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2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Viewing Guide: First Round Saturday Evening

The round of 64 ends tonight with eight contests, including No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga’s 2021 tournament debut.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Appalachian State at Norfolk State
Norfolk State pulled off a 15-over-2 upset in its last NCAA appearance. Can the Spartans pull off an even bigger one tonight?
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chronological Schedule

Saturday, March 20, 2021 Evening

Tip Time (ET) Site Region Matchup Channel with March Madness Live Link
Tip Time (ET) Site Region Matchup Channel with March Madness Live Link
6:25 p.m. IF Coliseum West 15. Grand Canyon vs. 2. Iowa TBS
7:10 p.m. Mackey East 10. Maryland vs. 7. UConn CBS
7:15 p.m. Assembly Hall West 13. Ohio vs. 4. Virginia TruTV
7:25 p.m. Stadium (Equality) West 9. Missouri vs. 8. Oklahoma TNT
9:20 p.m. BL Fieldhouse West 16. vs. 1. Gonzaga TBS
9:40 p.m. Hinkle East 11. vs. 6. BYU CBS
9:50 p.m. Stadium (Unity) East 14. Abilene Christian vs. 3. Texas TruTV
9:57 p.m. IF Coliseum West 10. VCU vs. 7. Oregon TNT

West 15. Grand Canyon Antelopes (17-6, 9-3 WAC Automatic) vs.
2. Iowa Hawkeyes (21-8, 14-6 Big Ten At-Large)

6:25 p.m. on TBS (March Madness Live game link) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Brad Nessler and Steve Lavin with Evan Washburn reporting)

After two straight WAC title game losses under former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle, the ‘Lopes reached their first-ever NCAA Tournament in Bryce Drew’s first season. GCU’s first March challenge will come in the form of a Hawkeye team that’s aiming to win its first NCAA game for the fourth straight time. Of course, expectations are higher for this second-seeded Iowa team than they were for the seventh-seeded ones of 2015 and 2016 and 2019’s 10th-seeded outfit.

East 10. Maryland Terrapins (16-13, 9-11 Big Ten At-Large) vs.
7. UConn Huskies (15-7, 11-6 Big East At-Large)

7:10 p.m. on CBS (March Madness Live game link) at Mackey Arena (Ian Eagle and Grant Hill with Jamie Erdahl reporting)

The Terps are in their second consecutive tournament and fifth since 2015, missing out only in 2018. The 2017 event, where Maryland dropped a game to 11th-seeded Xavier, was the lone time the Terrapins bowed out in the first round. As for the Huskies, they’re back in a familiar conference with (mostly) familiar foes, and the return to the Big East did them good. This is UConn’s first bid since 2016—and just its second since claiming 2014’s national title. The 2012 tournament is the last time the Huskies failed to win a single game in the bracket.

West 13. Ohio Bobcats (16-7, 9-5 MAC Automatic) vs.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (18-6, 13-4 ACC At-Large)

7:15 p.m. on TruTV (March Madness Live game link) at Assembly Hall (Carter Blackburn and Debbie Antonelli with Dana Jacobsen reporting)

The last team to win the NCAA title, the Cavaliers, open up against a Bobcats team that has a knack for making noise when they reach the field. In Ohio’s last two trips, it’s defeated Georgetown in a 14-over-3 upset in 2010 and reached the Sweet Sixteen after knocking off Michigan and South Florida in 2012.

West 9. Missouri Tigers (16-9, 8-8 SEC At-Large) vs.
8. Oklahoma Sooners (15-10, 9-8 Big 12 At-Large)

7:25 p.m. on TNT (March Madness Live game link) at Lucas Oil Stadium’s Equality Court (Tom McCarthy and Avery Johnson with Lauren Shehadi reporting)

A pair of former Big 8 and Big 12 rivals meet for the first time since ... November 26, 2019, when the Sooners defeated the Tigers, 77-66, in the Hall of Fame Classic’s third-place game in Kansas City. However, Mizzou swept the pair’s final conference series in 2012. Oklahoma won a single game in its last NCAA appearance, back in 2019, while Missouri has dropped four straight first-round games—8/9 games in 2013 and 2018, a 6/11 game in 2011, and most embarrassingly, 2012’s upset at the hands of Norfolk State.

West 16. Norfolk State Spartans (17-7, 8-4 MEAC Automatic) vs.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-0, 15-0 WCC Automatic)

9:20 p.m. on TBS (March Madness Live game link) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson with Allie LaForce reporting)

This is Gonzaga’s 23rd NCAA appearance, with only 1995’s bid falling outside of the streak the Bulldogs started in 1999. Amazingly, only three of those trips have seen the Zags go 0-for-1—2002, 2007, and 2008. Norfolk State, meanwhile, now has an all-time NCAA Tournament win percentage of .667, thanks to Thursday’s thrilling 54-53 victory over Appalachian State. I suspect, however, that the Spartans will fall back to .500 tonight.

East 11. UCLA Bruins (18-9, 13-6 Pac-12 At-Large) vs.
6. BYU Cougars (20-6, 10-3 WCC At-Large)

9:40 p.m. on CBS (March Madness Live game link) at Hinkle Fieldhouse (Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas with AJ Ross reporting)

Gonzaga’s WCC rivals have the record for most NCAA trips without a Final Four berth—at 30. The road to ending that run begins for the Cougars tonight in their first tournament game since 2015’s First Four. That happens to be the round when BYU won its last NCAA game—against Iona in 2012’s edition. Marquette ended up eliminating the 14th-seeded Cougars in the round of 64. So, it’s kind of fitting that BYU faces an opponent that advanced from the opening round. The Bruins managed to win their First Four game this time around, something they were unable to do in their last NCAA appearance in 2018. Thursday’s victory over Michigan State was Mick Cronin’s first tournament victory at UCLA (in his second season, though his first with an NCAA Tournament to play for), now he’ll look to build upon that knowing that Steve Alford made the Sweet Sixteen In three of his first four seasons in Westwood.

East 14. Abilene Christian Wildcats (23-4, 13-2 Southland Automatic)
vs. 3. Texas Longhorns (19-7, 11-6 Big 12 Automatic)

9:50 p.m. on TruTV (March Madness Live game link) at Lucas Oil Stadium’s Unity Court (Lisa Byington and Steve Smith with Lauren Shehadi reporting)

The last time there was a tournament, Abilene Christian made its first-ever appearance, losing the Battle of the Wildcats to Kentucky by a 79-44 margin. Tonight, they meet an in-state rival in the Longhorns, who are looking for a first tournament win since 2014. The 2015, 2016, and 2018 squads all fell at the first hurdle.

West 10. VCU Rams (19-7, 10-4 A 10 At-Large) vs.
7. Oregon Ducks (20-6, 14-4 Pac-12 At-Large)

9:57 p.m. on TNT (March Madness Live game link) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Brad Nessler and Steve Lavin with Evan Washburn reporting)

Shaka Smart’s former team, VCU, is back in the field for the ninth time since 2011’s run from the First Four to the Final Four. However, the Rams have lost in the round of 64 in four of their last five trips, with 2016 being the exception (2018 was the missed tournament). Oregon, which also missed out in 2018, has been far more successful lately. The Ducks have won a minimum of one game in each of their last six appearances starting with 2013’s Sweet Sixteen trip. That includes another Sweet Sixteen in 2019, 2017’s Final Four, and 2016’s Elite Eight.