Saturday’s Matchups to Watch in the NCAA Tournament
The Round of 16 kicks off for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, as the women kick off their second day of first-round action. Follow the table and live scores, and check out our picks for the Saturday games we don’t want to miss (all times Eastern):
No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Furman
12:10 p.m., CBS
Furman earned his first NCAA tournament win since 1974 on Thursday with a 68-67 upset over fourth-seeded Virginia. The Paladins clinched the win with a steal on a bad pass that gave JP Pegues a chance to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left. San Diego State survived a bid thwarted by No. 12 Charleston on Thursday, 63-57. Matt Bradley led the Aztecs with 17 points.
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Duke
2:40 p.m., CBS
Tennessee committed 18 turnovers in its Thursday game, but the Volunteers still earned a narrow victory over No. 13 seed Louisiana. Duke easily eliminated Oral Roberts, 74-51, avoiding the dreaded curse of the No. 5 seeds. For Tennessee to advance to the Round of 16, they will need more offense from goaltender Santiago Vescovi, who averaged 12.6 points per game over the course of the season but only scored 3 against Louisiana.
No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 15 Princeton
6:10 p.m., DTT
Princeton on Thursday became the 11th No. 15 seed to eliminate a No. 2-ranked team, and the first since all the way back in … 2022, when St. Peter’s knocked out Kentucky. The Tigers shot just 4 for 25 from 3-point range and only attempted five free throws, but they scored the game’s final 9 points to surprise Arizona. In the round of 16, they will face the Missouri Tigers, who easily eliminated the No. 10 from Utah State. Missouri displayed a stifling defense and won the turnover margin.
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 7 Northwestern
8:40 p.m., DTT
Northwestern won the second tournament game in program history Thursday, 75-67, against Boise State. Boo Buie had 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the Wildcats. UCLA beat UNC-Asheville, 86-53, in the first round. The Bruins had injury concerns before the game: guard Jaylen Clark is out for the tournament with an Achilles tendon injury and big man Adem Bona is still nursing a shoulder injury. Bona was available for the game but did not play.
Washington State No. 5 vs. Florida Gulf Coast No. 12
2:30 p.m., ESPNU
After winning the Pac-12 Conference tournament title, Washington State clinched a No. 5 seed — the highest seed in program history. The Cougars have played in just three NCAA tournaments before, although this is their third straight appearance under coach Kamie Ethridge. Junior guard Charlisse Leger-Walker paces Washington State with 18.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Florida’s Gulf Coast is coming off a 14-game winning streak, including an Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title. The Eagles are led by 5-foot-3 guard Tishara Morehouse, who is averaging 15.9 points per game.
No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 10 Alabama
5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Baylor had a straight season ending: Starting Jan. 28, the Bears won three, lost four, won three more, then lost two. But Baylor is playing in its 19th consecutive NCAA tournament, having won it all in 2005, 2012 and 2019. Alabama went 19-10 this season and finished fifth in the SEC, although the Crimson Tide lost all four last matches. This game could be boiled down to the performances of the two all-conference first-team guards on the field: Baylor’s Sarah Andrews and Alabama’s Brittany Davis.
No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 11 Tennessee Middle
7 p.m., ESPN News
Colorado (23-8) finished third in the Pac-12 and heads to its second straight NCAA tournament after missing since 2013. Middle Tennessee finished the season on a 10-game winning streak, including all three Conference USA tournament games . MTSU was ranked No. 25 in the latest Associated Press poll, but only received a No. 11 seed in the tournament, so they were a popular choice to upset: 32% of public brackets on ESPN picked the Lady Raiders and The Athletic gave them a 45.4% chance of winning the game.
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 East Carolina
10 p.m., ESPN
Texas started the season ranked third in the Associated Press poll, but the Longhorns lost three of their first five games while star point guard Rori Harmon suffered a foot injury. Texas bounced back to tie with Oklahoma for the Big 12 regular season title. series. The Pirates earned their spot by winning the American Athletic Conference tournament.