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What to Watch For: The first Friday of the NCAA Tournament

The other four teams from the SEC are in action on the second day of the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-San Diego Practice Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Whew. The first day of the NCAA Tournament is in the books. What a day it was. There was madness and chaos everywhere. Luckily for the SEC, the conference went

In case you missed it, here’s what happened on Thursday:

  • Tennessee 73, Wright State 47: It was never in doubt for the Tennessee Volunteers, as they swiftly took the Wright State Raiders down. The Vols won by 26 points and held the Raiders to under 50 points. It was one of their more impressive showings, despite the fact that they bricked a lot of shots at the start. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams scored 15 and 14 while Lamonte Turner dropped 19 off the bench. Tennessee gets the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers next on Saturday.
  • Kentucky 78, Davidson 73: Despite a stern test, the Kentucky Wildcats edged by the Davidson Wildcats in Boise. 25 points from Kevin Knox were part of the recipe for success in the win, as were 19 and seven assists from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who continues to thrive. PJ Washington added 11 of his own, and Kentucky won despite not making a single 3-point shot. Kentucky will not the Arizona Wildcats in what most thought would be an intriguing Round of 32 matchup. That’s because UofA got their doors blown off by the Buffalo Bulls, who will instead face UK on Saturday in Boise.
  • Alabama 86, Virginia Tech 83: A late push wasn’t enough for the Virginia Tech Hokies to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide were, of course, led by Collin Sexton who scored 25 points in the victory. The Tide were also aided by the efforts of John Petty. Petty scored 20 points in 29 minutes of action and was 6-of-9 from the field. Donta Hall also put up 10 points in the win.
  • Florida 77, St. Bonaventure 62: Good Florida showed up last night, as the Florida Gators soundly defeated the St. Bonaventure Bonnies 77-62. The win pushes Florida into the Round of 32, where they’ll face the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday. The Gators were primarily led by Chris Chiozza. Although Cheese had just eight points, he dropped 11 assists and four rebounds along with three steals, and committed zero turnovers in 31 minutes. Egor Koulechov led the team in points with 20, while Jalen Hudson had 16 of his own.

And now, here’s what you should be watching for on this first Friday of the Tourney.


The last time we saw the Auburn Tigers, they got bowled over by the Alabama Crimson Tide. Auburn was unceremoniously dismissed from the SEC Tournament last week in St. Louis, but they now have a clean slate and can now reassess and reshape their focus. The College of Charleston Cougars await them on in beautiful San Diego, and time will tell to see if this is a fun trip to America’s Finest City, or if it turns sour.


The Missouri Tigers are in action in Nashville, as Mizzou will face the Florida State Seminoles. Michael Porter Jr. figures to be a focal point again, as the star freshman will play in only his second game since returning from an injury that kept him out for most of, if not the entire year. MPJ will be one to watch here, and so will the backcourt, which underperformed in the Tigers’ loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament.


We will have two SEC-Big East matchups on Friday. One will lead off play, as the Providence Friars take on the Texas A&M Aggies in Charlotte. Later, the Arkansas Razorbacks face off with the Butler Bulldogs in Detroit (We have, of course, declared war on Big East Coast Bias, which really means that I’m declaring war on myself and Rob). These 7-10 matchups could really go either way, and could provide a lot of fun between two top-tier conferences.