Must see: Top 100 college basketball games of the 2021-22 season | Sports


1. Gonzaga vs. UCLA,

Nov. 23

Several games to pick from (Texas, UCLA, Duke and Alabama) but we’ll go with the Bruins in Las Vegas. Both teams boast impressive rosters, should be ranked inside the top five and their last meeting — Gonzaga’s overtime win in the Final Four in April — was an instant classic.

— Jim Meehan, Spokesman Review

2. Michigan at Illinois,

Jan. 14

Ticket sales for students were extended for this game that unfortunately will happen during winter break at Illinois. Hopefully, the Orange Krush took advantage to make sure State Farm Center is annoyingly loud for Michigan center Hunter Dickinson’s first game in Champaign.

3. Illinois at Michigan,

Feb. 27

The Illini were without a true Big Ten rival until the dustup with Iowa a couple years ago. Michigan is moving to supplant the Hawkeyes, though, given the enmity between the two programs. Any time they play will be must-see TV.

4. Texas at Gonzaga,

Nov. 13

Getting this game at “The Kennel” is a coup for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs typically only get elite teams on the schedule if it’s a neutral site or road game. Hosting Texas is a big deal. Big enough that coach Mark Few’s suspension for his DUI arrest ends in time for this game.

5. Kentucky vs. Duke,

Nov. 9

This probably will revive a bad memory. A 118-84 loss against the Blue Devils began Kentucky’s 2018-19 season and caused the unthinkable — and surely unprecedented — sight of UK fans surrendering and heading for the exits during the first television timeout of the second half. It was the most lopsided loss of John Calipari’s coaching career, college or pro, and it was the third-most lopsided loss in college basketball history in a game between two top-five teams.

— Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader

6. Kentucky at Kansas,

Jan. 29

Not much of a reprieve from the thick of conference play for either team in this Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup. All eyes will be on Lawrence, Kan., as what should be two legitimate national championship contenders square off at Allen Fieldhouse just more than a month before the NCAA tournament begins.

7. Duke vs. Gonzaga,

Nov. 26

The toughest ticket in sports will be the March 5 game with North Carolina — Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. But let’s set that aside. The game to focus is on the Nov. 26 game with Gonzaga at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas — a huge neutral-site event that could be a Final Four matchup. The Zags are coming off a Final Four season, not Duke. The Zags won the last matchup between the teams, a scintillating Maui Invitational championship game in November 2018. Three years later, Duke has a chance to make an early-season statement that last year’s problems are in the past. I think Duke needs to win it to remove doubts.

— Stephen Wiseman, Durham Herald Sun

8. North Carolina at Duke, March 5

Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement tour — at least the regular season portion of it — will finish the way it should with the Tobacco Road rivalry game to end all Tobacco Road rivalry games. Krzyzewski might come to wish he chose former North Carolina coach Roy Williams’ path. Could be something to be said for retiring unexpectedly like Williams did after last season.

9. Kansas at Baylor,

Feb. 26

Kansas and Baylor are going to have to hold it down for Big 12 basketball once Texas and Oklahoma bail for the SEC. That the Bears became the first team to unseat the Jayhawks and win the Big 12 title after more than a decade of dominance bodes well for this budding rivalry.

10. Villanova at UCLA,

Nov. 12

UCLA’s season opener against Cal State Bakersfield will probably draw a full house simply because it’s the first game of the season. If not, then Pauley Pavilion will be packed three days later when the Bruins host Villanova in what could be a matchup of top-10 teams.

11. Gonzaga vs. Alabama,

Dec. 4

Alabama’s desire to push the tempo shouldn’t bother Gonzaga. The Bulldogs actually played faster last season and did so much more efficiently than the Crimson Tide. The crowd at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle for this elite nonconference matchup is in for a treat.

12. Purdue at Illinois,

Jan. 17

Purdue and Illinois belong to a tier in the Big Ten with Michigan (and maybe Ohio State) that’s separated from the rest of the conference. The true title contenders. The best way to stay at the top of the conference standings? Win games against the other three. Enjoy the 11 a.m. tip on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

13. Texas at Kansas,

March 5

Cherish these end-of-the-year Big 12 slugfests while they last. There aren’t many left between the Longhorns and Jayhawks given the former’s coming departure for the SEC. This year, though, the Big 12 title could still be on the line in the final week of the regular season.

14. UCLA vs. North Carolina, Dec. 18

UCLA is a known commodity given how many players returned from last season. North Carolina, on the other hand, has some question marks. How might new coach Hubert Davis fare? Will point guard Caleb Love play more in line with his five-star pedigree? Could Marquette transfer Dawson Garcia be the Tar Heels’ best player? Maybe they’ll have these answers when these iconic programs meet in Las Vegas.

15. Villanova at Baylor,

Dec. 12

Villanova coach Jay Wright isn’t afraid of a difficult schedule. The Wildcats’ trip to Waco, Texas, for the Big East/Big 12 Battle will be their fifth game against an opponent from a power conference in the first month of the season. A veteran Villanova team can probably handle it.

16. Purdue at Michigan,

Jan. 11

It should be classic Big Ten basketball. Purdue boasts a frontcourt with either Trevion Williams and Zach Edey — or maybe both — and Michigan can counter with Hunter Dickinson. Big men still matter in the Big Ten, and these two teams are conference title contenders for that very reason.

17. Texas at Texas Tech,

Feb. 1

It’s hard for outsiders to understand how upset Texas Tech is at losing its prized basketball coach and almost losing its conference. Texas’ decision to leave the Big 12 for the SEC created serious consternation among the Tech, Baylor and TCU legislative crowd. Lawmakers don’t like hearing from their constituents about how their football program is about to become irrelevant. So Tech fans will have a field day giving Chris Beard an ear full that night in the Hub City. Texas may have the better team on paper, but for one night, that may not matter. Weird things happen in the Hub City.

— Brian Davis,

Austin American-Statesman

18. Michigan at

North Carolina, Dec. 1

There might not be a better radio call in college basketball than Woody Durham’s “Technical foul! Technical foul!” after Michigan’s Chris Webber tried to call timeout without having one in the 1993 national championship game against North Carolina. It will assuredly be dusted off again when the two teams meet in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

19. Baylor at Oregon,

Dec. 18

The reigning national champions aren’t exactly starting from scratch, but the Bears do have a new rotation to figure out this season. Baylor coach Scott Drew didn’t ease into it either with multiple opponents from power conferences before even playing Oregon. There should be few remaining wrinkles by the time the Bears face the Ducks.

20. Villanova vs. Tennessee, Nov. 20

The big question for Villanova this season centers around how Collin Gillespie has recovered from the torn MCL that cost him the end of the 2020-21 season and if he can lead the Wildcats back to a national title like he won as a freshman in 2017-18. A high-profile victory against Tennessee in the Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic in Uncasville, Conn., would be a good early step.

21. Duke at Ohio State,

Nov. 30

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge could wind up with three matchups of ranked teams. The Blue Devils and Buckeyes should be one of them. The matchup to watch will be veteran Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell squaring off against five-star Duke freshman Paolo Banchero.

22. Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech, Dec. 18

The regular cries of “Gonzaga doesn’t play anybody” will undoubtedly crop up once the Bulldogs are in the thick of West Coast Conference play. To that, just show those people the rest of their schedule. Texas Tech is the sixth opponent from a power conference on it thanks to a neutral site matchup in the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix.

23. Alabama at Memphis,

Dec. 14

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has shown his ability as a recruiter in landing two No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in three years. Now, the Tigers need to win. Doing so against Alabama would be a signature victory for Hardaway in year four.

24. Tennessee at Kentucky,

Jan. 15

Who doesn’t enjoy a matchup between a pair of former five-star point guards? Both Tennessee and Kentucky have some veteran pieces that will make a difference between wins and losses in 2021-22, but the Vols’ Kennedy Chandler and the Wildcats’ TyTy Washington could put on a show.

25. Oregon at UCLA,

Jan. 13

The mid-January showdown between Oregon and UCLA at Pauley Pavilion will probably stand as the toughest test in Pac-12 play for both teams at that point of the season. Both teams have designs on a conference championship. The winner will have a leg up in that race.

26. Tennessee at Texas,

Jan. 29

Sandwiched between home games at Thompson-Boling Arena against Florida and Texas A&M will be a road trip to Austin, Texas, that Tennessee should get used to making. The future SEC rivals square off in a Big 12/SEC Challenge game perhaps second only to Kentucky-Kansas.

27. St. Bonaventure vs. CONNECTICUT, Dec. 11

St. Bonaventure has a real shot at starting the season ranked in the AP Top 25 (preseason poll coming soon). A neutral-site win against UConn at the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, N.J., would only validate that potential ranking and help solidify the Bonnies as a top team in the country.

28. Florida State at Purdue, Nov. 30

Somebody should say it. Purdue’s Matt Painter and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton are hoarders. If there’s a 7-footer capable of playing at the power-conference level, odds are Painter and Hamilton are interested. That this game will pit Purdue’s 7-4 Zach Edey against Florida State’s 7-3 Naheem McLeod just proves it.

29. Baylor at Alabama,

Jan. 29

It’s an interesting schedule for Alabama with three of Final Four teams from last year coming up. A Dec. 4 trip to Seattle for Gonzaga is followed by a Dec. 11 visit from Houston, but the Jan. 29 home game with defending champ Baylor is one to circle. It’s part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge that always produces intriguing games.

— Michael Casagrande, AL.com

30. Kentucky vs. Ohio State, Dec. 18

A fairly unimpressive first month of the season for Kentucky save for the Champions Classic leads into quite the stretch to finish the calendar year. The Ohio State game in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas is the middle of three straight high-major nonconference games for the Wildcats. That’s where they’ll find out if their mix of transfers and five-star freshmen works.

31. Kansas vs.

Michigan State, Nov. 9

This game will take a backseat to its Champions Classic counterpart in New York given Michigan State could not be ranked to start the season. But that doesn’t dampen the excitement the event and the regular matchups between the Jayhawks and Spartans have brought to the opening night of the college basketball season.

32. Louisiana Tech at

Alabama, Nov. 9

What a way to start the season — especially if Louisiana Tech can pull the upset. It’s not out of the question. The Bulldogs are probably the best team in Conference USA and boast one of the more intriguing players in the country in 6-foot-7, 275-pound forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. Remember that name.

33. Michigan at Ohio State, March 6

Ohio State fans will be busy in the final week of the season crossing out the letter “M” wherever it might appear. It’s not just a football rivalry between the Buckeyes and Wolverines. It crosses all sports and genders. The way it should.

34. Memphis vs. Tennessee, Dec. 18

The in-state rivals have split the last two matchups and this will decide the series. The game will take place in Nashville, Tenn., after each team won on the opposing team’s home court. The chance for a Quad 1 win and bragging rights makes this the most important game on the Tigers’ schedule. Games against Houston and Alabama would be just behind this one.

— Steven Johnson, Daily Memphian

35. Illinois at Purdue,

Feb. 10

Mackey Arena was where Illini basketball dreams died for a decade. Purdue dominated Illinois at home for 11-plus years before the Illini won in West Lafayette, Ind., on Jan. 21, 2020, to snap a seven-game road losing streak. This year’s game will be just as important for Illinois.

36. Auburn vs. CONNECTICUT,

Nov. 24

Two young bigs add some intrigue to this Battle 4 Atlantis opener. UConn’s Adama Sanogo, though, might have the upper hand on five-star Auburn freshman Jabari Smith. Sanogo should just be a freshman himself, but he reclassified to the 2020 class and has a year of experience to what will be just four games for Smith by the time the Tigers reach the Bahamas.

37. Tennessee vs. Texas Tech, Dec. 7

The Jimmy V Classic is bringing some top talent to Madison Square Garden in early December. Former C-U junior-high standout turned Tennessee senior guard VJ Bailey squaring off against Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr. — an Illini target out of high school — is only the tip of the talent iceberg.

38. Oregon vs. BYU,

Nov. 16

Unless SMU delivers an opening-week upset, the Ducks should still be ranked in the AP Top 25 (assuming they’re in the preseason poll) by the time they play BYU in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore. It’s an opportunity for BYU to get into the top 25 early in the season with a win.

39. Mississippi State vs.

Colorado State, Dec. 11

Interesting case study in this Basketball Hall of Fame Classic game in Fort Worth, Texas. Will continuity for a top mid-major (Colorado State returns all five starters) be enough to knock off a power conference program in a slight rebuild around its star (four transfers in at Mississippi State to play with Iverson Molinar)?

40. Alabama at Kentucky,

Feb. 19

Kentucky wasn’t anywhere near the SEC title race last season during its nightmarish 9-16 season and eighth-place finish in the conference. The expectations are for a return to more historic norms this season, meaning the late February matchup with Alabama could have a bearing on the top of the league standings.

41. Purdue vs.

North Carolina, Nov. 20

Expectation are sky high for Purdue this season after the Boilermakers brought back essentially their entire rotation from last year’s NCAA tournament team. That meant essentially splitting the vote with Michigan atop the Big Ten preseason media poll and what’s likely a top-10 ranking in the AP Top 25. Beating North Carolina in the Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament in Uncasville, Conn., would solidify that hype.

42. Houston at Alabama,

Dec. 11

The quality of guard play in this game could be ridiculous. Alabama certainly has no shortage of options with Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford and five-star freshman JD Davison. Houston can counter with Marcus Sasser — a player of the year candidate in the American Athletic Conference — and Kyler Edwards.

43. Connecticut at

Villanova, Feb. 5

UConn’s re-entry into the Big East ended in a third-place finish in the league in 2020-21. Not bad for Dan Hurley and Co. The Huskies’ early February trip to Philadelphia might be 12 games into Big East play, but it stands as their best “we are back” scenario should they return home with a win against Villanova.

44. Alabama vs.

Colorado State, Dec. 21

The Crimson Tide have two mid-majors on the schedule that will rightly be thinking upset this season. If Louisiana Tech doesn’t pull it off on the opening night of the year, Colorado State has a real chance when it faces Alabama in the C.M. Newton Classic in Birmingham, Ala.

45. Indiana at Purdue,

March 5

There’s a reason Purdue fans chant “IU Sucks!” even when the Boilermakers aren’t playing Indiana. No love lost in that rivalry. Playing the Hoosiers at home in the final game of the regular season has some intrigue to it — particularly if Purdue is still in the Big Ten title hunt.

46. Houston at Memphis,

March 6

The AAC race might already be in hand by both teams’ final game of the regular season. That Houston and Memphis are both league title contenders heading into the year, though, puts some added emphasis on every time they play.

47. Arkansas at Tennessee, March 5

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman is a firm believer in the benefits of the transfer portal in reloading a roster. If the Razorbacks and their quintet of transfers are still competing for the SEC title come their regular-season finale against Tennessee, then pulling from the portal worked.

48. Ohio State at Indiana,

Jan. 6

Indiana is in that next tier of Big Ten teams beyond the top four title contenders (of which Ohio State is probably four of four right now). Starting the new year off with a significant conference victory would play well for either team.

49. Wichita State at

Houston, Jan. 8

The Shockers have a difficult start to the new year, with this game at Houston coming on the heels of their New Year’s Day showdown with Memphis. Just consider it a prime opportunity for Wichita State to make its case the AAC title race isn’t just a two-team affair.

50. Arizona at Tennessee,

Dec. 22

Nothing easy about December for Arizona in Tommy Lloyd’s first season as coach. This will be the second true road game against a power-conference opponent for the Wildcats after their trip to Champaign earlier in the month.

51. Richmond at

St. Bonaventure, Feb. 1

Other teams will make the Atlantic-10 competitive — don’t sleep on Saint Louis, VCU or Dayton — but Richmond and St. Bonaventure will still probably be at the top come early February. Particularly the Bonnies, who have two potential A-10 Player of the Year candidates in senior guard Kyle Lofton and senior forward Sun Osunniyi.

52. St. John’s at Indiana,

Nov. 17

The resumption of the Gavitt Tipoff Games following last season’s COVID-19 related cancellation is kind of light on “must-see” matchups. But this is one of them. Two programs that had been relying more on historical relevance than what they’ve done lately could be on the verge of breaking through again. If the Hoosiers’ Mike Woodson coaches at this level as well as he put together his first team.

53. Michigan State vs. Loyola Chicago, Nov. 24

Drew Valentine clearly has good memories of Michigan State. The Lansing, Mich., native spent two seasons as a graduate manager for coach Tom Izzo, and his younger brother Denzel was a star for the Spartans. A better memory would be knocking off Michigan State in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

54. LSU vs. Louisiana Tech,

Dec. 18

Pelican State supremacy will probably lean LSU’s direction a month into the season. That should be enough time for Tigers coach Will Wade to figure out how transfer guards Xavier Pinson and Adam Miller work in the same backcourt and with five-star freshman center Efton Reid. Tech won’t go down easy, though.

55. Oklahoma State at Oral Roberts, Nov. 26

This is basically the equivalent of Illinois hitting the road to play Illinois State or Indiana playing at Ball State. Big-state schools don’t often play true road games against in-state, mid-major opponents. The only real difference is Oral Roberts will probably have the best player in the arena in Max Abmas.

56. Louisville at Kentucky, Dec. 22

Don’t imagine Louisville coach Chris Mack will be filming any rivalry-stoking victory videos this season. For one, the Commonwealth probably belongs to a deeper, more talented Kentucky. Secondly, Mack doesn’t need any extra attention given the state of his program and stacking NCAA notices of allegations.

57. Memphis at

Wichita State, Jan. 1

The most intriguing game on the schedule will be when Memphis makes its return to Koch Arena. The AAC has still yet to release its conference schedule, but since WSU joined the American beginning in the 2017-18 season, Memphis has quickly become one of the top rivals in the new conference. With so much preseason hype and the Tigers likely entering the season as the favorite to win the AAC title this season, the Shockers — and a raucous crowd at Koch Arena — will sure be amped up to show that the championship goes through Wichita again this season.

— Taylor Eldridge, Wichita Eagle

58. Belmont at LSU,

Nov. 22

Belmont is chasing big wins in 2021-22. Anything to help ensure that a situation like last season doesn’t happen again. The Bruins won 26 games, lost in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title game and missed out on the postseason entirely. No NCAA tournament or NIT berths. The return of all five starters certainly helps Belmont’s case in Baton Rouge, La.

59. Houston vs.

Oklahoma State, Dec. 18

The 2020-21 season was the year of the multi-team event in college basketball. Turns out they’re not going away. As long as MTEs generate matchups like Houston and Oklahoma State playing in something called the Hoop Hype XL College Basketball Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas, though, they’re OK.

60. Syracuse vs. Villanova,

Dec. 7

Syracuse actually has a true nonconference road game this season not mandated by an event. A rarity for coach Jim Boeheim’s team. Before the Orange travel to Washington, D.C., to play Georgetown, though, they get a crack at Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic in New York. Anything that pairs up old Big East rivals is good for college basketball.

61. Arizona at Illinois,

Dec. 11

Would this game have a higher profile last season with Ayo Dosunmu still at Illinois and Arizona boasting a deeper team? Sure, but cross-country travel didn’t sound like the best of ideas during one of the peaks of the pandemic. The delayed return game in Champaign is still a top matchup and one of 25 high-major games for the Illini in 2021-22.

62. Oklahoma State vs. Southern California, Dec. 21

This Compete 4 Cause Classic matchup in Oklahoma City would be a bit more exciting if Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley were still around for Oklahoma State and USC, respectively. Hard to hold on to one-and-done, first-round pick talent, though. There’s still enough left in the tank for each program, though, to generate some interest.

63. Ohio State at Xavier,

Nov. 18

Ohio State will just naturally outshine its southern Ohio counterpart. The Buckeyes are a big deal in Columbus, Ohio, and beyond. The Musketeers? Not as much. But this could be Travis Steele’s best Xavier team, and a home game against Ohio State in the Gavitt Tipoff Games would be the perfect time for an upset.

64. San Diego State at Michigan, Dec. 4

Winner gets to claim Steve Fisher for all time? The former Michigan and San Diego State coach nearly got to 500 career victories (495-288 record) in his time at the two programs. The Aztecs’ court might bear his name, but the Wolverines probably have the upper hand in this year’s matchup.

65. Virginia at Houston,

Nov. 16

It probably wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Virginia ranked 357th out of 357 Division I teams last season in adjusted tempo. Slow and steady is Tony Bennett’s bread and butter. Turns out Houston coach Kelvin Sampson doesn’t mind that either since the Cougars ranked 332nd in the same category. This matchup might not be overly entertaining, but it will be the epitome of efficient offensive basketball.

66. Tennessee at Colorado,

Dec. 4

Games like this should happen more often. Power-conference teams in a non-MTE environment playing on campus. They will start happening more often if the power conferences all join together and cast off the NCAA. Until then, enjoy games like Tennessee playing in Boulder, Colo.

67. Missouri at KANSAS,

Dec. 11

Mizzou is not expected to be very good this season, and KU will likely be a heavy home favorite, but this is the first official meeting between the two teams since 2012, when Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC. So there no doubt will be a lot of juice and anticipation for the two longtime, bitter rivals to battle it out again after nearly a decade off.

— Matt Tait, Lawrence Journal-World

68. Oral Roberts at

Colorado State, Nov. 9

Two of the best players not on power-conference rosters will square off to start the 2021-22 season in Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado State’s David Roddy vs. Oral Roberts’ Max Abmas on opening night? Welcome back, college basketball.

69. Morehead State

at Belmont, Feb. 10

This game and the Jan. 30 matchup between the two teams will probably decide the Ohio Valley Conference title. Belmont is the favorite heading into the season, but Morehead State did pull the upset in last year’s OVC tournament championship and returns the two players responsible for it in senior guard Skyelar Potter and bouncy big man Johni Broome.

70. Rutgers at Seton Hall,

Dec. 12

The Battle for New Jersey is back on after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out last year’s game and arguments on where this year’s would happen nearly derailed the whole thing. Garden State basketball fans deserve to see Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. go up against Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden.

71. Drake at

Loyola Chicago, Feb. 19

Drake and Loyola Chicago split last year’s Missouri Valley Conference series, meaning the regular-season championship came down to the Bulldogs losing to both Valparaiso (ouch) and Bradley and the Ramblers only losing once more to Indiana State. The two are the top MVC contenders again, so this second matchup after a late January date in Des Moines, Iowa, might decide the league title.

72. Oklahoma vs. Arkansas, Dec. 11

New Oklahoma coach Porter Moser won’t face his toughest test until December. Arkansas is the third of three games against high-major opponents, following Florida and Butler, but the Razorbacks will probably be the most difficult of the bunch.

73. Southern California at Florida Gulf Coast, Nov. 16

Andy Enfield back in Dunk City? Pretty cool. The USC coach guided Florida Gulf Coast to a Sweet 16 run as a No. 15 seed in 2013, which landed him the job with the Trojans. Now he’s going “home.” USC will probably be an overwhelming road favorite, but the constant highlight replays of the Eagles’ NCAA tourney run leading into the game will be worth it.

74. Maryland vs. Richmond, Nov. 25

Will five games be enough for Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to figure out how newcomers Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab fit? It better be. Richmond won’t exactly be a pushover in the opening round of the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship. If it’s not, there are worse places to spend Thanksgiving than the Caribbean.

75. Drake at Missouri State, Jan. 2

There’s one way Missouri State can announce its intentions to compete for the Missouri Valley Conference title this season: Beat Drake at home to start the new year. It’s a prime opportunity for the Bears, who can contend with a fairly deep Drake team by having potentially the best two players on the court in junior guard Isiaih Mosley and senior forward Gaige Prim.

76. San Diego State at BYU, Nov. 12

The Aztecs aren’t exactly easing into the 2021-22 season. They open the year with a home game against potential Big West favorites UC Riverside and then immediately head to Provo, Utah, to face BYU before returning home to play Arizona State the next week. Cal transfer Matt Bradley might swing the game San Diego State’s way against potential All-American Alex Barcello and BYU.

77. Colorado State

at San Diego State, March 1

San Diego State didn’t exactly have the same stranglehold on the top of the Mountain West Conference last season as it did the year before, but the Aztecs still won their third league title in five years. As close as the MWC might be again, this showdown in the final week of the regular season could have real implications.

78. Belmont vs. Drake,

Nov. 25

This is a preview of what will be a league came next season, with Belmont set to join the Missouri Valley Conference. Taking on Drake in Kissimmee, Fla., should give the Bruins an idea of how they’ll compete in their new conference. A win for either team, though, will be a résumé booster.

79. BYU at Missouri State,

Dec. 4

This game won’t happen in a few years when BYU is part of the Big 12. No way the Cougars make the trip to Springfield, Mo., once that bit of conference realignment is official. So the Bears better take advantage of their shot at a huge home upset while they have it.

80. Western Kentucky at Memphis, Nov. 19

WKU has a good nonconference schedule, and the best/most intriguing opponent on that is probably Memphis. Memphis is expected to be one of the top teams in the country, and WKU has had a hard time trying to get the Tigers on the schedule in recent years. The two did meet early last year in Sioux Falls, S.D., in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic, a game WKU won 75-69.

— Jared MacDonald, Bowling Green Daily News

81. Texas at Seton Hall,

Dec. 9

Texas probably won’t be challenged all that much in the first month of the season save for its trip to Gonzaga and its game at Seton Hall. Probably a good thing, too, with so many newcomers on the Longhorns’ roster. The Pirates, though, will be a challenge since they boast enough top-level guards to hang with Texas.

82. Richmond at Drake,

Nov. 20

Richmond should compete for the Atlantic-10 title this season. The same is true of Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference. The true road game nature of the matchup for the Spiders means a bigger boost with a win, but it would be a quality victory for the Bulldogs, too.

83. Creighton at Nebraska, Nov. 16

Creighton has dominated its cross-state rival of late, winning nine of its last 10 games against Nebraska. Don’t be surprised to see the tide perhaps turn in favor of the Cornhuskers this season. Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg might finally have the backcourt he’s needed to be competitive.

84. Richmond vs. Utah State, Nov. 12

The hype around Richmond heading into 2020-21 ballooned when the Spiders beat Kentucky during the opening weekend of the season. Then it fizzled. Utah State might not be Kentucky, but the Aggies present an early-season opportunity for Richmond to secure another notable win in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Md., with its veteran team looking for more than last season’s NIT berth.

85. Loyola Chicago

at Vanderbilt, Dec. 10

Vanderbilt will have the most talented player on the court in junior guard Scotty Pippen Jr., but help around him has not been the Commodores’ strong suit. The argument can be made Loyola Chicago has the better team, meaning first-year coach Drew Valentine has a shot at a win against an SEC early in his career.

86. Southern Utah at

Saint Mary’s, Nov. 15

Don’t sleep on Southern Utah. Last year’s Big Sky regular-season champions return all five starters, including former Illini Tevian Jones, from a 20-win team. Taking down Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., would be a huge boost to the Thunderbirds early in the season — and at least a road block to the Gaels’ hopes of an at-large NCAA tournament berth.

87. Colgate at Syracuse,

Nov. 20

Remember how Colgate was a NET rankings darling in 2020-21? The Raiders were somehow a top-10 team in the country per that metric before the NCAA tournament, and they did almost knock off Arkansas in the first round. All that’s to say Syracuse probably shouldn’t look past this seemingly innocuous nonconference home game.

88. Nevada at

San Francisco, Nov. 18

As non-power conference backcourts go, Nevada and San Francisco have good ones. The Dons will have home-court advantage to go with Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz, but the Wolf Pack’s Grant Sheffield and Desmond Cambridge Jr. can light it up offensively.

89. Buffalo at

St. Bonaventure, Dec. 4

Too bad St. Bonaventure couldn’t get Syracuse on its schedule this season. The two teams haven’t played since 2018, and the Orange have dominated the series historically. This year might be different. Instead, the battle for upstate New York bragging rights comes down the Bonnies and the Bulls. Still a good game.

90. UC Santa Barbara at

UC Riverside, Feb. 26

The Big West regular-season title might be decided in this late February matchup. UC Riverside probably has the advantage in the backcourt, but UC Santa Barbara’s duo of 6-9 Amadou Sow (a one-time Illini target) and 6-10 Miles Norris up front could be the difference maker.

91. New Mexico State at Washington State, Dec. 15

The Aggies have trips to New Mexico, Grand Canyon and UTEP scheduled, but I think New Mexico State’s game at Washington State takes the cake. A road win at a Power Five program would mean wonders to a smaller Division I school who nearly pulled off a win against the Cougars in 2019.

— Stephen Wagner, Las Cruces Sun-News

92. Liberty vs. Iona,

Nov. 19

Both teams made the NCAA tournament last season. Liberty after maintaining its place atop the Atlantic Sun and Iona after a run to claim the MAAC tournament title. The Flames return three of their top players from a year ago, while the Gaels reloaded in the transfer portal.

93. Vermont at

Northern Iowa, Nov. 11

No messing around for Northern Iowa to start the season. The Panthers will find out early if star guard A.J. Green is healthy after offseason hip surgery. Vermont has been the class of the America East under John Becker and has a dominant stretch 4 for an elite low major in former N-G all-stater Ryan Davis.

94. Milwaukee at Florida,

Nov. 18

Patrick Baldwin Jr. made a calculated decision when he opted to play for his dad at Milwaukee. The five-star freshman is counting on his NBA stock holding steady even if the Panthers remain a sub-.500 team. The road trip to Gainesville, Fla., to play the Gators is as high profile a matchup as Baldwin will get all year.

95. Oral Roberts at

South Dakota, Dec. 20

It’s OK if you’ve never heard of South Dakota guard A.J. Plitzuweit. You might this year. The Coyotes’ hometown hero averaged 19 points and shot 43 percent from three-point range in his debut last season. Not a bad foil for Oral Roberts star Max Abmas in the Summit League opener.

96. Marshall at Indiana,

Nov. 27

A barrage of three-pointers might be Marshall’s only shot against Indiana. Good thing Thundering Herd coach Dan D’Antoni is more than OK with his team letting it fly from deep. The Hoosiers might have the overall talent edge, but prolific Marshall guard Taevion Kinsey could be the best player on the court for one night.

97. Detroit at Louisville,

Nov. 20

Detroit coach Mike Davis knows a thing or two about lengthy stretches away from home. His last Texas Southern team played its first 13 games away from Houston to start the 2017-18 season. This game is part of nine in a row on the road for the Titans, but it gives Antoine Davis a high-profile opponent to drop his customary 25-plus points.

98. DePaul at Louisville,

Dec. 10

Is it too soon to call this the Brian Bowen Bowl? DePaul probably feels grateful the former five-star guard picked Louisville. Bowen ultimately never played for the Cardinals after the two were connected into the FBI’s pay-for-play investigation. The actual basketball might not be all that exciting between DePaul and Louisville, but even past scandal is always good for some eyeballs.

99. Wyoming at

Grand Canyon, Nov. 22

Make the trip to Phoenix to see Grand Canyon play in person. It’s worth it. GCU Arena essentially turns into a rave each home game, and the “Havocs” student section is wild. Wyoming is the best opponent the ‘Lopes face at home this season, so this game makes the cut.

100. St. Thomas at

Chicago State, Nov. 9

Hear me out. There’s a reason this game rounds out the list. It’s the first-ever Division I game for St. Thomas, with the Tommies making the unprecedented, needed-a-waiver-from-the-NCAA jump from Division III. And they could very well start out their D-I tenure 1-0 given Chicago State’s sad-sack status.





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A quick guide for those traveling to Michigan football games


We often get asked about putting out some sort of guide for Michigan Wolverines fans that are coming to town for games, whether it be the first trip or a return visit. For whatever reason, we have not been able to get to it, but that changes today!

Below are some tips and tricks for people looking to maximize their time in Ann Arbor this fall. These are the takes and opinions of someone who has spent a decent amount of time around campus in the seven years of operating this site, so put into that what you will.

Without further ado, here would be my tips for your Michigan experience in town and around the stadium.

Note: MnB is not being paid or endorsed for any of these. We are simply sharing friendly tips!

Where should I stay?

This one is tough for me to answer given I live close enough to drive in, but I would suggest Residence Inn in Downtown Ann Arbor if I were planning a trip for you. The reviews are pretty positive and it puts you into the thick of where some of the good bars are restaurants are. It is about a mile down the road from the stadium and about a 25 minute or so walk down Main Street. If you need a break, there are plenty of bars and restaurants on the way to dip into.

Where should I park?

A move of mine in the past has been to park downtown and make the long walk. When the weather sucks, there are usually Ubers or Lyfts around that will get you pretty close, or at least a lot closer than the mile walk would.

But if you’re coming into town to take in a game, the U-M golf course or Ann Arbor Pioneer High School are your two best bets. It puts you right across the street from the stadium and throws you into the thick of the tailgate scene. It will be your priciest option at around $40-$50 a game. You can also park on someone’s lawn in one of the neighborhoods and pack a few travel beverages in a cooler and check out the tailgates for yourself.

What are some bars or eateries I should check out?

Whether enjoying a drink and an appetizer before or after the game or finding a place to partake in some adult beverages on your way to the stadium, there are plenty of options. Three of my favorites are The Pretzel Bell, Jim Brady’s and Pizza House. The first two are on the Main Street walk that we referenced earlier, while Pizza House is closer to campus on Church Street. The Brown Jug is another favorite of mine and is located over by Pizza House.

There are plenty of coffee shops in Ann Arbor being that it is both a college town and extremely hipstery. My favorite is RoosRoost, which has a location downtown on Liberty Street and another closer to the golf course off of Industrial Hwy.

How should I spend my pregame time?

Spend as much time around the stadium and at tailgates as you possibly can. There is nothing like a college sports tailgate, especially one that surrounds one of the cathedrals in college sports. There is plenty of stuff around the stadium for both families and kids. Your little ones (and let’s be honest, yourself as well) are going to be begging you for merch. MDen will have a pop-up location and there are usually a few other tents selling shirts, hats and more around the stadium.

Make an effort to get over to the East side of the stadium to see the band enter the Big House if you can. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, but everyone should probably check that out at least once.

How early should I get into the stadium?

The gates open two hours before kickoff. That’s a little early to get there as a fan, but if you’re the type that likes to settle in, find your seat and then take in the stadium a bit, that’s as early as you can get in. I would recommend getting in sometime within an hour of kickoff. It gives you enough time to see warmups, the band’s pregame performance, the team running out to touch the banner and more.

What should I do during the game?

Cheer on your squad and have the time of your life. Don’t be a jerk. Be mindful of the people around you. With that said, Michigan has a reputation for having older fans that want you to sit down. Just be respectful, but also be sure that you’re being able to bring the energy to the game that it requires. You’re allowed to cheer and go nuts when good things happen. Don’t be a jerk, though!

Other than that, have fun! Enjoy your Big House experience.

Do you have suggestions for what people should do during a football game visit? Be sure to sound off in the comments below! Everyone’s preferences and experiences are different, so the more opinions, the better.



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WVU Set for Three ESPNU Games, Announces Home Television Schedule


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Big 12 Conference have announced that three women’s basketball contests will be broadcast on ESPNU during the 2021-22 season.
 
ESPNU is set to broadcast WVU’s Big 12 Conference opener this year on Sunday, Jan. 2, when the Mountaineers travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State inside Hilton Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET.
 
West Virginia’s next ESPNU game is set for Sunday, Feb. 20, when WVU welcomes Texas to Morgantown, for a 12 p.m., start at the WVU Coliseum. A week later, on Sunday, Feb. 27, the Mountaineers game against Oklahoma State in Morgantown also will be carried on the network. Tip-off against the Cowgirls is scheduled for 1 p.m.
 
Additionally, all WVU women’s basketball home games, not broadcast on ESPNU, will be carried on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For more information on how to sign up for ESPN+, fans can visit WVUsports.com/Big12Now.
 
The Mountaineers’ contest at Kentucky on Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the 2021 Big 12/SEC Challenge also will be available on ESPN+, as part of the SEC Network+ package. Game times and broadcast information for WVU’s road and neutral-site contests will be announced at a later date.
 
To order 2021-22 women’s basketball season tickets, visit WVUGAME.com or call 1-800-WVU GAME. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.
 



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Women’s volleyball wins two consecutive games on the road


Team forces comeback against Idaho in 3-2 win

The+Sacramento+State+women%E2%80%99s+volleyball+team+plays+against+Boise+State+in+the+Sacramento+State+invitational+tournament+on+Sept.+11%2C+2021.+The+team+forced+a+comeback+win+against+Idaho+on+Saturday+to+even+their+Big+Sky+Conference+record.

Tony Rodriguez

The Sacramento State women’s volleyball team plays against Boise State in the Sacramento State invitational tournament on Sept. 11, 2021. The team forced a comeback win against Idaho on Saturday to even their Big Sky Conference record.

Tony Rodriguez

Sacramento State lost the first two sets against the University of Idaho on the road only to come back and win the match on Saturday afternoon.

The Hornets withstood Idaho, 3-2. 

The Sacramento State volleyball team evened their Big Sky Conference record (2-2) and overall record (6-6) as they completed a northwest road trip with a win. 

The Hornets arrived in Idaho after a previous win on the road against Eastern Washington on Thursday. The Hornets won that game in a straight set sweep and hoped to continue their win streak.

In the first set, Sac State started with an early lead 4-3. The Hornets were able to maintain a lead for the majority of the first but were unable to finish. It was a close first set at 14-14. 

Idaho redshirt senior middle blocker Nikki Ball’s effort from the front line made it difficult for the Hornets’ defense. It was a back and forth set with many service errors coming from both sides. 

Sac State sophomore outside hitter Bridgette Smith had four kills in the first set, but Idaho still won the opening set 25-22 by taking advantage of Sacramento State’s five service errors.

There were four lead changes in a back and forth opening set. Hornets sophomore middle blocker Kalani Hayes had three kills in the opening set along with Smith who had four kills.

Idaho won and played a strong second set. Junior middle blocker Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin  made her first appearance of the night in the second. Griffin leads Sacramento State’s team in blocks. Idaho relied on splitting defenders in Sac State’s front line defense. 

Sac State still showed offensive strength in the front block through the set scoring on some tip points over Idaho’s blockers. Idaho continued to exploit the middle gap in order to win the set.

Head coach Ruben Volta was able to make an important challenge on play, a potential tip to take the lead 20-19. The ball previously ruled in Idaho’s favor was overturned.

Idaho middle blockers freshman Rachel Davis and redshirt sophomore Travel Morris both had four kills in the second set, while senior Allison Munday , who leads the team in kills this season, had five. Sac State was able to bring things closer, but Idaho went on a run to take the final four points of the second set.

Sac State needed a win in the third set to hang on and they got it. The Hornets were able to come alive with sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Volkmann and senior middle blocker Cianna Andrews providing stability at the front of the net for Sac State. 

Andrews got her seventh kill in the third set. Sac State led the whole third set and closed it out 25-17.

Sac State then needed the fourth to stay in the game.

Andrews made an impact in the fourth with kill number 10 and an important block to keep her team in competition.

The Hornets defense was able to make hustle plays giving them some points they could have easily lost. It was a much closer set than the third. At the end of the set, it was an even game at 25-25. Sac State delivered with a service ace on the match point to force a fifth set.

Sac State came into the fifth set looking to keep their momentum going after winning the last two sets. 

It was a back and forth final that came down to the wire. Both teams fought while having two sets each in the match.  

The Vandals held off through four match points before falling to Sac State 17-15. 

Volkmann had a match high of 18 kills for the Hornets. Sac State made it all the way back and won the match (3-2) as they completed their northwest road trip sweep. 

Volkmann, Smith,  Andrews and middle blocker Karlee Soderburg all finished in double figures. 

The Hornets will return to play at home for their next match after  six consecutive games on the road. They will face Northern Arizona University on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Southern Utah on Saturday at 1 p.m.



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Tip times, TV set for Louisville, Kansas games


Kentucky’s 2021-22 basketball schedule is now complete.

Tip times and TV designations are set for UK’s non-conference games against Louisville and Kansas, respectively, it was announced Wednesday.

The Wildcats and Cardinals will renew its annual rivalry at Rupp Arena on Wednesday, December 22 at 6 PM ET on ESPN. The Cats and Jayhawks, meanwhile, will tip off at 6 PM ET from Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence on Saturday, January 29. That game will also be televised on ESPN.

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Kentucky is 11-3 vs. Louisville under head coach John Calipari and 37-17 all-time. UK had won three straight in the series until a 62-59 loss to the Cardinals last season that dropped the team to 1-6 on the year. The Wildcats won a 78-70 overtime thriller in the last matchup at Rupp Arena in 2019.

In what should be a matchup of preseason top-10 teams, Kentucky will travel to Lawrence to take on Kansas in the annual Big 12-SEC Challenge.

More than conference bragging rights could be on the line between UK and KU. The Wildcats enter the 2021-22 season maintaining a slim margin over the Jayhawks as the winningest program in NCAA history.

Kentucky suffered through a 9-16 season in 2020-21, missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, posting its first losing record since 1989 and recording the worst finish by a preseason Associated Press top-10 team since the poll was first released in 1961. UK, whose season ended with a 74-73 loss to Mississippi State in the second round of the SEC Tournament, sits at 2,327 all-time wins.

The Jayhawks, who ended the year at 21-9 with a loss to USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, shaved 12 games off the Wildcats’ lead but still trail by four at 2,323 victories.

Big Blue has been the winningest program in college basketball history since surpassing North Carolina during its national championship season of 1995-96. Finishing 34-2 to the Tar Heels’ 21-11, Kentucky turned a 10-game deficit into a 3-game lead it hasn’t relinquished since.

The Wildcats became the first school to 2,000 wins with an 88-44 victory over Drexel at Rupp Arena on Dec. 21, 2009.

UK holds a 23-10 advantage over KU all-time head-to-head but have lost three of the last four dating back to 2016, including a 65-62 loss in the Champions Classic last season.

Kentucky is 1-2 vs. Kansas in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, 0-1 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse and 2-1 on the road.

The Wildcats open the season with exhibitions vs. Kentucky Wesleyan and Miles College before officially tipping off the 2021-22 season vs. Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

UK’s non-conference schedule also includes games against Notre Dame, and Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic.

In league play, the Cats will face every Southeastern Conference team once with home-and-away matchups set vs. Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama and LSU.





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2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates: March Madness bracket, games, tipoff times, live stream, TV channels


The craziness that always happens during March Madness has returned to our lives. If you needed proof of that, just look at the happenings of the First Four on Thursday and first-round action that went down on Friday as the 2021 NCAA Tournament got underway. The most notable piece of history that occurred happened on Friday as No. 15 seed Oral Roberts etched its name in the history books by upsetting No. 2 seed Ohio State. The March Madness is back, folks! 

The Saturday action gets underway at 12:15 p.m. ET, when No. 12 seed Georgetown and No. 5 seed Colorado square off on CBS. The action will run throughout the day before concluding with No. 10 seed VCU facing No. 7 seed Oregon in the nightcap on TNT at 9:57.

There are some notable changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, all the games are being played in Indiana to reduced the amount of travel required for the participants. But where casual fans will notice the most difference is in the dates of each round. Traditionally, the first round has started on Thursday with the second round being completed by Sunday.

Below you can find tip times and TV channels for every first round game slated to take place on Saturday.

Be sure to check in often as this story will update every single time the NCAA Tournament schedule is adjusted. Games will be aired on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV — and as always, you can also watch every game in the tourney via March Madness Live.

2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates

First Four

Thursday, March 18 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall

5:10 p.m. (16) Texas Southern 60, (16) Mount St. Mary’s 52 — Recap
6:27 p.m. (11) Drake 53, (11) Wichita St. 52 — Recap
8:40 p.m. (16) Norfolk State 54, (16) Appalachian State 53 — Recap
9:57 p.m. (11) UCLA 86, (11) Michigan State 80 (OT) — Recap

First round

Friday, March 19, 2021 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (7) Florida 75, (10) Virginia Tech 70 (OT) Recap
12:45 p.m. (3) Arkansas 85, (14) Colgate 68 Recap
1:15 p.m. (1) Illinois 78, (16) Drexel 49 Recap
1:45 p.m. (6) Texas Tech 65, (11) Utah State 53 Recap
3 p.m. (15) Oral Roberts 75, (2) Ohio State 72 (OT) Recap
3:30 p.m. (1) Baylor 79, (16) Hartford 55 Recap
4 p.m. (8) Loyola Chicago 71, (9) Georgia Tech 60 Recap
4:30 p.m. (12) Oregon State 70, (5) Tennessee 56 Recap
6:25 p.m. (4) Oklahoma State 69, (13) Liberty 60 Recap
7:10 p.m. (9) Wisconsin 85, (8) North Carolina 62 Recap
7:15 p.m. (2) Houston 87, (15) Cleveland State 56 Recap
7:25 p.m. (13) North Texas 78, (4) Purdue 69 Recap
9:20 p.m. (10) Rutgers 60, (7) Clemson 56 Recap
9:40 p.m. (11) Syracuse 78, (6) San Diego State 62 Recap
9:50 p.m. (3) West Virginia 84, (14) Morehead State 67 Recap
9:57 p.m. (5) Villanova 73, (12) Winthrop 63 Recap

Saturday, March 20 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado CBS (watch live)
12:45 p.m. (13) UNC Greensboro vs. (4) Florida State truTV (watch live)
1:15 p.m. (14) Eastern Washington vs. (3) Kansas TBS (watch live)
1:45 p.m. (9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU TNT (watch live)
3 p.m. (16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Michigan CBS (watch live)
3:30 p.m. (12) UC Santa Barbara vs. (5) Creighton truTV (watch live)
4 p.m. (15) Iona vs. (2) Alabama TBS (watch live)
4:30 p.m. (11) Drake vs. (6) USC TNT (watch live)
6:25 p.m. (15) Grand Canyon vs. (2) Iowa TBS (watch live)
7:10 p.m. (10) Maryland vs. (7) UConn CBS (watch live)
7:15 p.m. (13) Ohio vs. (4) Virginia truTV (watch live)
7:25 p.m. (9) Missouri vs. (8) Oklahoma TNT (watch live)
9:20 p.m. (16) Norfolk St./Appalachian St. vs. (1) Gonzaga TBS (watch live)
9:40 p.m. (11) Michigan St./UCLA vs. (6) BYU CBS (watch live)
9:50 p.m. (14) Abilene Christian vs. (3) Texas truTV (watch live)
9:57 p.m. (10) VCU vs. (7) Oregon TNT (watch live)

Second round

Sunday, March 21 — Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:10 p.m.

(1) Illinois vs. (8) Loyola Chicago

CBS (watch live)

2:40 p.m.

(1) Baylor vs. (9) Wisconsin

CBS (watch live)

5:15 p.m.

(3) West Virginia vs. (11) Syracuse

CBS (watch live)

6:10 p.m.

(3) Arkansas vs. (6) Texas Tech

TNT (watch live)

7:10 p.m.

(2) Houston vs. (10) Rutgers

TBS (watch live)

7:45 p.m.

(7) Florida vs. (15) Oral Roberts

truTV (watch live)

8:45 p.m.

(5) Villanova vs. (13) North Texas

TNT (watch live)

9:40 p.m. 

(4) Oklahoma State vs. (12) Oregon State

TBS (watch live)

Monday, March 22 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Sweet 16

Saturday, March 27 — 2 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Sunday, March 28 — 1 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite Eight

Monday, March 29 — 7 p.m. start (CBS)
Tuesday, March 30 — 6 p.m. start (TBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

Final Four

Saturday, April 3 — 5 p.m. start (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

National Championship

Monday, April 5 — 9 p.m. (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium





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2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates: March Madness bracket, games, TV channels, tipoff times, live stream


The NCAA Tournament finally made its return Thursday night with four exciting games in the First Four, but Friday is what brings back what college basketball fans have been truly craving — an all-day helping of March Madness. The day will feature 16 first-round NCAA Tournament games, starting with No. 7 seed Florida taking on No. 10 seed Virginia Tech at 12:15 p.m. ET and running all the way through a 9:57 p.m. nightcap between No. 5 seed Villanova and No. 12 seed Villanova.

In between, there will be an untold number of dramatic finishes that produce new heroes and Cinderella stories as the Big Dance unfolds for the first time since 2019. You can get a bird’s eye view of all the action with our printable bracket, and we’ve got a full listing of the pairings, times and channels below.

There are some notable changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, all the games are being played in Indiana to reduced the amount of travel required for the participants. But where casual fans will notice the most difference is in the dates of each round. Traditionally, the first round has started on Thursday with the second round being completed by Sunday.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols in place to ensure a safe environment for all, the first round will run on Friday and Saturday instead of Thursday and Friday. That means the Sweet 16 won’t be set until Monday night. Regardless, the basics are the same: a lot of meaningful basketball in a short period of time as we get closer to finally crowning a champion.

Fill out your bracket now for your chance to win a brand new Nissan Rogue and a trip to the 2022 Final Four. Don’t wait, brackets lock soon!

Below you can find tip times and TV channels for every first round game slated to take place on Friday and Saturday.

Itching for more college hoops analysis? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions, including our best bets for the opening round below.

Be sure to check in often as this story will update every single time the NCAA Tournament schedule is adjusted. Games will be aired on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV — and as always, you can also watch every game in the tourney via March Madness Live.

2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates

First Four

Thursday, March 18 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall

5:10 p.m. (16) Texas Southern 60, (16) Mount St. Mary’s 52 Recap
6:27 p.m. (11) Drake 53, (11) Wichita St. 52 Recap
8:40 p.m. (16) Norfolk State 54, (16) Appalachian State 53 Recap
9:57 p.m. (11) UCLA 86, (11) Michigan State 80 (OT) Recap

First round

Friday, March 19, 2021 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (10) Virginia Tech vs. (7) Florida CBS (watch live)
12:45 p.m. (14) Colgate vs. (3) Arkansas truTV (watch live)
1:15 p.m. (16) Drexel vs. (1) Illinois TBS (watch live)
1:45 p.m. (11) Utah State vs. (6) Texas Tech TNT (watch live)
3 p.m. (15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Ohio State CBS (watch live)
3:30 p.m. (16) Hartford vs. (1) Baylor truTV (watch live)
4 p.m. (9) Georgia Tech vs. (8) Loyola Chicago TBS (watch live)
4:30 p.m. (12) Oregon State vs. (5) Tennessee TNT (watch live)
6:25 p.m. (13) Liberty vs. (4) Oklahoma State TBS (watch live)
7:10 p.m. (9) Wisconsin vs. (8) North Carolina CBS (watch live)
7:15 p.m. (15) Cleveland State vs. (2) Houston truTV (watch live)
7:25 p.m. (13) North Texas vs. (4) Purdue TNT (watch live)
9:20 p.m. (10) Rutgers vs. (7) Clemson TBS (watch live)
9:40 p.m. (11) Syracuse vs. (6) San Diego State CBS (watch live)
9:50 p.m. (14) Morehead State vs. (3) West Virginia truTV (watch live)
9:57 p.m. (12) Winthrop vs. (5) Villanova TNT (watch live)

Saturday, March 20 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado CBS
12:45 p.m. (13) UNC Greensboro vs. (4) Florida State truTV
1:15 p.m. (14) Eastern Washington vs. (3) Kansas TBS
1:45 p.m. (9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU TNT
3 p.m. (16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Michigan CBS
3:30 p.m. (12) UC Santa Barbara vs. (5) Creighton truTV
4 p.m. (15) Iona vs. (2) Alabama TBS
4:30 p.m. (11) Drake vs. (6) USC TNT
6:25 p.m. (15) Grand Canyon vs. (2) Iowa TBS
7:10 p.m. (10) Maryland vs. (7) UConn CBS
7:15 p.m. (13) Ohio vs. (4) Virginia truTV
7:25 p.m. (9) Missouri vs. (8) Oklahoma TNT
9:20 p.m. (16) Norfolk St./Appalachian St. vs. (1) Gonzaga TBS
9:40 p.m. (11) Michigan St./UCLA vs. (6) BYU CBS
9:50 p.m. (14) Abilene Christian vs. (3) Texas truTV
9:57 p.m. (10) VCU vs. (7) Oregon TNT

Second round

Sunday, March 21 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Monday, March 22 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Sweet 16

Saturday, March 27 — 2 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Sunday, March 28 — 1 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite Eight

Monday, March 29 — 7 p.m. start (CBS)
Tuesday, March 30 — 6 p.m. start (TBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

Final Four

Saturday, April 3 — 5 p.m. start (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

National Championship

Monday, April 5 — 9 p.m. (CBS)
Lucas OIl Stadium

Get every pick, every play, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket, and see who cuts down the nets, all from the model that nailed 15 of the 26 double-digit upsets the last four tournaments!





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2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates: March Madness bracket, games, TV channels, tip times, live stream


The NCAA Tournament finally returned on Thursday night with four good games in the First Four, but Friday brings what college basketball fans have been truly craving. The day will feature 16 first round NCAA Tournament games, starting with No. 7 seed Florida taking on No. 10 seed Virginia Tech at 12:15 p.m. ET and running all the way through a 9:57 p.m. nightcap between No. 5 seed Villanova and No. 12 seed Villanova.

In between, there will be an untold number of dramatic finishes that produce new heroes and Cinderella stories as the Big Dance unfolds for the first time since 2019. You can get a bird’s eye view of all the action with our printable bracket, and we’ve got a full listing of the pairings, times and channels below.

There are some notable changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, all the games are being played in Indiana to reduced the amount of travel required for the participants. But where casual fans will notice the most difference is in the dates of each round. Traditionally, the first round has started on Thursday with the second round being completed by Sunday.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols in place to ensure a safe environment for all, the first round will run on Friday and Saturday instead of Thursday and Friday. That means the Sweet 16 won’t be set until Monday night. Regardless, the basics are the same: a lot of meaningful basketball in a short period of time as we get closer to finally crowning a champion.

Fill out your bracket now for your chance to win a brand new Nissan Rogue and a trip to the 2022 Final Four. Don’t wait, brackets lock soon!

Below you can find tip times and TV channels for every first round game slated to take place on Friday and Saturday.

Itching for more college hoops analysis? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions, including our best bets for the opening round below.

Be sure to check in often as this story will update every single time the NCAA Tournament schedule is adjusted. Games will be aired on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV — and as always, you can also watch every game in the tourney via March Madness Live beginning Thursday night with the First Four.

2021 NCAA Tournament schedule, dates

First Four

Thursday, March 18 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall

5:10 p.m. (16) Texas Southern 60, (16) Mount St. Mary’s 52 Recap
6:27 p.m. (11) Drake 53, (11) Wichita St. 52 Recap
8:40 p.m. (16) Norfolk State 54, (16) Appalachian State 53 Recap
9:57 p.m. (11) UCLA vs. (11) Michigan State (OT) Recap

First round

Friday, March 19, 2021 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (10) Virginia Tech vs. (7) Florida CBS 
12:45 p.m. (14) Colgate vs. (3) Arkansas truTV
1:15 p.m. (16) Drexel vs. (1) Illinois TBS
1:45 p.m. (11) Utah State vs. (6) Texas Tech TNT
3 p.m. (15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Ohio State CBS
3:30 p.m. (16) Hartford vs. (1) Baylor truTV
4 p.m. (9) Georgia Tech vs. (8) Loyola Chicago TBS
4:30 p.m. (12) Oregon State vs. (5) Tennessee TNT
6:25 p.m. (13) Liberty vs. (4) Oklahoma State TBS
7:10 p.m. (9) Wisconsin vs. (8) North Carolina CBS
7:15 p.m. (15) Cleveland State vs. (2) Houston truTV
7:25 p.m. (13) North Texas vs. (4) Purdue TNT
9:20 p.m. (10) Rutgers vs. (7) Clemson TBS
9:40 p.m. (11) Syracuse vs. (6) San Diego State CBS
9:50 p.m. (14) Morehead State vs. (3) West Virginia truTV
9:57 p.m. (12) Winthrop vs. (5) Villanova TNT

Saturday, March 20 — Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

12:15 p.m. (12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado CBS
12:45 p.m. (13) UNC Greensboro vs. (4) Florida State truTV
1:15 p.m. (14) Eastern Washington vs. (3) Kansas TBS
1:45 p.m. (9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU TNT
3 p.m. (16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Michigan CBS
3:30 p.m. (12) UC Santa Barbara vs. (5) Creighton truTV4
4 p.m. (15) Iona vs. (2) Alabama TBS
4:30 p.m. (11) Drake vs. (6) USC TNT
6:25 p.m. (15) Grand Canyon vs. (2) Iowa TBS
7:10 p.m. (10) Maryland vs. (7) UConn CBS
7:15 p.m. (13) Ohio vs. (4) Virginia truTV
7:25 p.m. (9) Missouri vs. (8) Oklahoma TNT
9:20 p.m. (16) Norfolk St./Appalachian St. vs. (1) Gonzaga TBS
9:40 p.m. (11) Michigan St./UCLA vs. (6) BYU CBS
9:50 p.m. (14) Abilene Christian vs. (3) Texas truTV
9:57 p.m. (10) VCU vs. (7) Oregon TNT

Second round

Sunday, March 21 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Monday, March 22 — Noon start (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium

Sweet 16

Saturday, March 27 — 2 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Sunday, March 28 — 1 p.m. start (CBS, TBS)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Elite Eight

Monday, March 29 — 7 p.m. start (CBS)
Tuesday, March 30 — 6 p.m. start (TBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

Final Four

Saturday, April 3 — 5 p.m. start (CBS)
Lucas Oil Stadium

National Championship

Monday, April 5 — 9 p.m. (CBS)
Lucas OIl Stadium

Get every pick, every play, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket, and see who cuts down the nets, all from the model that nailed 15 of the 26 double-digit upsets the last four tournaments!





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First games tip off for ACC men’s tournament in Greensboro


College basketball returns to Tournament Town, one year after an abrupt cancelation – caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — College basketball returns to Tournament Town, one year after an abrupt cancelation, with the ACC tournament tipping off in Greensboro.

Fans at home are happy to watch their teams play on TV. Fans in the stands are overjoyed to be there live. At the Greensboro Coliseum, there’s a different vibe now than there was this time last year. 

In March 2020, the second round of the ACC Tournament underway was underway. Then, it was announced that the UNC would be the very last to have fans in the stands. Within a day, no fans turned into no more games – the tournament, canceled.

“You realized that this thing had taken an extra step. It’s canceling basketball. It’s almost stopping everything,” said Chris Williams, a fan who attended last year.

One year later, with a better understanding of the pandemic, and vaccines rolling out daily, the men’s tournament is back along with the devoted fans, like Bill and Becky Faircloth, supporting Wake Forest University.

“If anybody can pull it off – Greensboro can. This is where it belongs and this is where we’ve got to have it,” he said. 

Even with limited attendance, Williams and Ronnie Robertson couldn’t miss it. Every year since 2007, they’ve attended the ACC tournament. This year, they say it’s bittersweet, after losing a close friend, who used to travel with them on this very trip.

“We ended up losing our friend in May,” Robertson said. 

“Just to be back and have basketball, back to some type of normalcy, we sit and think, had we not lost him, he would be here with us. Not only that but, he would want us to be here because they are having it,” Williams said.





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Big schools set to tip district tournaments with girls games


District tournament action for the bigger class teams will get underway in full swing tonight.

Tonight’s games will feature girls action.

In the Class 6 District 9 Tournament, the Capital City Lady Cavaliers (3-22) will host the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers (1-17) in a 6 p.m. contest. The second-seeded Lady Cavaliers defeated the third-seeded Lady Tigers 57-43 in a Central Missouri Activities Conference contest last week in Sedalia.

Tonight’s winner advances to the district title game Thursday against top-seeded Jefferson City (19-2) at Fleming Fieldhouse. The title game in the three-team district is slated for a 7 p.m. start.

The District 9 champion will face the District 10 winner in the sectionals. Springfield Central is the No. 1 seed in District 10.

The Class 5 District 9 Tournament will play a pair of semifinal games tonight.

The third-seeded Helias Lady Crusaders (16-5) will travel to West Plains to take on the second-seeded Lady Zizzers (23-3). Game time is 5:30 p.m. at West Plains High School.

The other district game will see the top-seeded Rolla Lady Bulldogs (17-7) host the fourth-seeded Marshfield Lady Jays (19-5) at 6 p.m. Marshfield advanced with a 70-66 win Saturday against fifth-seeded Camdenton.

The top three seeds are all in the Class 5 rankings by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. West Plains is ranked No. 2, while Helias is No. 5 and Rolla is No. 9.

Tonight’s semifinal winners will play Thursday night for the title. That game will start at 5:30 p.m. at the West Plains Civic Center.

The District 9 winner will take on the District 10 winner in the sectionals. Willard, ranked No. 3, is the No. 1 seed in District 10.

The Blair Oaks Lady Falcons are one of four teams starting play tonight in the six-team Class 4 District 9 Tournament.

Blair Oaks (13-10), the No 3 seed, will host sixth-seeded Cuba (3-16) at 6 p.m. The winner advances to Wednesday night’s semifinal at second-seeded St. James (19-5). Fourth-seeded Owensville (12-8) will host fifth-seeded Salem (14-9) in the other semifinal, with the winner slated to take on top-seeded and 10th-ranked Fatima (18-7) on Wednesday night in Westphalia.

The district title game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Owensville.

The District 9 winner will face the District 10 champion in the sectionals.

School of the Osage (10-12) is the No. 1 seed in District 10 and will host the winner of tonight’s game between fourth-seeded Warsaw (6-10) and fifth-seeded Versailles (4-20) in the semifinals Wednesday. The other semifinal will pit second-seeded Eldon (7-15) against third-seeded Buffalo (9-14) tonight.

The District 10 title game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Osage.



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