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2017 NCAA Tournament First Round — Thursday Evening Viewing Guide

The top overall seed’s tourney debut headlines tonight’s schedule, but Nova-Mount St. Mary’s probably won’t be the most exciting game in this lineup.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Orlando Practice Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Not near a TV? You can stream each game on NCAA March Madness Live.

Games In Order Of Likely Watchability (by window)

VCU vs. Saint Mary’s, 7:20 p.m. (TBS)
Xavier vs. Maryland, 6:50 p.m. (TNT)
Vermont vs. Purdue, 7:27 p.m. (TruTV)
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Villanova. 7:10 p.m. (CBS)

Virginia Tech vs. Wisconsin, approx. 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
Nevada vs. Iowa State, approx. 9:57 p.m. (TruTV)
FGCU vs. Florida State, approx. 9:20 p.m. (TNT)
North Dakota vs. Arizona, approx. 9:50 p.m. (TBS)

Orlando — West Region

TNT will air both games with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (commentary), and Evan Washburn (reporting) on the call.

No. 11 Xavier Musketeers (21-13) vs. No. 6 Maryland Terrapins (24-8), 6:50 p.m.
No. 14 FGCU Eagles (26-7) vs. No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (25-8), approx. 9:20 p.m.

While Xavier’s stumbled into the tournament, they’re perfectly capable of knocking off a Maryland team that’s been a mystery all season. In the late game, Dunk City will look to capture the magic of its 2013 run in its showdown with in-state rival FSU, who might have too much size and depth to succumb to an upset

Buffalo — East Region

CBS will air both games with Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, and Allie LaForce on the call.

No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (19-15)* vs. No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (31-3)*, 7:10 p.m.
No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies (22-10) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (25-9), approx. 9:40 p.m.

While Nova should romp over the Mount, the nightcap featuring a possibly-underseeded Wisconsin squad and athletic Virginia Tech should be far more entertaining.

Salt Lake City — West Region

TBS will air both games with Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, and Jamie Erdahl on the call.

No. 10 VCU Rams (26-8) vs. No. 7 Saint Mary’s Gaels (28-4), 7:20 p.m.
No. 15 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (22-9)* vs. No. 2 Arizona Wildcats (30-4)*, approx. 9:50 p.m.

The 7-vs.-10 showdown in Salt Lake City is one of two cases of “mid-on-mid crime” in those matchups, and it should be a fascinating toss-up matchup. But that won’t be the case when the Pac-12 and Big Sky champions meet, with the Hawks playing their first Division I tournament game.

Milwaukee — Midwest Region

TNT will air both games with Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski and Debbie Antonelli, and Lisa Byington on the call.

No. 13 Vermont Catamounts (29-5)* vs. No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers (25-7), 7:27 p.m.
No. 12 Nevada Wolf Pack (28-6)* vs. No. 5 Iowa State Cyclones (23-10)*, approx. 9:57 p.m.

Now this is more like it, though I suspect this Purdue-Vermont matchup might end up like the pair’s November 15, 2015 meeting in West Lafayette, a game won by the Boilermakers by 28. In the finale, Cameron Oliver and Jordan Caroline will hope to push Nevada past an Iowa State squad that rolled through the Big 12 Tournament.

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