Men’s March Madness gets real Saturday as Round 32 begins.
There are eight games on deck, with the two biggest first-round bracket breakers – Furman and Princeton – looking to prove Thursday’s shock wins were more than a fluke. Meanwhile, No. 1 seeds Kansas, Houston and Alabama will also be back in action.
Athletic does it cover you from the initial tip. Here are the biggest players and storylines to watch.
I follow Athletic‘c live updates from the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Schedule for Saturday
Games to watch
No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Furman — Odds (via BetMGM): SDSU -5.5 | ML -250 | o/u 137.5
Furman upset No. 4 Virginia in the first round, hitting the game-winning 3 with 2 seconds left to win its first NCAA Tournament game in 49 years. The Paladins (what is that anyway?) did so despite leading scorer Mike Bothwell having foul trouble and playing just 20 minutes while Jalen Slawson dominated a 19-4 run that sealed the win. But Bothwell should be fresh for Saturday’s game. San Diego State handled No. 12 seed Charleston in the first round, coming from behind as the game neared the end. It was the Aztecs’ first tournament win since 2015, and they now look to advance to their third Sweet 16.
The pass, steal and dunk that shocked Virginia excited Furman and welcomed back in March
No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 15 Princeton — Odds: Missouri -6.5 | ML -275 | o/u 150.5
Princeton pulled off an even bigger upset Thursday, upending No. 2 Arizona for the Tigers’ first tournament win since 1998 — and becoming the 11th No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed in the men’s NCAA tournament. It was Princeton’s defense that came up big, holding the prolific Wildcats, who averaged the nation in points this season (82.7), to just 55 points and just 24 in the second half. A win against Missouri would make Princeton’s first trip to the Sweet Sixteen since 1967. As for Missouri, a late burst by Kobe Brown against Utah in the first round sent the other Tigers to their first tournament win in 13 years. The Aggies fell short from 3-point range, going 4 of 14 to lose their ninth straight in the tournament as Missouri shot 40 percent from deep.
Are you shocked that No. 15 Princeton beat No. 2 Arizona? That’s why tigers aren’t
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Duke — odds: Duke -3.5 | ML -175 | o/u 128.5
The lower-seeded Blue Devils, who are riding a 10-game winning streak, enter the game as 3.5-point favorites over the Volunteers. The ACC Tournament champions upset 2022 seed Oral Roberts on Thursday in Jon Scheyer’s first NCAA Tournament game at the helm of the program. The Eagles were held scoreless for the first 8:05. Duke star Jeremy Roach led all scorers with 23 points; Darrick Whitehead scored 13 off the bench and is now shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc since the start of the conference tournament. Tennessee narrowly held on to beat No. 13 Louisiana in the first round. Jahmai Mashack scored 11 points and Tyreke Key added 12 off the bench. The Volunteers, who have the No. 3 defense in the country, held the Ragin’ Cajuns to just 19 points in the first half.
With Derek Lively II playing like this, Duke could run its defense deep into March
Alabama coach Nate Oates said after the team’s first-round win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi, in which Brandon Miller was held scoreless, that the star freshman was nursing a groin injury. Miller said Friday he was “100 percent,” and Oates added, “Knowing Brandon, knowing how healthy he is mentally and physically, I think he’ll be ready to go (against Maryland).”
In a meeting with reporters Friday, Houston guards Marcus Sasser (groin injury) and Jamal Shead (knee sprain) said they are “100 percent” ready to play Saturday against Auburn. Sasser said he has been undergoing massage therapy, stretching and rehab since Thursday night, when Houston came within a hair of a gutsy effort against No. 16 Northern Kentucky.
Both Sasser and Shedd were in uniform for Friday’s practice in Birmingham.
Top NBA Draft prospects in action
- Brandon Miller, Alabama (vs. No. 8 Maryland at 9:40 p.m. ET on TBS)
- Jarace Walker, Houston (vs. No. 9 Auburn at 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS)
- Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas (vs. No. 1 Kansas at 5:15 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Grady Dick, Kansas (vs. No. 8 Arkansas at 5:15 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Julian Phillips, Tennessee (vs. No. 5 Duke at 2:40 p.m. ET on CBS)
(Photo: Matt Pendleton/USA Today)