March Madness: Viewer’s Guide for Friday Games of 2012 NCAA Tournament

For me, very few things in the sports world can rival the first two days of the NCAA Tournament, and I actually can’t remember the last time I worked on either day.  Don’t worry, I have used vacation time ever since the time I tried to tell my boss I had scurvy and got caught in a web of lies.

The good news is that even if your boss is an ogre and won’t allow you to take time off, you can still get online access to March Madness Live.

And regardless of how you intend to watch the games, I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about Friday’s matchups, including the tip times, the channels, and even the announcers, plus my guidance on which games and players you should pay special attention to.

Friday Afternoon NCAA Tournament Games

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Texas

#6 San Diego State vs. #11 North Carolina State

#8 Creighton vs. #9 Alabama

#7 Florida vs. #10 Virginia

#3 Florida State vs. #14 Saint Bonaventure

  • Tip Time: 2:45 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: CBS
  • Announcers: Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel

#3 Georgetown vs. #14 Belmont

#1 North Carolina vs. #16 Vermont

  • Tip Time: 4:10 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TBS
  • Announcers: Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg

#2 Missouri vs. #15 Norfolk State

  • Tip Time: 4:40 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TNT
  • Announcers: Marv Albert/Steve Kerr

As was the case on Thursday, the NCAA and/or CBS  have done a great job of spacing out the games so that you can literally spend the final 12 hours of your day watching hoops.  Whoever came up with that idea deserves an award of some kind, or at least a gift card to Chili’s.

The noon hour brings us a pair of 6-11 games, and according to my rankings, they are the two most likely upsets of the four matchups between those seeds.  Of the two, I expect the San Diego State-NC State game to be the most entertaining.  There will be plenty of explosives athletes on the floor like C.J. Leslie for the Wolfpack and Jamaal Franklin for the Aztecs, who led the team in scoring and rebounding and was named the Mountain West Player of the Year.

cj-leslie-nc-state-san-diego-state-preview-prediction-tv-tip-time-announcers-tickets-point-spread

Former McDonald's All American C.J. Leslie is ready to lead the Wolfpack to a first round Tournament win. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

The Cincinnati-Texas game should be more of a grinder, but I have a ton of respect for how Mick Cronin and the Bearcats salvaged their sesaon after the brawl with Xaver.  The guard play in this one should be terrific with J’Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo for Texas facing off against the UC trio of Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick, and Dion Dixon.

Of the 8-9 games, I picked Alabama as the second most likely “upset,” largely based on their defensive ability.  They’ll need to be strong on that end of the floor against Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who is one of the best players in the nation.  If you haven’t checked him out yet, shame on you.  But here’s your chance to atone for your prior transgressions!

Florida and Virginia were two of the teams I thought were the most overrated all season, so I guess this will let me finally answer the question of who is the least most overrated?  Expect the Gators to be jacking up threes pop-a-shot style, while the Cavaliers will be content to slow it down and run their offense through stud forward Mike Scott, who is one of the most efficient players in the country.

A pair of intriguing 3-14 matchups are up next.  Saint Bonaventure big man Andrew Nicholson carried the Bonnies through the A-10 Tournament and will be a challenge for FSU forward Bernard James, who served multiple tours in Iraq and Qatar during his time in the Air Force.

Belmont has also been a trendy upset pick over Georgetown, and the tempo of that matchup will likely decide the outcome.  While I didn’t pick either of the 14 seeds in these contests, it wouldn’t shock me if one of them sprung the upset.

The final two games of the afternoon are probably your best chance to take a nap, catch up on current events, talk to your family, or generally interact with the outside world.  Both higher seeded teams should roll into the next round, but keep an eye on the scoreboard just in case things get interesting.

Friday Night NCAA Tournament Games

#8 Memphis vs. #9 Saint Louis

#2 Duke vs. #15 Lehigh

#4 Michigan vs. #13 Ohio

#7 Saint Mary’s vs. #10 Purdue

#1 Michigan State vs. #16 LIU Brooklyn

  • Tip Time: 9:20 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TBS
  • Announcers: Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg

#7 Notre Dame vs. #10 Xavier

#5 Temple vs. #12 South Florida

#2 Kansas vs. #15 Detroit

Just like Thursday the action comes fast and furious once the evening sessions tip off.  Luckily the final two games of the afternoon provided an opportunity to commandeer some grub and restock your supply of beer milk, which is good for strong bones and a healthy body.

The first night game between Memphis and Saint Louis should be a good one.  The Tigers finished the season playing as well as anyone in the country, and Will Barton has been fantastic.  I’m predicting that Rick Majerus pulls out a box-and-one or another junk defense at some point in this one.

If you want a reason to watch Duke and Lehigh (other than rooting against Duke of course, which I know many of you heartily enjoy), check out Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum.  He’s a stud.

For those of you who enjoy good point guard play (and really, who doesn’t?), make sure you catch Michigan’s Trey Burke and Ohio’s D.J. Cooper get after it in their matchup.  I think the Wolverines will win it, but Cooper was around when the Bobcats upset Georgetown in the first round a couple years ago.

As for Saint Mary’s and Purdue, this should be one of the more entertaining games of the day, because both teams have efficient offenses to go with mediocre defenses.  That’s the recipe for a back-and-forth tournament game if I’ve ever heard one.

The final 1-16 matchup of the first round leads off the late games.  LIU has some explosive athletes and loves to get out and run, but they aren’t beating Izzo in the first round.

Xavier over Notre Dame was my most likely 7-10 upset, so I’ll be watching to make sure the Muskies can “zip ’em up” and make me look smart.  All kidding aside, look for plenty of strong guard play in this one with Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons for Xavier and Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant for the Irish.

The Temple-South Florida tilt gives us one last chance for a 5-12 upset, although I like Temple’s trio of guards (Ramone Moore, Khalif Wyatt, and Juan Fernandez) to give the Owls the advantage.  That being said, freshman Anthony Collins is no slouch in the backcourt, and I give the Bulls a ton of credit for the way they played on Wednesday night.  I didn’t think they deserved to get in, but they took full advantage of the opportunity and put it on Cal.  USF is tough defensively, and if they can slow the game down, they could pull off the upset.

In the last matchup of the first round, I realize that Detroit has some talent, but their shot selection is questionable at best, which plays right into the hands of Kansas’ defense.  A few people have thrown this out as an upset pick, but I’m not buying it.  Too much Thomas Robinson for the Titans to handle.



About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

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