Amongst the teams down for action on Thursday is No. 1 seed in the West and top-ranked in The Associated Press poll Gonzaga (31-2), who will face No. 16 Southern University (23-9) at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT.
The Bulldogs, boosted by Kelly Olynyk, a 7-foot All-American and one of the most dangerous competitors in the country, are the heavy favourites to win the title this season, following their impressive regular season, which included a perfect 16-0 record in the West Coast Conference.
Gonzaga have a motto and a certain approach that they use heading into competitions and when they face the champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, nothing will change.
“We’re just going to approach it like we did all those other games,” head coach Mark Few said.
“This entire year, we’re 33 games in, and every game we’ve been the highest-rated team. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, is my motto.”
Few also revealed that he wants his team to continue to be aggressive.
“We’ve had some difficult matchups in the first round when we’ve been a 7 to a 10, they’ve sent us across the country in someone’s back yard,” he said.
“I think we approached it with a chip on our shoulder and went out there and were the aggressive team. We’ve been talking a lot about doing the same thing with this group.”
Meanwhile, the Southern University Jaguars are just grateful to be back in the NCAA tournament after going through some tough times when the school and its program were badly affected by an academic scandal four-years-ago.
Another No. 1 seed, Louisville (29-5) will take on another No. 16 North Carolina A&T (20-16), which booked their spot in the second round after getting past Liberty in the First Four on Tuesday night.
No. 13 South Dakota State (25-9) will have its hands full against No. 4 Michigan (26-7); another No. 13 seed and Big Sky champs Montana (25-6) will battle with No. 4 Syracuse (26-9), which will be hoping to rebound from losing to the Louisville Cardinals in the Big East tournament.
Elsewhere, (5) Oklahoma State (24-8) will take on (12) Oregon (26-8), (3) Michigan State (25-8) match talents with (14) Valparaiso (26-7), (13) New Mexico State (24-10) go up against (4) Saint Louis (27-6), while (14) Harvard (19-9) play against (3) New Mexico (29-5) and Davidson (26-7) face (3) Marquette (23-8).
Another First Four winner, (11) Saint Mary’s (28-6) will be hoping to extend its postseason with a win over (6) Memphis (30-4) at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
March Madness: NCAA Tournament Games TV Channels
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
12:15 PM (14) Valparaiso vs (3) Michigan State* Live TV Channel CBS
12:40 PM (11) Bucknell vs (6) Butler* Live TV Channel tru TV
1:40 PM (9) Wichita State vs (8) Pittsburgh* Live TV Channel TBS
2:10 PM (13) New Mexico State vs (4) Saint Louis* Live TV Channel TNT
2:45 PM (11) Saint Mary’s vs (6) Memphis* Live TV Channel CBS
3:10 PM (14) Davidson vs (3) Marquette* Live TV Channel tru TV
4:10 PM (16) Southern University vs (1) Gonzaga* Live TV Channel TBS
4:40 PM (12) Oregon vs (5) Oklahoma State* Live TV Channel TNT
6:50 PM (16) North Carolina A&T vs (1) Louisville* Live TV Channel TBS
7:15 PM (13) South Dakota State vs (4) Michigan* Live TV Channel CBS
7:20 PM (11) Belmont vs (6) Arizona* Live TV Channel TNT
7:27 PM (12) California vs (5) UNLV* Live TV Channel tru TV
9:20 PM (9) Missouri vs (8) Colorado State* Live TV Channel TBS
9:45 PM (12) Akron vs (5) Virginia Commonwealth* Live TV Channel CBS
9:50 PM (14) Harvard vs (3) New Mexico* Live TV Channel TNT
9:57 PM (13) Montana vs (4) Syracuse* Live TV Channel tru TV