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March Madness: The complete schedule for Friday's first round games

Nick Bromberg
·5-min read

Our NCAA tournament wait is over. The first NCAA men's college basketball tournament in nearly two years officially kicked off Thursday night with the play-in games and really gets going on Friday and Saturday. Here's your TV viewing guide for the Midwest and South Region games on Friday. The first of 16 games tips off at just past Noon ET. All times listed below are Eastern and odds are provided by BetMGM.

Afternoon games

No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech (South)

Florida -1, O/U 135.5

12:15 p.m., CBS

The first game of the day has the lowest spread of the day. These teams seem very evenly matched and it was also the game that Yahoo Tourney Pick'Em users were most split on. 

No. 3 Arkansas vs. Colgate (South)

Arkansas -8.5, O/U 161.5

12:45 p.m., TruTV

Both Arkansas and Colgate like to push the pace. Colgate has been the trendiest upset pick among teams seeded No. 14 and lower. It's got the highest over/under of Friday's slate.

No. 1 Illinois vs. No. 16 Drexel (Midwest)

Illinois -22.5, O/U 143.5

1:15 p.m., TBS

The Illini should have an easy game in this one. Drexel entered the CAA tournament at 9-7 before reeling off three consecutive wins for an NCAA tournament bid.

No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State (South)

Texas Tech -4, O/U 131.5

1:45 p.m., TNT

Utah State was one of the last teams in the field that didn't have to play in a play-in game. Both teams play exceptional defense and this may not be as helter-skelter as, say, Arkansas and Colgate.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts (South)

Ohio State -15.5, O/U 156.5

3 p.m., CBS

Oral Roberts shoots nearly 39 percent from behind the three-point arc. It will probably take a 40 percent day for ORU to give Ohio State a challenge.

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Hartford (South)

Baylor -25, O/U 140.5

3:30 p.m., TruTV

Baylor was undefeated for much of the season before losing to Kansas in the regular season and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament. A deep Bears team should cruise easily here.

No. 8 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (Midwest)

Loyola Chicago -6, O/U 124.5

4 p.m., TBS

This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the day. Loyola was only a No. 8 seed despite climbing into the top 15 in the AP poll. Georgia Tech got hot at the end of the season and won the ACC tournament yet only was a No. 9 seed. Both teams can argue they deserved a No. 6.

No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 12 Oregon State (Midwest)

Tennessee -8.5, O/U 130.5

4:30 p.m., TNT

Tennessee was 10-1 before finishing the season at 8-7. Oregon State, meanwhile, won the Pac-12 tournament as a No. 5 seed. UT is No. 21 in KenPom.com's rankings while the Beavers are at No. 85.

Evening games

No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 13 Liberty (Midwest)

Oklahoma State -7.5, O/U 139.5

6:25 p.m., TBS

The first game of the evening slate gives casual fans the chance to see Oklahoma State star freshman Cade Cunningham. He averages over 20 points per game for the Big 12 tournament champions and could be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft. 

No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Wisconsin (South)

North Carolina -1, O/U 137.5

7:10 p.m., CBS

The winner of this game likely gets Baylor in the second round. Wisconsin went just 4-8 in its final 12 games of the season but all eight of those losses came to teams seeded No. 4 or higher in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina is the best offensive rebounding team in the country. 

No. 2 Houston vs. No. 15 Cleveland State (Midwest)

Houston -20, O/U 134.5

7:15 p.m., TruTV

The Cougars are one of the best defensive teams in the country while Cleveland State shoots just 32 percent from three. This one could turn into a blowout early.

No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 North Texas (South)

Purdue -7.5, O/U 126.5

7:25 p.m., TNT

The Boilermakers won five consecutive games to end the regular season before losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament. North Texas ranks No. 71 in KenPom.com's rankings and won four straight to win the C-USA tournament after ending the regular season on a three-game losing streak. 

No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 10 Rutgers (Midwest)

Rutgers -1.5, O/U 125.5

9:20 p.m., TBS

Both teams play solid defense and don't push the pace. That's why it has one of the lowest over/unders of the day. Rutgers is making its first tournament appearance since 1991. 

No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 Syracuse (Midwest)

San Diego State -3, O/U 138.5

9:40 p.m., CBS

This is a game of strength vs. strength. Syracuse's offense is one of the most efficient in the country and San Diego State has a stifling defense. 

No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Morehead State (Midwest)

West Virginia -13, O/U. 137.5

9:50 p.m., TruTV

West Virginia shoots nearly 40 free throws per game while not many teams commit fewer fouls than Morehead State. The Eagles commit fewer than 15 fouls per game. 

No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 12 Winthrop (South)

Villanova -6.5, O/U 142.5

9:57 p.m., TNT

Villanova is without point guard Collin Gillespie while Winthrop lost just one game over the course of the season. That made the Wildcats a trendy pick to get upset after the bracket was announced, though the betting line clearly favors them. 

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