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What to Watch For: Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament

So... yeah... Friday was something else.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Virginia Tech vs Alabama Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’re gonna just lead this off with the fact that A 16 SEED BEAT A 1 SEED LAST NIGHT. The UMBC Retrievers took down the mighty Virginia Cavaliers in the biggest upset in sports history. No hyperbole involved here.

Now, onto what the SEC did...

  • Texas A&M 73, Providence 69: The Texas A&M Aggies are on to the Round of 32, this after defeating the Providence Friars 73-69. The Aggies went back and forth with the Friars in Charlotte for a bit before they eventually pulled away and sealed it up. A&M’s size was a huge problem for the Friars, as Tyler Davis and Robert Williams combined for 27 of the Aggies’ 73 points. T.J. Starks and Admon Gilder added 33 of their own, meanwhile.
  • Butler 79, Arkansas 62: The same cannot be said for the Arkansas Razorbacks, though. The Hogs were swiftly taken down by the Butler Bulldogs in Detroit. Arkansas trailed by as much as 19 as they found themselves down 21-2 in the early goings. They came back to tie and briefly took the lead, but they couldn’t contain Kelan Martin and the Dawgs for long. As a result, the Big East-SEC miniseries was split for the day.
  • Auburn 62, College of Charleston 58: It was the furthest thing from pretty. But the Auburn Tigers weren’t trying to showcase their beauty. Auburn defeated the College of Charleston Cougars 62-58 in San Diego, and advanced to the Round of 32 in the process. Mustapha Heron led all Tigers in scoring with 16 points, but this was certainly an ugly game. Now Auburn will face the Clemson Tigers in the Round of 32. They just can’t escape ‘em, can they?
  • Florida State 67, Mizzou 54: The Missouri Tigers’ run in the NCAA Tournament was short. Although they made it interesting late, the Florida State Seminoles pulled away to win 67-54. Michael Porter Jr. just did not look himself, although he was second behind Kassius Robertson in points with 16 (Kassius had 19). Mizzou’s season promise is now over, and it’s likely we won’t see MPJ in a Tigers uniform again.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Well, the SEC and Big East start off the day again. This time, it’s a bit more premier. Collin Sexton and the Alabama Crimson Tide will face off with the No. 1 seed in the East Region -- the Villanova Wildcats. The Wildcats possess one of the best offenses in the country, if not the best offense in the entire country, and have Big East Player of the Year Jalen Brunson, future lotto pick Mikal Bridges and Big East Freshman of the Year Omari Spellman at their disposal. If the Tide wants to roll into Boston, they’re going to have to earn every bit of it.
  • Five hours later, the Kentucky Wildcats will face the Buffalo Bulls. It’s not the All-Wildcats matchup everybody thought it would be, as Buffalo bulldozed the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night. John Calipari has made it to the second weekend or further in all but one of his Tournament appearances with the Wildcats. We’ll see if that streak can continue on Saturday.
  • One hour later, the Tennessee Volunteers will tip-off in Dallas with the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. With the South Region being wide open now, it’s plausible that Tennessee can make a run to the Final Four. In order to get to Atlanta, they will first have to get through the Ramblers, who of course won in dramatic fashion over the Miami Hurricanes back on Thursday afternoon.
  • Also down in Dallas, the Florida Gators will face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Gators averted the upset-minded St. Bonaventure Bonnies, and now will take up the task against the Red Raiders. Tech has one of the best defenses in the country, so Chris Chiozza & Co. will have to find a way to crack the code.