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

Now that you have your brackets filled out and have concocted your excuse for missing work to watch the NCAA Tournament, or have your online access to March Madness Live ready to go, it’s time to plan your viewing schedule for the day.

Once again, all of the games will be broadcast on CBS, TNT, TruTV, and TBS, and simulcast online, so you have free reign to watch whichever games you want.

God Bless America.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of Thursday’s games, complete with tip times, the channel, and even the announcers, plus my guidance on which games and players you should pay special attention to.

Thursday Afternoon NCAA Tournament Games

#6 Murray State vs. #11 Colorado State

#8 Kansas State vs. #9 Southern Mississippi

  • Tip Time: 12:40 ET
  • TV Channel: TruTV
  • Announcers: Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller
  • Preview and Prediction

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Davidson

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Montana

#3 Marquette vs. #14 BYU

  • Tip Time: 2:45 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: CBS
  • Announcers: Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery

#1 Syracuse vs. #16 UNC-Asheville

  • Tip Time: 3:10 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TruTV
  • Announcers: Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller
  • Preview and Prediction

#5 New Mexico vs. #12 Long Beach State

#5 Vanderbilt vs. #12 Harvard

Thanks to a couple of these pods being out west, the games are spaced out nicely, and the last afternoon game should almost take you all the way to the start of the first evening contest.  The net result of all that is that you can watch March Madness for roughly 12 straight hours, which is NEVER a bad thing.

Of the games that start in the 12:00 hour, I am much more interested in the Murray State-Colorado State game.  The Racers have been one of the year’s best stories, and if you haven’t had the chance to see their star guard Isaiah Canaan, don’t let this opportunity pass you by.


Isaiah Canaan should be able to lead Murray State past Colorado State and avoid a first round upset.

In the other game, Southern Miss limped into the post-season, and I don’t envision this being as close as you might expect an 8-9 matchup to be.  Still, because there are only a couple games on early, you can check in periodically just in case.  Plus, K-State coach Frank Martin is always entertaining to watch regardless of the opponent.

I’ll lump the Louisville-Davidson and Wisconsin-Montana games together, because I think both have great upset potential.  In fact, I picked both of the 13 seeds to win in my bracket picks, so it’s a good chance to see if I really know what I am talking about.  The first of those will likely be the more entertaining contest to check out, but the matchup between Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Montana’s Will Cherry should be a good one in the latter.

Unless you’re a Syracuse fan, that 1-16 matchup probably doesn’t interest you much, but maybe you can tune in to see what the Orange look like without Fab Melo.

However, the game between Marquette and BYU should be an uptempo affair that won’t lack excitement.  For Marquette, you have a pair of stars in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom or you can just watch Buzz Williams sweat (or dance) on the sidelines.


GIF source: SBNation

And BYU is coming off of a 25-point comeback against Iona on Tuesday night, so it will be interesting to see what they have left in the tank after that.

While I don’t love the upset potential of the 5-12 games that comprise the afternoon’s final two contests, both should be close.

People may not have seen much of New Mexico and Long Beach State this season, but I really like both squads.  The Lobos boast talented big man Drew Gordon, while the 49ers’ Casper Ware is one of the most exciting players in the country.

Expect plenty of academic-related humor in the last game, but make no mistake about it, Harvard is legit.  That matchup also features Vandy’s John Jenkins, who is one of the best pure shooters in the nation.

Thursday Night NCAA Tournament Games

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Western Kentucky

#5 Wichita State vs. #12 VCU

#7 Gonzaga vs. #10 West Virginia

#3 Baylor vs. #14 South Dakota State

#8 Iowa State vs. #9 Connecticut

#4 Indiana vs. #13 New Mexico State

  • Tip Time: 9:45 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: CBS
  • Announcers: Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery
  • Preview and Prediction

#2 Ohio State vs. #15 Loyola (MD)

  • Tip Time: 9:50 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TNT
  • Announcers: Spero Dedes/Bob Wenzel

#6 UNLV vs. #11 Colorado

  • Tip Time: 9:57 ET (approx.)
  • TV Channel: TruTV
  • Announcers: Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller
  • Preview and Prediction

There is less time between the tip-offs of these games so plan accordingly.

I suggest getting dinner right after Vandy-Harvard goes final, because if you miss a few minutes of Kentucky and Western Kentucky, you won’t wind up kicking yourself later.  The Hilltoppers staged a miraculous comeback of their own in the First Four on Tuesday, and their improvement following the mid-season firing of their coach is an interesting storyline.  Still, that game should be just as lopsided as you would expect a 1-16 matchup to be.  That said, Anthony Davis’ game (and his unibrow) should maintain your interest for a few minutes at least.

If you can only pick one of the next three games to focus on, make it Wichita State-VCU.  The Shockers are arguably this season’s top “mid-major” and have a number of ingredients needed for a deep tournament run.  However, VCU played extremely well over the latter half of the season, and their pressing “havoc” defense is fun to watch as long as you aren’t a fan of their opponent.  Let’s see if Shaka Smart can keep his March mojo going before Illinois tries to lure him to Champaign.


Editor's note: Okay, true I went to the image library to get a picture of Shaka Smart but I accidentally typed Shakira instead. I just decided to embrace the error and use this pic instead. No one minds, do they? Surely not.

The Gonzaga-West Virginia matchup should also be a good one and is among the potential 7-10 upsets, particularly since the Mountaineers will be playing so close to home.  Also, check out WVU’s double-double machine Kevin Jones and Gonzaga’s freshman sharpshooter Kevin Pangos, who hit nine three-pointers in a game earlier this season.

Even the game between Baylor and South Dakota State should be interesting to watch.  For one, you know Baylor is probably going to trot out some ridiculous neon and/or camouflage unis.  Even above and beyond that, the Bears are a mix-tape waiting to happen on the offensive end, and the Jackrabbits have a star of their own in Nate Wolters.  In short, don’t completely ignore this one based on the seeds involved.

In the late games, Iowa State-UConn fits the bill of what we’ve come to expect from an 8-9 game.  The Cyclones have Minnesota transfer Royce White, who is essentially a 6-foot-8, 250 pound point guard with a Mohawk that should give the defending champs fits.  On the other side, the Huskies have one last chance to put all of their talent to work and salvage a disappointing season.

The Indiana-New Mexico State matchup should be a good one as well, with the Hoosiers returning to the NCAA Tournament after the program hit rock bottom in the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson era.  Freshman big man Cody Zeller has talent that belies his age, but the Aggies have plenty of inside bulk of their own, led by senior Wendell McKines.  NMSU has been a trendy upset pick this week, so keep an eye on this one.

Outside of Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos, I’m not too excited by the 2-15 game.  Keep an eye on OSU guard William Buford though, because if he gets off to a hot start in the tournament, I really like the Buckeyes’ chances to make the Final Four.

In the final game of the day, the matchup to watch is between UNLV’s Mike Moser and Colorado’s Andre Roberson.  Both are lanky, athletic forwards who are phenomenal rebounders and bring non-stop energy when they are on the floor.  And while I didn’t peg that as a 6-11 upset, it should still be a competitive game.


What Thursday game are you most looking forward to watching?

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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