From 68 to 16: March Madness 2017 First Weekend Primer

10 of 17

Midwest Region

Pod #1 – Tulsa, Oklahoma

Colors Location Record RPI
#1 Kansas Jayhakws Crimson, Blue Lawrence, KS 28-4 3
#8 Miami Hurricans Green, Orange Coral Gables, FL 21-11 42
#9 Michigan State Spartans Green, White East Lansing, MI 19-14 51
#16 NC Central Eagles Maroon, gray Durham, NC 25-8 202
#16 UC Davis Aggies Yale Blue, Gold Davis, CA 22-12 166

#16 NC Central vs. #16 UC Davis — Dayton, Ohio — Wednesday, 6:40 p.m., truTV

Line: NC Central (-3)

FiveThirtyEight: NC Central (63%)

Patrick Cole scores 19.5 for the Eagles while Chima Moneke averages nearly a double-double (14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds) for the Aggies. Neither team shoots that well but NC Central averages a slight edge over UC Davis on the boards. The winner of this game will lose to Kansas.


#1 Kansas vs. #16 Winner Of First Four Game — Friday, 6:50 p.m., TNT

Line: None

FiveThirtyEight: Kansas (98%)

If perpetual Big 12 champion Kansas is going to crash out of the NCAA Tournament again, it won’t be on Friday. Frank Mason averages over 20 points and the Jayhawks are a good rebounding team.

#8 Miami vs. #9 Michigan State — Friday, 9:20 p.m., TNT

Line: Miami (-2)

FiveThirtyEight: Miami (55%)

Miami is a strong defensive team that gives up only 63.7 points per game. Michigan State’s freshmen are talented, but they turn the ball over a lot. Tom Izzo is one of the best tournament coaches, but if Miles Bridges and company don’t come to play, the Spartans could lose in the first round for the second straight year.

Second Round Outlook

Kansas should get to the second weekend out of this pod, they definitely have the most talent, but Michigan State is still a wildcard. If the Spartans’ freshmen step up and play at the level they’re capable of playing, they could pull off the upset and Kansas could go home before the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.