Another day, another set of play-in games.
Say, while I have you: Have you joined OTE’s NCAA Tournament Pick’em Challenge? Men’s and women’s brackets available!
NCAA Men’s Tournament First Four
UD Arena (Dayton, OH)
 Bryant Bulldogs vs.  Wright State Raiders
5:40pm | truTV | WRSt -2.5 | O/U 155
MNW: Honestly, forget Notre Dame-Butt, THIS one should be fun. These two teams play fast, are decently-efficient on offense, and don’t play a goddamn lick of defense. Unless there’s the “neutral arena baskets” issue or something, let’s get us some damn points on the board.
 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs.  Rutgers Scarlet Knights
8:10pm | truTV | ND -1 | O/U 134.5
I thought it would be hard to find a game to be potentially uglier than whatever the hell Indiana-Wyoming turned out to be, but here we are.
RU in VA: As like last year, Rutgers is getting the Andy Katz and major reporter love to get to the round of 32. ND is undersized and underclassed, Alabama doesn’t have enough offense, blah blah blah.
Those reporters have the convenience of being able to easily forget Rutgers being fleeced by Seton Hall and PSU early in the season, and three straight losses to DePaul, Lafayette, and Umass. This team can lose, and they can lose SPECTACULARLY.
They also can win spectacularly. I’m just glad the Knights made it. I hope they can push ND’s turds in and make it to a game at a time real people can enjoy against Alabama (WTF 9:10 start time east coast.)
The measuring stick really is how these young men want to go out. Ron and Geo are gone—McConnell is a question mark. We’ve seen during the year that this team can get hot and win in a row either away or home, against extremely high level competition. If that happens again for four more games, you’ve got a Rutgers sweet sixteen to worry about.
This is a game you have to pick. Legally. Otherwise you owe me money.
This poll is closed
NCAA Women’s Tournament First Four
 Incarnate Word Cardinals vs.  Howard Bison
6pm | ESPNU | Columbia, SC | Howard -6.5 | O/U 121
 DePaul Blue Demons vs.  Dayton Flyers
8pm | ESPNU | Ames, IA | DePaul -3 | O/U 153.5
We’ve got your full preview of the NCAA Women’s Tournament here:
I hope that I have credibility as someone who likes to watch bad basketball at weird times in strange arenas and on odd channels.
If me attending a Drake-Rider game in Des Moines wasn’t enough, I’ll remind you that a buddy and I love Bill Carmody so much, we went to Boston University’s Case Gym to see Carmody’s Holy Cross in action against the Terriers. That was right ahead of the Crusaders’ fabled run to the NCAA Tournament, a run for which I still take full credit.
That’s why I humbly submit to you, reader, that if you’re not at least taking a moment out of your day (or on commercial breaks or whatever) to watch the various “alternative” college basketball postseason offerings, you’re really missing out.
NIT: 1st Round
Little in the way of true excitement for most of last night—Texas State and North Texas, in the first round of the Oklahoma Region, did manage to go to overtime...but the score there ended up a pitiful 67-63, Mean Green. Of course, then there was Buzz Williams filling his drawers and showing what an own-research-doing loon the Sweaty Potato really is:
THREAD: After tonight’s win over Alcorn State in the NIT, @TeamCoachBuzz distributed a nine-page document to the media of his own research and data regarding the NCAA Tournament selection process. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/SNYvtJwJHv— TexAgs (@TexAgs) March 16, 2022
A&M is likely one of the real snubs of the tourney, and it’s probably Rutgers or Notre Dame they should’ve been in over. But now I hope they lose on their home court to Oregon.
The NIT heated up later in the evening, as St. Bonaventure caught fire in the second half and bounced Colorado on their home court. But that was about it—Oregon used a 50-point second half to win at Utah State, Wazzu pulled away from Santa Clara in a game almost as hideous as the Cougs’ home court, VCU choked Princeton out, and Vanderbilt pulled away from Belmont in the Battle for Nashville. Whatever.
Tonight, though, we give it another shot:
 Towson Tigers at  Wake Forest Demon Deacons
6pm | ESPN+ | A&M Regional | Wake -8 | O/U 146
 Dayton Flyers at  Toledo Rockets
6pm | ESPN+ | Dayton Regional | Toledo -1.5 | O/U 142
In one of the sad ironies of the postseason, because the Flyers got snubbed for a First Four berth on their home court, they got stuck with a road game in the first round of the NIT despite being the first seed in their region.
 Virginia Cavaliers at  Mississippi State Bulldogs
6pm | ESPN2 | Oklahoma Regional | UVA -3 | O/U 121.5
You couldn’t pay me to watch this game.
 Nicholls Colonels at  SMU Mustangs
7pm | ESPN+ | SMU Regional | SMU -15 | O/U 150.5
 Northern Iowa Panthers at  Saint Louis Billikens
7pm | ESPN+ | SMU Regional | SLU -3.5 | O/U 146
Now HERE’S another game. The Billikens were a dark horse to make the Dance but didn’t, and as a reward they get a REALLY wild card Missouri Valley team in the Panthers, who toppled Loyola with 102 points in February, then managed just 43 against the Ramblers in a MVC Tournament loss.
SLU, on the other hand, had a season defined by “just short”—losing by 5 points or fewer to UAB, Belmont, Auburn, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, and Dayton—but has an offense led by freshman gunner and name enigma Gibson Jimerson, who’s liable to bomb away from anywhere. Really hoping this one turns into a shootout at the Chaifetz Arena.
 “The Beach” of Long Beach State at  BYU Cougars
8pm | ESPN+ | SMU Regional | BYU -11.5 | O/U 151.5
I’ve always said we should all watch more Dan Monson games together, right?
 Iona Gaels at  Florida Gators
8pm | ESPN2 | Dayton Regional | UF -7.5 | O/U 142.5
Rick Pitino in the NIT, what more do you need?
Remember the CIT? That’s what this is. I don’t know why.
Instead of a true bracket, after each round the matchups are reset, so there are just
32 31 teams, with some of the first-round games named for famous Black basketball players like Travis Grant, Willis Reed, and Cleo Hill. Lot of under-.500 teams in this one.
All games ESPN+, all times CT.
- Detroit Mercy Titans at Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (6pm)
- Morgan State Bears at Youngstown State Penguins (6pm)
- Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6pm)
- Southeast Louisiana Lions at South Alabama Jaguars (7pm)
- Kent State Golden Flashes at Southern Utah Thunderbirds (8pm)
Here’s your open thread for the day’s basketball. Enjoy!