It’s that time of year we have all been waiting for and yet no matter how much we try to prepare our brackets, we should expect the unexpected. The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament tips off today, with a full slate of 16 games, beginning around noon. Here is a breakdown for some of today’s games:
#1 UNC VS #16 FGCU (7:20pm)
Five Fast Facts:
- FGCU is the only 15-seed to ever reach the Sweet 16 (2013), and are trying to become to first 16-seed ever to knock out a 1-seed.
- Florida Gulf Coast enters Thursday’s contest with a 21-13 record averaging 77.0 PPG, while North Carolina enters 28-6 averaging 82.3 PPG.
- FGCU offense is lead by 6-foot-8 Marc-Eddy Norelia (17.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG), UNC offense is lead by forward Brice Johnson with nearly 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
- FGCU offense doesn’t take many 3s, and is one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the country (64.7%).
- UNC offense is prone to attack inside the paint and tops the ACC from the 2-point range (52.3%), but shoots a lousy (28.3%) from beyond the arc.
Other East Region games today include: #12 Chattanooga vs. #5 Indiana (7:10pm), #13 Stony Brook vs. # 4 Kentucky (9:40pm), #9 Providence vs. #8 USC (9:50pm),
# 6 Arizona vs. # 11 Wichita State
Five Fast Facts:
- Arizona enters the game with a 25-8 record while averaging 81.2 PPG, while Wichita State enters with a 24-8 record while averaging 73.2 PPG.
- Both teams are 9-3 over the last 12 games.
- Arizona is one of the top rebounding teams in the nation (plus-9.2 differential), and defend the 3-point line well (opponents hit just 32.1% of triples).
- Wichita State is lead by senior guards Fred VanVleet (12.0 PPG, 5.7 APG) and Ron Baker (14.2 PPG).
- No. 6 seeds have won 65% of meetings with No. 11 seeds.
Other South Region games today include: #9 Connecticut vs. 8 Colorado (1:30pm), #1 Kansas vs. #16 Austin Peay, #3 Miami vs. #14 Buffalo
#5 Baylor vs. # 12 Yale
Five Fast Facts:
- Yale is entering tournament for the first time since 1962, holding an 11-1 record over the past 12 games.
- Baylor enter with a 22-11 record, but or 5-7 over the last 12 games.
- Yale is led by Justin Sears (15.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG) and Makai Mason (15.8 PPG, 38 3P%), while Baylor is lead by Taurean Prince (15.5 PPG) and a point guard (Lester Medford) who owns an impressive 2.77-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Yale ranks seventh in defensive rebound percentage and seventh in offensive rebound percentage.
- Baylor has played eight games this season against teams ranked in the top 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Bears average 66.4 points per game in those games.
Other West Region games today include: #4 Duke vs. UNC Wilmington (12:15pm)
#6 Seton Hall vs. #11 Gonzaga
- Seton Hall enters the tournament for the first time in a decade and captured the Big East tourney title with victories over No. 5 Xavier and No. 3 Villanova.
- Gonzaga enters the tournament for the 18th-straight time with a 26-7 record.
- Gonzaga is led by forwards Kyle Wiltjer (20.7 PPG) and Domantas Sabonis (17.4 PPG, 11.6 RPG), but lost their star center Przemek Karnowski to a season-ending injury (back).
- Seton Hall is strong from the paint is led by standout guard Isaiah Whitehead (17.9 PPG, 4.9 APG).
- Gonzaga has been a double-digit seed 6 times (this being the 7th), 3 times it reached Sweet 16 as as double-digit seed.
Other Southwest Region games today include: #9 Butler vs. #8 Texas Tech (12:40pm), #13 Iona vs. #4 Iowa State (2:oopm), #1 Virginia vs. #16 Hampton (3:10pm), #5 Purdue vs. #12 Arkansas-Little Rock (4:30pm). #3 Utah vs. # 14 Fresno State (7:27pm).