WFMY News 2 will tip off the NCAA mens' basketball madness starting at 12:15 with Duke and Mercer in Raleigh. Brian Formica is in Raleigh for that game and will break it all down at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm.
Follow @WFMY for live tweets during the games.
Day 1 March Madness Recap and the question everyone is asking....
It's a question we ask every tournament.
Which top seed goes down first?
2014 TOURNAMENT: Bracket Hub
SCHEDULE: All of Friday's action
"So it really doesn't matter once the ball goes up," Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "Anything can happen. Anybody can beat anybody, so we've got to be on our toes."
The Gators, of course, were on their toes in a 67-55 victory against Albany. Considering the fact that no No. 1 seed has ever lost to a No. 16 seed, it was practically a formality. Florida was the only No. 1 seed in action Thursda. Cal Poly coach Joe Callero said his team, which comes into today's game with a losing record, has to "compete at the highest level we've ever dreamed of" in order to "shock the world vs. Wichita State. That'll be the case for Weber State against Arizona and Coastal Carolina as well.
But after another day of No. 16 seeds coming up short, then the real conversation begins. Florida, the favorite to win it all, will face a tough test against Pittsburgh on Saturday. The mid-major Shockers might be the favorite to lose first based on their treacherous path to the Final Four, which includes a potential clash with Kentucky and a Sweet 16 showdown with Louisville. Yet Arizona was projected as the first No. 1 seed to lose in Prediction Machine's simulated forecast.
That leaves Virginia, which got the final No. 1 seed by the selection committee. Assuming the Cavaliers win Saturday, that leaves a third-round clash vs. either George Washington or Memphis and a likely Sweet 16 battle with Michigan State. The NCAA tournament is all about matchups, and that was on full display in Thursday's games. So back to Wilbekin's point. Anything can happen. And it will happen. This is certainly not the year when four No. 1 seeds are in the Final Four. Here's a look at potential matchups that could be the death of our four top seeds:
BREAKDOWN: Previewing Friday's game slate
- Florida: If Kansas is at full strength, stopping Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid along with a stellar supporting cast will be tough, even as experienced and deep as the Gators are. Florida has a bunch of good players but no great players. That can be exploited in the tournament. Kentucky already started to do so in the SEC tournament final.
- Virginia: If Michigan State beats Harvard (the Spartans should), Tom Izzo has the brains to work around UVa's tempo-controlling offensive set and Gary Harris and Adreian Payne could anchor the offense against a tenacious man-to-man defense.
- Arizona: Wisconsin looked superb in Thursday's blowout of American. Bo Ryan's team, if clicking offensively, has a defense that could take the Wildcats out of their flow, something that happened against UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament title game.
- Wichita State: Last year's Final Four clash against Louisville was a dogfight and that's exactly what it would be this year if the two teams meet in the Sweet 16. The Cardinals aren't nearly as strong defensively as last year's national title team, but their offense is much better. And Russ Smith plays smarter. Those are keys to beating a tough and gritty WSU squad.
CINDERELLA: North Dakota State put on the glass slipper with its upset of No. 5 seed Oklahoma, dispatching the Sooners 80-75 in overtime thanks in large part to this insanely clutch three-pointer courtesy of Lawrence Alexander.
MARCH SADNESS: As per usual, upsets are making the NCAA tournament what we know and love. But there's a flip side, which college hoops beat reporter Nicole Auerbach explores — highlighting the agony that comes with suffering an upset loss as a top-tier program and how in 40 minutes a season can come crashing down.
THE NEAR UPSETS: No. 4 seed and Final Four favorite Louisville narrowly escaped an upset bid in a 71-64 decision against Manhattan, a team that runs a strikingly similar system to the Cardinals. Fellow No. 13 seed New Mexico State forced overtime against No. 4 San Diego State, but the Aztecs held on for a 73-69 victory.
THE EXPECTED UPSET: No. 12 seed Harvard pulled off its second consecutive NCAA tournament upset in a 61-57 victory against No. 5 seed Cincinnati. But this was hardly stunning. Last year when the Crimson defeated No. 3 seed New Mexico, there was a shock factor. None of that this year. Tommy Amaker's group has depth and experience.
12 SEEDS ARE THE BEST: For The Win's Mike Foss doesn't believe in upsets and explains why No. 12 seeds are the common denominator in higher seeds prevailing. Thomas O'Toole notes that three No. 12 seeds won last year and it could happen again this year with a Stephen F. Austin-over-VCU upset. North Carolina State, a play-win advancing No. 12 seed, collapsed to let Saint Louis back into a game the Wolfpack should have won.
AT THE BUZZER: Cameron Ridley's buzzer-beating lay-up helped Texas avoid overtime and survive Arizona State 87-85 in their second round 7-10 matchup.
WORDS OF THE DAY: "It's amazing the way that, you know, defense has kind of been my thing, and it's amazing how it's going to end with a kid getting the game winner on me." — Ohio State senior point guard Aaron Craft, who ended his career with the Buckeyes in heartbreaking fashion in an upset loss to Dayton.
STAR SPOTLIGHT: Adreian Payne exploded for 41 points in Michigan State's second-round rout of Delaware. He also went 17-for-17 from the free-throw line, which turned out to be an NCAA tournament record. The Spartans were riddled with injuries for much of the season but are now healthy and hitting their stride at just the right time.
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL: Ladies and gentlemen, Jerami Grant has a message for you. Syracuse isn't overrated. The Orange crushed Western Michigan to advance to the Round of 32 and this emphatic dunk by Grant was one of many highlights.
TWEET THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES: Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli has an adorable grandson, who scored a fantastic in-game interview on Thursday. The Hawks weren't able to come out victorious, though, as UConn made the most of a return to the NCAAs — falling 89-81 to UConn in overtime.
NUMBER OF THE DAY: 40. That's Wisconsin's winning margin against American University. The Badgers are a sleeper Final Four pick and showed their offense can be just as strong as their defense.
ON DECK: A look at Friday's busy game slate.
12:15 p.m. | No. 14 Mercer vs. No. 3 Duke (CBS)
12:40 p.m. | No. 11 Nebraska vs. No. 6 Baylor (truTV)
1:40 p.m. | No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 7 New Mexico (TBS)
2:10 p.m. | No. 16 Weber State vs. No. 1 Arizona (TNT)
2:45 p.m. | No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 6 UMass (CBS)
3:10 p.m. | No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette vs. No. 3 Creighton (truTV)
4:10 p.m. | No. 15 Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 2 Kansas (TBS)
4:40 p.m. | No. 9 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Gonzaga (TNT)
6:55 p.m. | George Washington vs. Memphis (TBS)
7:10 p.m. | Cal Poly vs. Wichita State (CBS)
7:20 p.m. | No. 11 Providence vs. No. 6 North Carolina (TNT)
7:27 p.m. | No. 12 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth (truTV)
9:25 p.m. | No. 16 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 1 Virginia (TBS)
9:40 p.m. | No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 8 Kentucky (CBS)
9:50 p.m. | No. 14 North Carolina Central vs. No. 3 Iowa (TNT)
9:57 p.m. | No. 13 Tulsa vs. No. 4 UCLA (truTV)