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USC-Michigan State tip off Friday


Welcome to the happy confluence that is the first Friday of March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day

This promising day of cool and fun features 16 men’s NCAA Tournament games in the Round of 64 slate. Will there be any more big upsets? On Thursday, No. 15 Princeton stunned No. 2 Arizona and the 13-seeded Paladins of Furman upset No. 4 Virginia.

The first men’s game Friday is at 12:15 p.m. ET between No. 10 USC and No. 7 Michigan State (CBS), and the action won’t stop until around midnight on the East Coast with No. 11 Arizona State and No. 6 TCU tipping off at 10:05 p.m. ET (truTV).

In addition, the women’s first round gets underway. Aliyah Boston and South Carolina gets their title defense started against Norfolk State at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN), while fellow No. 1 seed Virginia Tech takes on Chattanooga at 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU). Caitlin Clark and 2nd-seeded Iowa faces SE Louisiana at 4 p.m. (ESPNU). The final games on the schedule start at 10 p.m. ET with Gonzaga facing Ole Miss (ESPNU) and Princeton matching up against N.C. State (ESPN2). 

Think you have what it takes to beat your friends? Test your college basketball skills (or luck) here with USA TODAY’s Survivor Pool.  Bookmark our brackets page, too!

BRACKETS:  See which teams have advanced 

MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT:  Get your printable bracket here

Joey Hauser scored eight points, and Jaden Akins and Tyson Walker each had six points as Michigan State and USC are tied at 34 in the first-round matchup in the East Region. The Spartans led for all of the first half, except for 1:31 when the Trojans used a 13-2 run to take a lead late in the first 20 minutes after trailing by nine.

Joshua Morgan, who averages only 6.7 points a game, scored 10 points to lead the Trojans. The team’s leading scorer, Boogie Ellis went 1-6 for two points but has four rebounds and four assists. 

The women’s field of 64 was polished off Thursday night with No. 11 St. John’s and No. 16 Tennessee Tech joining No. 11 Mississippi State and No. 16 Sacred Heart as First Four winners.

Friday’s first round kicks off with a Greenville 1 Region matchup between No. 8 South Florida and No. 9 Marquette. The Bulls are led by Elena Tsineke, who averaged 18 points per game and shot 37.3% from 3-point, and Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, who averaged 16.7 points and 12.3 rebounds. The Golden Eagles rely more on sound defense to grind out wins. Guard Jordan King leads Marquette with 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 steals.

Deciding on first-round picks is an arduous task. It is important to take into account seed positioning and game matchups. For example, a team with a favorable first-round matchup that has the potential of facing a higher seed in one of the next few rounds could be a smart pick. Why? Because an unfavorable future matchup would result in that team being less tempting to select again.

Here are five intriguing picks for first-round consideration in the women’s tournament, taking into account matchups and bracket positioning.

  • No. 3 Duke over No. 14 Iona
  • No. 6 Colorado over No. 11 Middle Tennessee
  • No. 3 Ohio State over No. 14 James Madison
  • No. 8 USC over No. 9 South Dakota State
  • No. 5 Oklahoma over No. 12 Portland

— Richard Morin

This is what we want on the first day of Madness: Brackets breaking all over the country and double-digit seeds shocking everyone (except themselves, at least if you’re Princeton). 

But other top seeds looked dominant — which is what they’re supposed to look like, especially in their first-round games. All of it is coming together to provide an intriguing second round. But first, we’ve got one more whole day of first-round games, which may provide even more chaos.  

— Lindsay Schnell

Curiously, the second day of March Madness features all four of the No. 3 seeds in action, and by extension all of the often compelling No. 6 vs. No. 11 matchups. That’s the area of the bracket where first- and second-round chaos often occurs.

Here’s the list of Friday’s games ranked by how watchable we think they’ll be. But again, keep that remote handy in case unexpected situations develop.

  1. No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence
  2. No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic
  3. No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth
  4. No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Arizona State
  5. No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Southern California

— Eddie Timanus

That backfired in spectacular fashion

Just five days after Marcus Sasser strained his groin in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals, he was back in the Cougars’ starting lineup Thursday night. For a first-round game against a No. 16 team.

In a surprise to pretty much no one, Sasser didn’t even make it to halftime. Now top-seeded Houston might not make it to the second weekend, let alone to the Final Four in its hometown. 

— Nancy Armour

The athletics director issued a statement at halftime. The most scrutinized 20-year-old in basketball couldn’t make a shot before eventually going to the bench to rest a sore groin. The walk-on nobody had heard of before Wednesday night threatened to sue the New York Times. And the coach is losing his mind on every dribble for two straight hours of a game he didn’t come close to losing. 

In other words, it was just another day in Alabama basketball

— Dan Wolken

Princeton might have pulled off the biggest upset Thursday, but 13-seeded Furman’s downing of No. 4 Virginia was a fun (unless you’re a Cavaliers fan, of course) start to the 2023 men’s NCAA Tournament.

It’s been a long wait for Paladins men’s basketball fans. It was more than 40 years since Furman was last in the tournament, and over 45 years since its last March Madness win.

— Jordan Mendoza

Whether it’s at home, at a bar or at work, millions of Americans will be tuning in to watch teams make or break their bracket. 

CBS and Turner Sports have the broadcasting rights to the men’s NCAA Tournament and broadcast games on four channels. Three of them – CBS, TNT and TBS – you may know from broadcasting dozens of other sporting events each year, but the remaining channel, truTV, is one that always eludes basketball fans each year. 

Here’s where to find TruTV, depending on your cable provider or streaming service, and what games will be on the network:

TruTV can be found on several cable providers, and has the same channel number nationwide on some of the providers. Here are the channels:

  • AT&T U-Verse: 164/1164
  • FIOS: 183/683
  • Cox: Varies by location 
  • DISH: 242
  • DirecTV: 246
  • Spectrum: Varies by location
  • Xfinity: Varies by location

For streaming, truTV is also available on: YouTube TV, iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV.

Which March Madness games will be on truTV?

Four games will be broadcast Friday on truTV during the first rounds of March Madness. Here are the games that will be on truTV, as well as tip-off times (in ET):

► No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State (Friday, 12:40 p.m.)

► No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (Friday, 3:10 p.m.)

► No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon (Friday, 7:35 p.m.)

► No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Nevada/No. 11 Arizona State (Friday, 10:05 p.m.) 

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