2015 NCAA Tournament for March 21: Who, what, when, and where


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After a dizzying pace of 32 games in two days, the 2015 NCAA Tournament calms down a bit with the Round of 32 games.  There will be eight games across three networks as truTV drops out of the equation.  Here is a look at today’s game times and channels, along with my picks for the best games today.

12:10: UCLA vs. UAB (CBS)

2:40: Kentucky vs. Cincinnati (CBS)

5:15: Arizona vs. Ohio State (CBS)

6:10: Xavier vs. Georgia State (TNT)

7:10: Villanova vs. North Carolina State (TBS)

7:45: Utah vs. Georgetown (CBS)

8:40: Arkansas vs. North Carolina (TNT)

9:40: Butler vs. Notre Dame (TBS)

Here is my picks for the best games of the day.


The Kentucky Wildcats path to perfection continues in a regional skirmish.  This should be a good defensive battle as both teams have suffocating defenses, but Kentucky has taken defense to a whole new level this season.  Cincinnati’s best player, Octavious Ellis (10.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG) will play today even though he was ejected versus Purdue.  Ellis plays with a lot of heart and emotion and that can get him in trouble.  The Bearcats will play at a slow pace and will likely throw a variety of defenses at the top ranked Wildcats.  If anyone can handle this type of defensive game, it is Kentucky.  UK has the best defense in the NCAA and while this game won’t be pretty, should be a good showcase for the Kentucky big men of Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns.  If Kentucky’s outside shots are not dropping, this may be more of a test than the seedings may indicate.  This is a game in which Devin Booker needs to break out of his shooting slump.  However, this Kentucky team responds to other good defensive teams and will be up to the challenge.


If anything else, this is one last chance to watch OSU’s fab freshman D’Angelo Russell (19.2 PPG, 5.2APG).  You can never count the Buckeyes out of a game as long as Russell is on the court, but more often than not, the Buckeye’s offense gets stagnant as the team seems to just sit around and wait for Russell to work his magic.  Big men like Sam Thompson (10.2 PPG) and Marc Loving (9.9 PPG) have to get involved early and often.  The Buckeyes have a better than average defense, but if they are to advance, other plays than Russell need to step up.  Arizona is loaded and have been tabbed as the “team most likely to beat Kentucky” according to the experts.  The Wildcats rebound 78% of their opponents misses and second shots are a luxury.   Stanley Johnson (13.9 PPG) is a freshman stud in his own right, but PG TJ McConnell is perhaps the most important player on the team.  The offense is not going to light the world on fire, but Arizona is going to win most games with their defense and rebounding.


If fate would have prevailed, both of these teams would be sitting at home today as both deserved to lose to Harvard and Wofford.  Instead, we have probably the best game of the day.  The Tar Heels have Final Four talent, but more than likely, their effort will do them in.  Marcus Paige is still the best player, but he has underwhelmed a bit from his preseason accolades with 13.5 PPG and 4.4 APG.  The Tar Heels have more than enough targets to hurt you offensively and are  great at crashing the boards.  JP Tokoto is one of my favorite players (8.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG) in that he can take any game over but is just too inconsistent to rely on.  Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks are solid in the paint.  Arkansas is loaded with talent and have the top scoring duo in the SEC with Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls.  Arkansas uses their defensive pressure to force turnovers, but this is a team that is prone to long scoreless lapses, like UNC.  If you are looking for a barometer on how Arkansas is doing, they are 19-3 in games in which Anthlon Bell makes three 3-pointers.

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