There are games of conference or local interest in every time slot today:
(8) Michigan v. (9) Tennessee, 12:30 p.m., CBS: The Wolverines looked to be in big trouble in the middle of the Big Ten season, but they played well down the stretch and find themselves with a great opportunity to get a win against a flailing program and its soon-to-be-fired coach.
(2) Notre Dame v. (15) Akron, 1:30 p.m., TNT: Notre Dame probably won't be tested in its NCAA opener, but stranger things have happened. Akron was a nice surprise in the MAC this year, but the Zips will have their hands full with the impressive Irish offense in front of a pro-ND crowd in Chicago.
(1) Ohio State v. (16) Texas-San Antonio, 4:30 p.m., CBS: The Buckeyes shouldn't have much trouble with UTSA.
(3) Purdue v. (14) St. Peter’s, 7:15 p.m., Tru: It was a rough day for those with Purdue ties on Thursday. Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt lost to Richmond, and St. John's, with assistant Gene Keady, lost to Gonzaga. So far Matt Painter has avoided the NCAA underachieving that was his mentor's trademark. Even with Kelsey Barlow dismissed for unspecified violations and with John Hart questionable because of a foot injury, Purdue's two All-Americans should be enough to overpower St. Peter's. Whether Purdue's thinning bench will be a factor beyond the first round is the real question.
(8) UNLV v. (9) Illinois, 9:15 p.m., TBS: Bruce Weber and Illinois face Lon Kruger and the UNLV Rebels. Kruger, of course, was the Illinois coach from 1996-2000 before he left for the NBA. Illinois has underachieved all year, but if they can pull it together, the Illini could present a problem for UNLV, and for Kansas in round two.
(3) Syracuse v. (14) Indiana State, 9:55, Tru: The Sycamores have a tough task ahead of them, but ISU won as a 13 seed in 2001, beating #4 Oklahoma, so perhaps they can do it again.