It’s been a long time since the NCAA could point at their bracket and say, “See, we mostly got it right.”
But here we are, on Saturday afternoon of the first weekend, and only one team seeded higher than 11th is still alive. Say hello to your Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, the only 12 seed to survive an opening round of an NCAA Tournament which saw all four top seeds in each region advance.
It’s not just their status as Cinderella which makes their game against Butler the highlight of this evening’s slate, however. The rest of this afternoon’s games are, for one reason or another, sort of meh. Nobody wants to see Gonzaga after Thursday’s debacle. Nobody ever wants to see Arizona. Iowa State is playing a school that doesn’t even exist. Florida/Virginia could be fun, but it could also be awful.
So let’s all just do the right thing and cheer for the Blue Raiders. After all, what’s a Sweet Sixteen without a 12-seed?
Saturday’s Late Men’s Games
|West||(1) Gonzaga||vs||(8) Northwestern||Salt Lake City UT||4:15pm||CBS||Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Jamie Erdahl|
|West||(3) Florida State||vs||(11) Xavier||Orlando FL||5:15pm||TNT||Ian Eagle/Steve Lavin/Evan Washburn|
|South||(4) Butler||vs||(12) Middle Tennessee State||Milwaukee WI||6:10pm||TBS||Carter Blackburn/Mike Gminski/Debbie Antonelli/Lisa Byington|
|West||(2) Arizona||vs||(7) Saint Mary's||Salt Lake City UT||6:45pm||CBS||Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Jamie Erdahl|
|East||(4) Florida||vs||(5) Virginia||Orlando FL||7:40pm||TNT||Ian Eagle/Steve Lavin/Evan Washburn|
|Midwest||(4) Purdue||vs||(5) Iowa State||Milwaukee WI||8:40pm||TBS||Carter Blackburn/Mike Gminski/Debbie Antonelli/Lisa Byington|
The late women’s schedule has a Big 12 flavor, as both Baylor and Oklahoma are in action during the first wave.
Saturday’s Late Women’s Games
|Bridgeport||(7) Temple||vs||(10) Oregon||Durham NC||5:35pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Clay Matvick/Christy Winters-Scott|
|Oklahoma City||(1) Baylor||vs||(16) Texas Southern||Waco TX||5:35pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Lowell Galindo/Sue Bird|
|Bridgeport||(4) UCLA||vs||(13) Boise State||Los Angeles CA||5:40pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Sam Gore/Julianna Viani|
|Oklahoma City||(6) Oklahoma||vs||(11) Gonzaga||Seattle WA||5:40pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Pam Ward/Gail Goestenkors|
|Bridgeport||(5) Texas A&M||vs||(12) Pennsylvania||Los Angeles CA||7:30pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Sam Gore/Julianna Viani|
|Bridgeport||(2) Duke||vs||(15) Hampton||Durham NC||7:30pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Clay Matvick/Christy Winters-Scott|
|Oklahoma City||(3) Washington||vs||(14) Montana State||Seattle WA||7:30pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Pam Ward/Gail Goestenkors|
|Oklahoma City||(8) Louisiana State||vs||(9) California||Waco TX||7:30pm||ESPN2/WatchESPN||Lowell Galindo/Sue Bird|