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On The Menu: 2016 NCAA Tournament First Round Thursday

With the First Four in the books, we're down to a nice even total of 64 teams, which will become 48 by the end of the night. The afternoon windows feature plenty of Big 12 contenders, while the night windows feature a little more national balance.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Broadcast Teams by Venue

(Thanks to Fang's Bites.)

Denver: Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas//Jamie Erdahl (reporter)
Des Moines: Jim Nantz/Grant Hill/Bill Raftery//Tracy Wolfson (reporter)
Providence: Ian Eagle/Chris Webber/Len Elmore//Evan Washburn (reporter)
Raleigh: Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Lewis Johnson (reporter)

Early Afternoon Window

UNCW

Providence: Dunkin Donuts Center
WEST REGION

No. 13 UNCW Seahawks (25-7)
CAA Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (23-10)
ACC at-large

Tip Time: 12:15 p.m.

Channel: CBS

Duke
Butler

Raleigh: PNC Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 9 Butler Bulldogs (21-10)
Big East at-large
vs.
No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders (19-12)
Big 12 at-large

Tip Time: 12:40 p.m.

Channel: TruTV

ttech
uconn

Des Moines: Wells Fargo Arena
SOUTH REGION

No. 9 UConn Huskies (24-10)
American Athletic Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 8 Colorado Buffaloes (22-11)
Pac-12 at-large

Tip Time: 1:30 p.m.

Channel: TNT

colo
Iona

Denver: Pepsi Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 13 Iona Gaels (22-10)
MAAC Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones (21-11)
Big 12 at-large

Tip Time: 2 p.m.

Channel: TBS

iast

Viewing Picks

Butler-Texas Tech, 12:40 p.m. (TruTV)
UNCW-Duke, 12:15 p.m. (CBS)
Iona-Iowa State, 2 p.m. (TBS)
UConn-Colorado, 1:30 p.m. (TNT)

With a pair of 8/9 and two of what should be the more competitive 4/13 games, the staggered tips are a welcome sight in the early afternoon of the first day. While the Bulldog-Red Raider matchup is a coin-flip game, look for Duke and Iowa State to have their hands full with their respective 13 seeds. Meanwhile, if UConn plays like it did in the American Tournament, it will be a long afternoon for Colorado.

Late Afternoon Window

yale

Providence: Dunkin Donuts Center
WEST REGION

No. 12 Yale Bulldogs (22-6)
Ivy League Champion
vs.
No. 5 Baylor Bears (22-11)
Big 12 at-large

Tip Time: 3:08 p.m.

Channel: CBS

bay
hamp

Raleigh: PNC Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 16 Hampton Pirates (21-10)
MEAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (26-7)
ACC at-large

Tip Time: 3:10 p.m.

Channel: TruTV

Uva
Austin Peay

Des Moines: Wells Fargo Arena
SOUTH REGION

No. 16 Austin Peay Governors (18-17)
OVC Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (30-4)
Big 12 Regular Season and Tournament Champion

Tip Time: 4:17 p.m.

Channel: TNT

ku
ualr

Denver: Pepsi Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 12 Little Rock Trojans (29-4)
Sun Belt Regular Season and Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers (26-8)
Big Ten at-large

Tip Time: 4:42 p.m.

Channel: TBS

pur

Viewing Picks

Little Rock-Purdue, approx. 4:30 p.m. (TBS)
Yale-Baylor, approx. 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
Hampton-Virginia, approx. 3:10 p.m. (TruTV)
Austin Peay-Kansas, approx. 4 p.m. (TNT)

Two of the always intriguing 5/12 matchups fall within this window, meaning there will be something to watch when the 1/16 games get out of hand. The Little Rock-Purdue game is one of the more popular upset picks floating around out there, while many are also picking Yale to top Baylor, especially with the game in Providence. I just think the Bears' size might give the Bulldogs, even though they're a physical team themselves, too many issues.

Look for Virginia-Hampton to be the most entertaining of the four 1/16 matchups this season.

Early Evening Window

buff

Providence: Dunkin Donuts Center
SOUTH REGION

No. 14 Buffalo Bulls (20-14)
MAC Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (25-7)
ACC at-large

Tip Time: 6:50 p.m.

Channel: TNT

MiaFL
Chattanooga

Des Moines: Wells Fargo Arena
EAST REGION

No. 12 Chattanooga Mocs (29-5)
SoCon Regular Season and Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers (25-7)
Big Ten at-large and Regular Season Champion

Tip Time: 7:10 p.m.

Channel: CBS

ind
fgcu

Raleigh: PNC Arena
EAST REGION

No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (21-13)
A-Sun Tournament Champion and First Four winner
vs.
No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (28-6)
ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champion

Tip Time: 7:20 p.m.

Channel: TBS

UNC
fres

Denver: Pepsi Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 14 Fresno State Bulldogs (25-9)
Mountain West Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 3 Utah Utes (26-8)
Pac-12 at-large

Tip Time: 8:20 p.m.

Channel: TruTV

Utah

Viewing Picks

Chattanooga-Indiana, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
Fresno State-Utah, 7:27 p.m. (TruTV)
Buffalo-Miami, 6:50 p.m. (TNT)
FGCU-North Carolina, 7:20 p.m. (TBS)

It looks like the third 5/12 matchup of the day, in Des Moines, will be the only competitive game out of this quartet, unless FGCU subs in its famous Dunk City team from 2013. Note the AFC East matchup on TNT and the old 16-team WAC showdown on TruTV, even if none of the players involved have any memory of the shared conference history of the Bulldogs and Utes.

Late Evening Window

WichitaSt

Providence: Dunkin Donuts Center
SOUTH REGION

No. 11 Wichita State Shockers (25-8)
MVC at-large and Regular Season Champion and First Four winner
vs.
No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (25-8)
Pac-12 at-large

Tip Time: 9:39 p.m.

Channel: TNT

AZ
StonyBrook

Des Moines: Wells Fargo Arena
EAST REGION

No. 13 Stony Brook Seawolves (26-6)
America East Regular Season and Playoff Champion
vs.
No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats (26-8)
SEC Regular Season (co) and Tournament Champion

Tip Time: 9:57 p.m.

Channel: CBS

Kentucky
Prov

Raleigh: PNC Arena
EAST REGION

No. 9 Providence Friars (23-10)
Big East at-large
vs.
No. 8 USC Trojans (21-12)
Pac-12 at-large

Tip Time: 10 p.m.

Channel: TBS

usc
Gonz

Denver: Pepsi Arena
MIDWEST REGION

No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-7)
WCC Regular Season (co) and Tournament Champion
vs.
No. 6 Seton Hall Pirates (25-8)
Big East Tournament Champion

Tip Time: 10:53 p.m.

Channel: TruTV

SHU

Viewing Picks

Gonzaga-Seton Hall, approx. 9:57 p.m. (TruTV)
Wichita State-Arizona, approx. 9:20 p.m. (TNT)
Providence-USC, approx. 9:50 p.m. (TBS)
Stony Brook-Kentucky, approx. 9:40 p.m. (CBS)

Each and every one of these games could be terrific, and with less buffer than in the afternoon windows, you'll probably have to flip around some. If the Shockers top the Wildcats, they could really go a long way with the rest of the potential matchups lurking in the South. However, Stony Brook really got the worst draw possible for its first-ever NCAA Tourney game. Seton Hall's game against Gonzaga has the potential to be a classic, while Providence-USC could be one of the more unpredictable matchups given how both squads struggled to reach the regular season's finish line.

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