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington

Odds: Kentucky, -5

Kentucky, after an inconsistent regular season, finished their season on a high note easily getting to the SEC Tournament championship where they defeated Tennessee. Kentucky is long and athletic defensively and are fifth in the country in free throw attempts. Kentucky’s offense is led by 6’9” freshman forward Kevin Knox, a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, with 15.6 points per game. Kentucky’s freshman stars include 6’5” guard Hamidou Diallo (10 PPG) from Queens.

Davidson also comes into the tournament having won the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Davidson’s offense operates from the perimeter, as they rank 11th in the country in made three-pointers. Peyton Aldridge, a 6’7” senior forward, leads Davidson’s offense with 21.5 points per game. Davidson’s offense also adds 6’5” freshman guard Kellan Grady (18 PPG) and 6’4” sophomore guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson (13 PPG).

(11) San Diego State Aztecs (22-10) vs. (6) Houston Cougars (26-7)

Time: 7:20 p.m.

How to watch: TBS | Stream

Announcers: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Odds: Houston, -4

San Diego State brings a balanced team into the tournament. After getting blown out by Nevada on February 10, San Diego State has rattled off nine straight wins on their way to a Mountain West Tournament Championship. All five Aztec starters average in double figures this season, led by 6’10” senior forward Malik Pope (12.9 PPG) and 6’1” red-shirt junior guard Devin Watson (12.3 PPG).

Houston and its stifling defense will attempt to get their first NCAA Tournament win since Phi Slama Jamma’s final victory in 1984. The Cougars allow the eight least amount of shots in the country, and on those shots, Houston hold opponents to a nation’s ninth best .397 field goal percentage. Houston’s offensive catalyst is 6’2” junior guard Robert Gray Jr., who average 18.5 points per game. Joining in Gray in the back-court is 6’1” freshman guard Robert Gray Jr. (13.5 PPG)

(14) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (28-6) vs. (3) Texas Tech Red Raiders (24-9)

Time: 7:27 p.m.

How to watch: truTV | Stream

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, Ros Gold-Onwude

Odds: Texas Tech, -11

Texas Tech aims to get their first NCAA tournament win since their Sweet Sixteen run in 2006. Texas Tech wins their games on the defensive end, holding their opponents to 64.7 points per game (16th in the country). The Red Raiders are led by a trio of guards made up of 6’3” senior guard Keenan Evans (17.5 PPG), 6’5” freshman guard Jarrett Culver (11.7 PPG), and 6’5” freshman guard Zhaire Smith. Each members of this back-court trio also average 1.2 steals per game.

Stephen F. Austin brings their high powered offense and aggressive defense to their fourth tournament appearance in five years. Defensively the Lumberjacks lead the nation in both steals and turnovers, however they have also committed the second most fouls. Offensively, Stephen F. Austin ranks 15th in total points, most of which come from within the three-point like as they are seventh in made two-point attempts. Most of the Lumberjacks offense comes from 6’2” freshman guard Shannon Bogues (15.4 PPG) off of the bench.

(9) Alabama Crimson Tide (19-15) vs. (8) Virginia Tech Hokies (21-11)

Time: 9:20 p.m.

How to watch: TNT | Stream

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Odds: Virginia Tech, -2

Alabama found a way to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament behind the play of 6’3” freshman guard Collin Sexton. Sexton comes into the tournament averaging 19 points per game, and 26.3 points per game in the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide will also be featuring 6’9” junior forward Donta Hall, whose 2.1 blocks per game helped Alabama rank eight in the country in blocked shots, and 6’5” freshman guard John Petty who averaged 10.1 points per game largely off of his .362 three-point shooting percentage.

Virginia Tech has one of the most balanced offenses in the tournament having five players average double digit points for the season. The Hokies’ offense is spearheaded by 6’1” junior guard Justin Robinson who averaged 13.8 points per game. Robinson is followed by 6’5” senior guard Justin Bibbs (13,1 PPG), 6’10” sophomore forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. (12.6 PPG), 6’5” junior guard Ahmed Hill (10.8 PPG), and 6’5” freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (10.5 PPG).

(13) Buffalo Bulls (26-8) vs. (4) Arizona Wildcats (27-7)

Time: 9:40 p.m.

How to watch: CBS | Stream

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington

Odds: Arizona, -8.5

Amongst all the rumors, accusations, and noise, the Wildcats have found a way to focus on basketball. After winning the Pac-12 regular season title and the Pac-12 Tournament, Arizona is aspiring to win another title. The Wildcats present an offense that is both efficient (fourth in the country in field goal percentage) and effective (23rd most points scored in the country). Arizona features 7’1” freshman forward/center DeAndre Ayton who averaged a double-double with 20.3 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Buffalo offers a potent offense of their own. The Bulls are third in the country in points scored this year, and these points come off of ball movement (10th in the nation in assists). A majority of the Buffalo points are scored by just four players. C.J. Massinburg, a 6’3” junior guard, leads this group with 16.9 points per game. The other three of Buffalo’s main scores are 6’8” junior forward Nick Perkins (16.6 PPG), 6’7” freshman guard Jeremy Harris (15.4 PPG), and 6’0” red-shirt senior guard Wes Clark (14.6 PPG)

(14) Montana Grizzlies (26-7) vs. (3) Michigan Wolverines (28-7)

Time: 9:50 p.m.

How to watch: TBS | Stream

Announcers: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Odds: Michigan, -11

Almost two weeks removed from their Big Ten Tournament victory, the Wolverines put their nine game win streak on the line. Michigan’s style revolves around dominating defensively (ninth in the country in allowed points per game) and not turning the ball over offensively (fifth in the country in turnovers). Michigan’s offense is lead by 6’10” forward Moritz Wagner who averaged 14.5 points per game. Wagner is joined by 6’4” senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (12.6 PPG) and red-shirt sophomore Charles Matthews (12.6 PPG).

After four years, Montana is back in the NCAA Tournament. The Grizzlies rank 29th in the nation in free throw attempts, and they committed the 14th most fouls in the country. With the amount of free-throw attempts that could happen in this game, it could be a choppy game to watch. Ahmaad Rorie, the 6’0” red-shirt junior guard, leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 17.2 points per game. Michael Oguine, 6’1” junior guard, contributes 15.8 points per game and Jamar Akoh, 6’7” red-shirt junior forward, also adds 13.1 points per game as well.

(11) St. Bonaventure Bonnies (26-7) vs. (6) Florida Gators (20-12)

Time: 9:55 p.m.

How to watch: truTV | Stream

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, Ros Gold-Onwude

Odds: Florida, -5.5

The Gators had an inconsistent season having both losses to Ole Miss, Georgia, and Vanderbilt and wins against Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Texas A&M. The Gators won three straight against Auburn, Alabama, and Kentucky to end the regular season. Florida’s offense is not prolific, as in ranked 101st in the country in points per game, but they also do not turn the ball over as they were third in the country in turnovers. Florida’s leading scorer is 6’5” redshirt junior Jalen Hudson who averaged 15.3 points per game.

Fresh off their First Four win over UCLA, the Bonnies and their potent back-court aiming for a first round upset. St. Bonaventure rankes 16th in the country in three-point percentage and 16th in made free-throws. The Bonnies back-court include 6’1” senior guard Jaylen Adams (19.4 PPG) and 6’3” red-shirt senior guard Matt Mobley (18.4 PPG). Freshman 6’5” guard Courtney Stockard (13.3 PPG) was a game-time decision against UCLA with a hamstring injury, but that did not stop him from dropping 26 points on the Bruins.