These are the games that will have you pulling your hair out this weekend.
The NCAA this year finally did away with the ridiculous assertion that the First Four play-in games constitutes the beginning of the real NCAA tournament, therefore making the first full weekend of games the second and third rounds.
Now, we get our first and second round distinctions back, and it’s time to not do any work while we just gorge basketball non-stop through our eyeballs for three straight weekends.
For now, we’ve got some matchups that will certainly tickle your fancy for the first weekends and hopefully will give us the indelible moments that make March Madness such a special stretch of the sports calendar.
As for games you should definitely watch on this first weekend? We got you.
No.5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada
Looking for your 5-12 upset? The Wolf Pack over the Cyclones wouldn’t be bad pick. Either way, the game should be pretty good. Last season Iowa State made it to the Sweet 16, but this season a 28-6 Nevada team is looking to spoil the part of the Big 12 tournament champions.
No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton
Similar 5-12 matchup that jumps off of the page. The Tigers come in riding a 19-game winning streak and they’re all kinds of hot. Notre Dame road all the way to the ACC tournament final against Duke. Mike Brey’s Irish are anchored by Bonzie Colson, who despite his 6’5 frame, leads the ACC in rebounds. He’s also 15th nationally in the category. If he cleans the glass it’s going to be a long day for Princeton, but if he can’t things could get weird.
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 FGCU
Dunk city looks like it’s back, and neither fanbase will have to travel far to play as the game will be in Orlando. The Noles are among the more talented teams in the country, but whether or not they can gel and make a run in March under coach Leonard Hamilton remains to be seen. Gulf Coast has played spoiler before in the tournament, and they can certainly do it again.
No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State
This should be good because you’ve got not only a decent Wichita State team, you’ve got an extra-motivated one too. The Shockers might be one of the most underseeded teams in the nation as the No. 38 true seed in the field, yet they’re No. 8 in Ken Pomeroy’s advanced rankings. The Shockers may prove just how good they are to those who aren’t paying attention against a well-coached Fliers squad.
No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island
Besides Michigan, a tournament darling may end up being the Rhode Island Rams. Instead of a berth in the First Four and needing to play their way in, they got an auto bid by winning the A-10 tournament and have a great comeback story in E.C. Matthews who tore his ACL last season. Oh, and they can play too with rim defending force Hassan Martin 16th nationally in blocks per game. Creighton’s going to have to earn points in the paint in this matchup.