While brackets across the country may already have blown, College basketball fans are just beginning.
Day 1 of the NCAA tournament started with a bang on Thursday 12 seeds Furman defeated 4-Seed Virginia in the final moments.
A last-second three-pointer by JP Pegues gave Furman his first NCAA tournament win since 1974.
15-seeded Princeton shocked the world, defeating 2-seeded Arizona in the South region on a 9-0 run to end the game in a 59-55 win.
Day 2 of the first round of the NCAA tournament is todayand there are some fantastic matchups with surprises that will no doubt fill up the afternoon.
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Let’s take a look at four games featured on Day 2 of the NCAA tournament.
Here’s to more madness today.
12 VCU vs. 5 Saint Mary’s – 2:00 p.m. ET
Prepare for a devastating, drawn-out battle in Albany, New York.
Saint Mary’s enters the tournament fresh from a beatdown Hands of Gonzaga in the WCC Championship Game, but the Gaels are not to be taken lightly.
Participate in the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, Head Coach Randy Bennett has a team that can shoot the three and defend the basket.
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The Gaels are 39th in the country in three-point percentage (37.2%) and allow just 60.1 points per game on defense, fifth-best in the country.
They’re playing slowly — the last 10 at pace according to ESPN — and averaging just 71.4 points per game.
Saint Mary’s has a handful of impressive wins under its belt, beating Oral Roberts, San Diego State and Gonzaga while tied with Houston in December.
VCU come into the tournament on a hot streak, winning nine times in a row, including a win over Dayton in the A10 Championship game.
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The Rams are tournament legends — they made the 2011 Final Four — and will nail you defensively, too.
With just 62.9 points per game (24th in the country), VCU is at the top Junior Guard Adrian Balwin Jr.who was named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the A10.
11 Pittsburgh vs. 6 Iowa State – 3:10 p.m. ET
An interesting matchup in Greensboro as the Panthers find their way into the tournament afterwards to beat the state of Mississippi in the first four game.
It was a damn good time Turnaround for Pitt in Jeff Capel’s fifth season as head coach.
After going 11-21 in 2021-2022, Pittsburgh experienced a 12-game improvement to go 23-11 in 2022-2023.
The Panthers take 25.4 shots per game from beyond the three-point line (37th in the country) and put them down with a 36.2% clip.
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For the state of Iowathey win on the defensive end, keeping the teams at 62.8 points per game and forcing nearly 17 turnovers per game, according to ESPN.
The Cyclones are led by two high-ranking guards – Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur – who collectively average 26.3 points per game.
Iowa State can fight offense, averaging just 68.4 points per game.
The Cyclones have two starters from last year’s team that made it to the Sweet 16.
11 Providence vs. 6 Kentucky – 7:10 p.m. ET
John Calipari kicked off the season with pleading fans of the Wildcats need to be patient.
“I like the pieces,” Calipari said in a video earlier this year. “We have player of the year, we have another first-team conference, we have good youngsters. But let me explain, and you’ll know I’m honest. We’re not where we need to be now.”
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“And I look at November and December and I’m like, ‘We might be a little shaky.'”
Calipari was right as the preseason No. 4 team finished 1-3 in the SEC earlier in the year.
But Kentucky righted the ship and finished the season 12-6 in conference play.
They are led by reigning international of the year Oscar Tshibwe, who is averaging 16.5 points and 13.1 rebounds per game.
Do not forget, Kentucky was shocked by St. Peter in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament.
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The Wildcats face a Providence Team who can score, 36th in the country with 78.1 points per game.
The brothers are led by second forward Bryce Hopkins – a transfer from Kentucky – who leads the team in points (16.1) and rebounds (8.5) per game.
#13 Kent State vs. #4 Indiana – 9:55 p.m. ET
It’s a duel between two excellent players as Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis meets Kent State’s Sincere Carry.
Jackson-Davis averages 20.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.7 blocks per game and was named first-team Associated Press All-American.
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“I probably pushed him harder than any other player on this team and I know there were days where he would walk out here and be like, ‘Hey, is this guy really in my corner based on how he’s pushing me ?’” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said according to ESPN. “But at the end of the day he has gotten better as a player.
“We benefited from that, you know, with our ball club, playing as a team. And he was the driving force behind it.”
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Carry leads Kent State, the MAC tournament champions, averaging 17.6 points and 4.9 assists per game.
“He’s the best player I’ve coached here at Kent,” Golden Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff said on Sunday: “He’s had an incredible career. Obviously we all got ourselves to this point, but boy did it take us to a high, high level all year, especially in Cleveland [location of MAC Tournament].”
Kent State is battle-hardened, playing a tough non-conference schedule that has included close losses to Houston, the College of Charleston and Gonzaga.
The Hoosiers have had a season of ups and downs, 15-2 at home but 5-7 away.
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