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College Basketball Viewing Guide for Friday, March 12, 2021

It’s semifinal Friday for 14 of the 15 conferences that will crown champions on Saturday, while three of the five leagues that wait until Selection Sunday itself will play their quarterfinals.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Oklahoma State vs West Virginia
Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State will meet Baylor in tonight’s first Big 12 semifinal, one of the biggest games of a busy Selection Week Friday.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chronological Conference Tournament Schedule

Friday. March 12, 2021

Tip Time (ET) Conference Round Matchup Outlet Season Series
Tip Time (ET) Conference Round Matchup Outlet Season Series
11:30 a.m. Big Ten Quarterfinals 8. Maryland vs. 1. Michigan B1G Network MICH 2-0 (H/H)
12 p.m. C-USA Semifinals W2 UAB vs. E1 Western Kentucky CBSSN Have not met
12 p.m. American Quarterfinals 8. USF vs. 1 Wichita State ESPN2 WSU 2-0 (H/H)
12 p.m. SEC Quarterfinals 9. Mississippi State vs. 1. Alabama ESPN UA 2-0 (H/H)
2 p.m.* Big Ten Quarterfinals 5.Ohio State vs. 4. Purdue B1G Network PU 2-0 (H/H)
2:30 p.m.* SEC Quarterfinals 5. Florida vs. 4. Tennessee ESPN 1-1 home split
3 p.m. C-USA Semifinals W3 North Texas vs. W1 Louisiana Tech CBSSN 1-1 (at UNT)
3 p.m. American Quarterfinals 5. Cincinnati vs. 4. SMU ESPN2 UC 1-0 (road)
3:30 p.m. SWAC Semifinals 3. Texas Southern vs. 2. Jackson State ESPN3 Have not met
5 p.m. MAC Semifinals 5. Ohio vs. 1. Toledo CBSSN UT 1-0 (home)
6 p.m. Big East Semifinals 8. Georgetown vs. 5. Seton Hall FS1 1-1 home split
6 p.m. MAAC Semifinals 9. Iona vs. 5. Niagara ESPN News Have not met
6 p.m. MEAC Semifinals N3 Morgan State vs. N1 Coppin State ($) MSU 3-1 (2 H, 2 A)
6 p.m. Southland Semifinals 4. Northwestern State vs. 1. Nicholls ESPN+ ($) NiCH 2-0 (H/H)
6:30 p.m. Big Ten Quarterfinals 7. Rutgers vs. 2. Illinois B1G Network RU 1-0 (home)
7 p.m. Big 12 Semifinals 5. Oklahoma State vs. 1. Baylor ESPN BU 2-0 (H/H)
7 p.m. Big Sky Semifinals 5. Montana State vs. 1. Southern Utah Have not met
7 p.m. American Quarterfinals 10. Tulane vs. 2. Houston ESPN2 UH 2-0 (H/H)
7 p.m. SEC Quarterfinals 7. Missouri vs. 2. Arkansas SECN 1-1 road split
7:30 p.m.* MAC Semifinals 3. Akron vs. 2. Buffalo CBSSN UB 1-0 (home)
8 p.m. WAC Semifinals 5. Seattle vs. 1. Grand Canyon ESPN+ ($) 1-1 (at SU)
8:30 p.m. ACC Semifinals 6. North Carolina vs. 2. Florida State ESPN 1-1 home split
8:30 p.m. Pac-12 Semifinals 5. Oregon State vs. 1. Oregon Pac-12 Networks 1-1 road split
8:30 p.m.* MAAC Semifinals 7. Fairfield vs. 3. Saint Peter's ESPN News 1-1 (at SPC)
9 p.m. Big East Semifinals 3. UConn vs. 2. Creighton FS1 CU 2-0 (H/H)
9 p.m. Big West Semifinals 4. UC Davis vs. 1. UC Santa Barbara ESPN3 UCSB 2-0 (road)
9 p.m. Southland Semifinals 6. Lamar vs. 2. Abilene Christian ESPN+ ($) ACU 2-0 (H/H)
9 p.m.* Big Ten Quarterfinals 6. Wisconsin vs. 3. Iowa B1G Network UI 2-0 (H/H)
9:30 p.m. SWAC Semifinals 4. Grambling State vs. 1. Prairie View A&M ESPN3 PV 1-0 (home)
9:30 p.m. MW Semifinals 5. Nevada vs. 1. San Diego State CBSSN SDSU 2-0 (home)
9:30 p.m.* SEC Quarterfinals 6. Ole Miss vs. 3. LSU SECN LSU 1-0 (road)
10 p.m. Big Sky Semifinals 6. Montana vs. 2. Eastern Washington EWU 2-0 (H/H)
10 p.m. American Quarterfinals 6. UCF vs. 3. Memphis ESPN2 UM 2-0 (home)
11 p.m. WAC Semifinals 3. New Mexico State vs. 2. Utah Valley ESPN+ ($) 1-1 (in El Paso)
11:30 p.m. Pac-12 Semifinals 3. Colorado vs. 2. USC ESPN CU 2-0 (H/H)
12 a.m. (03/13) Big West Semifinals 3. UC Riverside vs. 2. UC Irvine ESPNU 1-1 (at UCR)
12 a.m. (03/13)* MW Semifinals 3. Colorado State vs. 2. Utah State CBSSN 1-1 (at USU)

ACC Semifinal

Game 12: No. 4 Georgia Tech (16-8, 11-6) vs. No. 1 Virginia (18-6, 13-4), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Cavaliers won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 13: No. 6 North Carolina (18-9, 10-6) vs. No. 2 Florida State (15-5, 11-4), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The season series was a 1-1 home split.

Thanks to Virginia’s win over Syracuse in Thursday’s first quarterfinal, tonight’s doubleheader was supposed to feature four teams who were just playing for seeding. Then, the Cavaliers had to withdraw due to a positive CoVID test. So that means Georgia Tech will now meet the winner of Florida State-North Carolina matchup, with the Seminoles coming off an unexpected bye of their own, thanks to Duke’s withdrawal on Thursday morning.

Big 12 Semifinals

ESPN or ESPN2 will air both games.

Game 7: No. 5 Oklahoma State (19-7, 11-7) vs. No. 1 Baylor (22-1, 13-1), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Bears won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 8: No. 3 Texas (18-7, 11-6) vs. No. 2 Kansas (20-8, 12-6), 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Longhorns won both meetings (home-and-home).

While Baylor will want to defeat Oklahoma State to remain ahead of Michigan and Illinois in the race for a No. 1 seed, the Cowboys could better their current No. 3 seed with two more wins. Texas, just ahead of the Pokes on my current seed list, could also move up to the two line on Sunday with two more wins. Of course, Kansas, currently a four seed, has hopes of moving up of its own.

Update 1:57 p.m. ET: Now Texas-Kansas is off due to a positive CoVID test in the Jayhawk program, so it looks like the Longhorns are on to Saturday’s final.

Big East Semifinals

FS1 will air both games.

Game 8: No. 8 Georgetown (11-12, 7-9) vs. No. 5 Seton Hall (14-12, 10-9), 6 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 home split.
Game 9: No. 3 UConn (15-6, 11-6) vs. No. 2 Creighton (19-7, 14-6), 9 p.m.
The Bluejays won both meetings (home-and-home).

Bubble fans will surely be paying attention to the first game of tonight’s doubleheader at Madison Square Garden, as the Pirates might need to win tonight and tomorrow to reach the field and the Hoyas definitely must. Creighton and UConn are playing for seeding with the Huskies needing every quality win their can get thanks to their CoVID-affected schedule.

Big Sky Semifinals will stream both games.

Game 8: No. 5 Montana State (12-9, 8-6) vs. No. 1 Southern Utah (20-3, 12-2), 7 p.m.
The teams have not met.
Game 9: No. 6 Montana (15-12, 7-9) vs. No. 2 Eastern Washington (14-7, 12-3), 10 p.m.
The Eagles won both meetings (home-and-home).

While the top two seeds were able to advance after tricky contests in Boise, third-seeded Weber State and fourth-seeded Idaho State weren’t so lucky.

Big West Semifinals

Game 14: No. 4 UC Davis (10-7, 6-4) vs. No. 1 UC Santa Barbara (20-4, 13-3), 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Gauchos won both meetings (at UCD).
Game 15: No. 3 UC Riverside (14-7, 8-4) vs. No. 2 UC Irvine (17-8, 10-4), 12 a.m. 3/13 (ESPNU)
The season series was a 1-1 split (at UCR).

The Big West features five teams from the University of California system (one of whom, UC San Diego, is ineligible for the postseason), five from the California State University system, and Hawai’i. Only the UC schools are standing after Thursday’s quarterfinals in Las Vegas.

C-USA Semifinals

CBSSN will air both games.

Game 10: West No. 2 UAB (22-6, 13-5) vs. East No. 1 Western Kentucky (19-6, 11-3), 12 p.m.
The teams have not met.
Game 11: West No. 3 North Texas (15-9, 9-5) vs. West No. 1 Louisiana Tech (21-6, 12-4), 3 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 split (at UNT).

With North Texas knocking off East No. 2 seed Old Dominion, today’s semifinals in Frisco, Texas feature yet another first-time meeting—featuring longtime league rivals UAB and WKU, oddly enough—and a rubber match between the West’s two and three seeds.

MAAC Semifinals

ESPN News will air both games.

Game 8: No. 9 Iona (10-5, 6-3) vs. No. 5 Niagara (9-10, 7-9), 6 p.m.
The teams have not met.
Game 9: No. 7 Fairfield (9-16, 7-11) vs. No. 3 Saint Peter’s (14-10, 10-8), approx. 8:30 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 split (at SPC).

Saint Peter’s was the only one of the MAAC’s top four seeds to advance to this stage, with Niagara knocking off fourth-seeded Fairfield in Thursday’s final contest.

MAC Semifinals

CBSSN will air both games.

Game 9: No. 5 Ohio (14-7, 9-5) vs. No. 1 Toledo (21-7, 15-4), 5 p.m.
The Rockets won the teams’ lone meeting (at home).
Game 10: No. 3 Akron (15-7, 12-6) vs. No. 2 Buffalo (15-7, 12-5), approx. 7:30 p.m.
The Bulls won the teams’ lone meeting (at home).

While the MAC semifinals went nearly chalk, Toledo needed overtime to defeat eighth-seeded Ball State and Ohio defeated No. 4 seed Kent State by 22.

MEAC Semifinal ($) will stream both games.

Game 7: North No. 3 Morgan State (13-7, 7-5) vs. North No. 1 Coppin State (9-12, 8-4), 6 p.m.
The Bears won the season series 3-1 (two home, two away).

Like in the ACC’s case, “semifinal” is correct for the MEAC, as South top seed North Carolina A&T State had to end its season due to a positive CoVID test. That means North two seed Norfolk State earned a bye to the final by defeating North Carolina Central in Thursday’s second quarterfinal. Tonight’s lone contest pits the conference’s two Baltimore schools against each other with Kevin Broadus’s Bears and Juan Dixon’s Eagles meeting for a fifth time in 2021.

MW Semifinals

CBSSN will air both games.

Game 8: No. 5 Nevada (16-9, 10-7) vs. No. 1 San Diego State (21-4, 14-3), 9:30 p.m.
The Aztecs won both meetings (at home).
Game 9: No. 3 Colorado State (18-5, 14-4) vs. No. 2 Utah State (19-7, 15-4) , approx. 12 a.m. 03/13
The season series was a 1-1 split (at USU).

Bubble fans will be cheering for San Diego State to defeat Nevada for a third time, following the Wolf Pack’s win over Boise State on Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas. The nightcap between Colorado State and Utah State features two teams in my projected “First Four” for Friday, but it’s not necessarily an elimination game, depending on what happens elsewhere today.

Pac-12 Semifinals

Game 8: No. 5 Oregon State (15-12, 10-10) vs. No. 1 Oregon (20-5, 14-4), 8:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
The season series was a 1-1 road split.
Game 9: No. 3 Colorado (21-7, 14-6) vs. No. 2 USC (22-6, 15-5), 11:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Buffaloes won both meetings (home-and-home).

Oregon State, thanks to its overtime win over UCLA, meets archrival Oregon with hopes of becoming a party crasher. While the Ducks defeated the Beavers by an 80-67 count in Corvallis on Sunday, State won the pair’s first meeting in Eugene way back on January 23rd. As for the nightcap, Colorado could defeat USC for a third time. The Trojans had to play two extra sessions to eliminate Utah, while the Buffaloes were able to defeat Cal in regulation, even if the Golden Bears pushed them to the end.

Southland Semifinals

ESPN+ ($) will stream both games.

Game 7: No. 4 Northwestern State (11-17, 9-7) vs. No. 1 Nicholls (17-6, 14-2), 6 p.m.
The Colonels won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 8: No. 6 Lamar (10-17, 7-10) vs. No. 2 Abilene Christian (21-4, 13-2), 9 p.m.
The Wildcats won both meetings (home-and-home).

Third-seeded Sam Houston State was eliminated by future WAC rival Lamar in Thursday’s second quarterfinal, which sets the Cardinals up for a semifinal against yet another short-timer, ACU. In game one, a pair of Louisiana-based holdovers, Nicholls and Northwestern State, will meet. The Southland really needs one of the top two seeds to qualify to avoid a date in the First Four on Thursday.

SWAC Semifinals

ESPN3 will stream both games.

Game 5: No. 3 Texas Southern (14-8, 10-3) vs. No. 2 Jackson State (12-5, 11-0), 3 p.m.
The teams have not met.
Game 6: No. 4 Grambling State (12-11, 9-6) vs. No. 1 Prairie View A&M (15-4, 13-0), 9:30 p.m.
The Panthers won the teams’ lone meeting (at home).

The top four seeds will meet in Friday’s semifinals in Birmingham, with Grambling needing overtime to eliminate Southern in Thursday’s final quarterfinal.

WAC Semifinals

ESPN+ ($) will stream both games.

Game 3: No. 5 Seattle (12-10, 4-5) vs. No. 1 Grand Canyon (15-6, 9-3), 8 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 split (at Seattle).
Game 4: No. 3 New Mexico State (11-7, 7-6) vs. No. 2 Utah Valley (11-10, 9-4), 11 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 split (in El Paso).

There will be no need for auto bid permutations in the WAC, as Seattle eliminated Cal Baptist last night, 83-66, meaning a Lancer team that’s ineligible for the postseason due to its Division I reclassification can’t muddy things up. Traditional power New Mexico State knocked off UT Rio Grande Valley to keep its hopes of a fourth straight NCAA berth alive.

American Athletic Quarterfinals

ESPN2 will air all four games.

Game 4: No. 8 USF (9-12, 4-10) 73 vs. No. 1 Wichita State (15-4, 11-2), 12 p.m.
The Shockers won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 5: No. 5 Cincinnati (10-10, 8-6) vs. No. 4 SMU (11-4, 7-4), 3 p.m.
The Bearcats won the teams’ lone meeting (on the road).
Game 6: No. 10 Tulane (10-12, 4-12) vs. No. 2 Houston (21-3, 14-3), 7 p.m.
The Cougars won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 7: No. 6 UCF (11-11, 8-10) vs. No. 3 Memphis (15-7, 11-4), 10 p.m.
The Tigers won both meetings (at home).

With the Shockers a surprise No. 1 seed—and on the wrong side of the cut line when considered as an at-large team—and both Memphis and SMU on the outside looking in, there’s plenty of potential for bubble panic in Fort Worth.

Big Ten Quarterfinals

B1G Network will air all four games.

Game 7: No. 8 Maryland (16-12, 9-11) vs. No. 1 Michigan (19-3, 14-3), 11:30 a.m.
The Wolverines won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 8: No. 5 Ohio State (19-8, 12-8) vs. No. 4 Purdue (18-8, 13-6), approx. 2 p.m.
The Boilermakers won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 9: No. 7 Rutgers (15-10, 10-10) vs. No. 2 Illinois (20-6, 16-4), 6:30 p.m.
The Scarlet Knights won the teams’ lone meeting (at home).
Game 10: No. 6 Wisconsin (17-11, 10-10) vs. No. 3 Iowa (20-7, 14-6), approx. 9 p.m.
The Hawkeyes won both meetings (home-and-home).

With all eight of these teams safely in the field at this point, seeding is on the line here, with Michigan and Illinois looking to hold on to their No. 1 seeds, Iowa and Ohio State attempting to move up from line No. 2, and Purdue aiming to hold on to a four.

SEC Quarterfinals

Game 6: No. 9 Mississippi State (15-13, 8-10) vs. No. 1 Alabama (21-6, 16-2), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
The Crimson Tide won both meetings (home-and-home).
Game 7: No. 5 Florida (14-8, 9-7) vs. No. 4 Tennessee (17-7, 10-7), approx. 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The season series was a 1-1 home split.
Game 8: No. 7 Missouri (16-8, 8-8) vs. No. 2 Arkansas (21-5, 13-4), 7 p.m. (SECN)
The season series was a 1-1 road split.
Game 9: No. 6 Ole Miss (16-10, 10-8) vs. No. 3 LSU (16-8, 11-6), approx. 9:30 p.m. (SECN)
The Tigers won the teams’ lone meeting (on the road).

Bubble teams will also be rooting against the SEC’s two Mississippi schools today, as Ole Miss is currently the third team out of my projected field and the Bulldogs aren’t going to Indiana without the conference’s auto bid. Otherwise, Alabama and Arkansas are playing for places on the one and two lines, respectively, while Tennessee could get itself up to a four seed.