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

First-round Friday saw the ninth 15-over-2 upset ever and 13-over-4, 12-over-5, and 11-over-6 wins, along with three overtime games. Usually, when one first-round day is thrilling, the other ends up being a bore. Hopefully, that won’t be the case on this Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament-Virginia Commonwealth vs St. Bonaventure
Atlantic 10 champs St. Bonaventure meet LSU in one of the most intriguing matchups set for Saturday afternoon.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Chronological Schedule

Saturday, March 18, 2021 Afternoon

Tip Time (ET) Site Region Matchup Channel with March Madness Live Link
Tip Time (ET) Site Region Matchup Channel with March Madness Live Link
12:15 p.m. Hinkle East 12. Georgetown vs. 5. Colorado CBS
12:45 p.m. BL Fieldhouse East 13. UNCG vs. 4. Florida State TruTV
1:15 p.m. IF Coliseum West 14. Eastern Washington vs. 3. Kansas TBS
1:45 p.m. Assembly Hall East 9. St. Bonaventure vs. 8. LSU TNT
3 p.m. Mackey East 16. vs. 1. Michigan CBS
3:30 p.m. Stadium (Unity) West 12. UC Santa Barbara vs. 5. Creighton TruTV
4 p.m. Hinkle East 15. Iona vs. 2. Alabama TBS
4:30 p.m. BL Fieldhouse West 11. vs. 6. USC TNT

East 12. Georgetown Hoyas (13-12, 7-9 Big East Automatic) vs.
5. Colorado Buffaloes (22-8, 14-6 Pac-12 At-Large)

12:15 p.m. on CBS (March Madness Live game link) at Hinkle Fieldhouse (Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas with AJ Ross reporting)

It took until Patrick Ewing’s fourth season in charge and a surprise Big East Tournament title, but the Hoyas are back in the field for the first time since 2015, which happens to also be the last time Georgetown won an NCAA game. The Buffaloes’ last bid came one season later, though Colorado hasn’t tasted victory since 2012. While Georgetown is renowned for its recent Tournament struggles, particularly when John Thompson III led the program, Colorado has just two NCAA wins in the last 25 years.

East 13. UNCG Spartans (21-8, 13-5 SoCon Automatic) vs.
4. Florida State Seminoles (16-6, 11-4 ACC At-Large)

12;45 p.m. on TruTV (March Madness Live game link) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson with Allie LaForce reporting)

While this is the Spartans’ fourth NCAA appearance in their Division I history, two of those have come in the last three editions (2018). Plus, UNCG has an NIT appearance from 2019, which featured a win. They’ve yet to record a first victory in the main event, however. Last season, the Seminoles would have been a Final Four threat. But FSU has a formidable recent history in tournaments that actually happened, winning at least a game in its last six appearances, capped by an Elite Eight in 2018 and Sweet Sixteen one year later.

West 14. Eastern Washington Eagles (16-7, 12-3 Big Sky Automatic) vs. 3. Kansas Jayhawks (20-8, 12-6 Big 12 At-Large)

1:15 p.m. on TBS (March Madness Live game link) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Brad Nessler and Steve Lavin with Evan Washburn reporting)

The Eagles are yet another team aiming for their first NCAA victory, as they were actually Georgetown’s lone victim in 2015, EWU’s last appearance. That was their second at the Division I level. This trip will be Kansas’s 49th. Even though those have largely been successful, the Jayhawks fell victim to a 14-over-3 upset in 2005 (Bucknell).

East 9. St. Bonaventure Bonnies (16-4, 11-4 A 10 Automatic) vs.
8. LSU Tigers (18-9, 11-6 SEC At-Large)

1:45 p.m. on TNT (March Madness Live game link) at Assembly Hall (Carter Blackburn and Debbie Antonelli with Dana Jacobsen reporting)

While this will be just the Bonnies’ fourth NCAA appearance since 2000, they’ve been a compelling force in each of their prior three appearances. St. Bonaventure fell to Kentucky in OT in 2002, lost to Florida State by three in 2012, and topped UCLA in the First Four before succumbing to Florida in 2018. The last tournament, 2019, marked the Tigers’ last appearance in the field. Third-seeded LSU won close games against Yale and Maryland in Jacksonville before Michigan State handled the Bayou Bengals in the East Regional.

East 16. Texas Southern Tigers (17-8, 10-3 SWAC Automatic) vs.
1. Michigan Wolverines (20-4, 14-3 Big Ten At-Large)

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

On Thursday night, the Tigers won their second consecutive First Four game, following 2018’s victory over NC Central with a 60-52 triumph over the NEC champion Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers. Texas Southern is unlikely to win its first game in the main draw today; however, as Juwan Howard’s Wolverines look poised to build upon the final seven seasons of John Beilein’s tenure that featured two trips to the National Championship game, an Elite Eight, and two Sweet Sixteens.

West 12. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (22-4, 13-3 Big West Automatic)
vs. 5. Creighton Bluejays (20-8, 14-6 Big East At-Large)

3:30 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)

This is the first NCAA trip for the Gauchos since they made consecutive visits in 2010 and 2011. However, UCSB hasn’t won a tournament game since 1990 when it edged Houston in an 8/9 matchup. As for the Bluejays, they’re back for the first time since consecutive first-round exits in 2017 and 2018. Creighton did win single games in their three prior trips, however (2012, 2013, 2014).

East 15. Iona Gaels (12-5, 6-3 MAAC Automatic) vs.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (24-6, 16-2 SEC Automatic)

4 p.m. on TBS (March Madness Live game link) at Hinkle Fieldhouse (Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas with AJ Ross reporting)

This is the Gaels’ fifth straight appearance in the NCAAs and their seventh since 2012 when they earned a surprise at-large. However, Iona has never officially won an NCAA game, thanks to 1980’s first-round win over Holy Cross being stricken from the record books. So, it’s up to Rick Pitino to change that in the first season since he took over for Tim Cluess. On the other hand, Alabama’s tournament history has been spotty of late. The Crimson Tide’s 2018 bid (and win over Virginia Tech) was all Avery Johnson could muster in his brief time in Tuscaloosa. The previous bid before that was a one-and-done trip under Anthony Grant in 2012. That was Bama’s first bid since Mark Gottfried took the Tide to five consecutive tournaments from 2002 to 2006, highlighted by a 2004 Elite Eight appearance.

West 11. Drake Bulldogs (26-4, 15-3 MVC At-Large) vs.
6. USC Trojans (22-7, 15-5 Pac-12 At-Large)

4:30 p.m. on TNT (March Madness Live game link) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson with Allie LaForce reporting)

On Thursday, the Bulldogs edged former Valley rival Wichita State, 53-52, to win their first NCAA game in 50 years. Tonight, Drake faces a Trojans team that’s making its 19th appearance in the field—a number that pales in comparison to the 50 crosstown rivals UCLA has racked up. And USC hasn’t had much success over those 19 trips. Their last, in 2017, ended in the round of 32 at the hands of Baylor (after a First Four win over Providence and a first-round win over SMU). And even a three-year streak that ran from 2007 to 2009 only featured a single Sweet Sixteen appearance (in 2007).