(Sporting Alert) — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament continues on Saturday with another full set of games, as a number of teams hunt tourney titles.
Top-ranked Kentucky will put its perfect season record on the line against a very spirited Auburn squad, which has won three games in three days in the SEC tournament.
The Wildcats (32-0, 18-0 SEC), although not playing their best ball in the opening minutes, managed to limit Florida’s offense in the second half on Friday to secure a 64-49 win in the SEC tournament quarterfinals.
“The reality of it is, we didn’t play with as much energy as Florida played with to start the game,” Cats head coach John Calipari told reporters.
“I told them at halftime, if that’s what we have in store, like that’s how we’re going to do this, we’re going to have some problems.”
Auburn, in the meantime, which won just four games in league action this season and was second to last in the standings, responded well to the critics to upset the No. 4 seeded LSU 73-70 in overtime to earn the right to face the best team in the country.
KT Harrell, who netted 15-straight points, including the three-pointer in the last second of regulation to force overtime, led the Auburn Tigers (15-19, 4-14 SEC) with a game-high and career matching-best of 29 points.
He scored 11 straight in the last 2:37 of the second half and then netted the opening four for his team in overtime from the free throw line.
“We knew how good we are, even though our record didn’t show it,” Harrell said. “We just knew we had to pick it up defensively.
“That’s what the problem was all season. And we’re just proud of everybody and staying together and staying focused on what we have to do to try to win games. And we’re just happy to be moving on.”
Harrell admits that it will be a difficult task trying to take down Kentucky, but the star guard believes on current form, this is the ideal time for them to be facing the top-ranked team.
Over in the ACC tournament, No. 19 North Carolina and 11 Notre Dame will battle in the championship game after they respectively knocked out the top two seeds on Friday night.
The Tar Heels (24-10, 11-7 ACC) managed to hold off Virginia’s big second half rally to top the top seed and No. 3 side in the nation, 71-67 in their semifinals.
Notre Dame, in the meantime, upsets No. 2 Duke 74-64 to reach the final.
In Big East action, the No. 4 ranked Villanova, which edged Providence 63-61 in semis, will meet Xavier in the tournament championship game after the Musketeers held off No. 23 Georgetown 65-63 in the other Big East semifinal contest.
No.6 Wisconsin will face Purdue in the Big Ten semis after the Badgers (29-3, 16-2 Big Ten) beat Michigan 71-60 in their quarterfinal battle.
Below is the full schedule and TV and streaming listing for Saturday, March 14.
Top 25 Games and TV Channels
1:00 PM Auburn vs (1) Kentucky* ESPN | WatchESPN
1:00 PM Purdue vs (6) Wisconsin* CBS
1:30 PM Virginia Commonwealth vs (24) Davidson* CBS Sports Network
3:00 PM Georgia vs (21) Arkansas* ESPN | WatchESPN
3:00 PM Temple vs (20) SMU* ESPN 2 | WatchESPN
3:25 PM Michigan St vs (8) Maryland* CBS
6:00 PM (13) Iowa State vs (9) Kansas* ESPN | WatchESPN
8:00 PM Xavier vs (4) Villanova* FOX Sports 1
8:30 PM (19) North Carolina vs (11) Notre Dame* ESPN | WatchESPN
11:00 PM Oregon vs (5) Arizona* ESPN | WatchESPN
Selected Games and ESPN 3 live streaming contests: