Thursday marks the first full day of the NCAA Tournament. Here are breakdowns, predictions and TV information for the 16 games. Times are Central; odds from bovada.lv.
No. 7 Rhode Island vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
11:15 a.m., CBS
What to watch: Since the selection show, the Sooners have heard how they don’t belong in the field after a long slump. But if Trae Young, who leads the nation in scoring (27.4) and assists (8.8), gets hot, Oklahoma can beat anyone. The Rams also suffered a late-season slide. They lean on guard Jared Terrell, a four-year starter who averages 17.2 this season.
Favorite: Rhode Island by 2
Prediction: Oklahoma 84-80
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Iona
1:45 p.m., CBS
What to watch: Marvin Bagley III lived up to the hype and was named ACC player of the year as a freshman, but Duke’s success depends on the freshman backcourt of Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr. Five Gaels average in double figures, but no one is hotter than one who doesn’t: guard Zach Lewis, MVP of the MAAC Tournament (9.2 ppg).
Favorite: Duke by 20.5
Prediction: Duke 90-70
At Wichita, Kan.
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Penn
1 p.m., TBS
What to watch: The Jayhawks love shooting the three, averaging 10 makes per game and hitting 40.3 percent. Penn ranks second nationally in three-point percentage defense (29.2). Kansas’ advantage would seem to be inside, but big man Ukoka Azubuike may not play as he recovers from a knee injury.
Favorite: Kansas by 14
Prediction: Kansas 73-61
No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 North Carolina State
3:30 p.m., TBS
What to watch: Seton Hall scoring leader Desi Rodriguez (17.8) continues to work his way back from an ankle injury. Center Angel Delgado (13.3 ppg, 11.6) averages a double-double. First-year Coach Kevin Keatts has the Wolfpack ahead of schedule and uses a four-guard lineup.
Favorite: Seton Hall by 2.5
Prediction: Seton Hall 78-73
At Boise, Idaho
No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 13 UNC Greensboro
12:30 p.m., TNT
What to watch: A handful of players from last year’s national runner-up team return for Gonzaga, led by forward Johnathan Williams (13.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg). UNC Greensboro makes its NCAA Tournament debut and the Spartans get it done on defense, ranking sixth nationally in fewest points allowed (62.4).
Favorite: Gonzaga by 12.5
Prediction: Gonzaga 69-60
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 South Dakota State
3 p.m., TNT
What to watch: The Buckeyes reloaded under first-year coach Chris Holtmann and got a terrific season from forward Keita Bates-Diop (19.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg). Mike Daum (23.8) is a two-time Summit League player of the year for the Jackrabbits.
Favorite: Ohio State by 7.5
Prediction: South Dakota State 71-70
At Wichita, Kan.
No. 6 Houston vs. No. 11 San Diego State
6:20 p.m., TBS
Favorite: Houston by 4
Prediction: The Cougars are making their first NCAA appearance since 2010, but coach Kelvin Sampson is no stranger to the dance. Houston becomes the fourth program he’s coached in the Tournament. The Aztecs ripped through the Mountain West tournament and ride a nine-game winning streak.
Favorite: Houston by 4
Prediction: Houston 76-73
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 Montana
8:50 p.m., TBS
What to watch: The Wolverines beat Michigan State and Purdue to win the Big Ten Tournament and have won nine straight overall. Forward Mo Wagner (14.5 ppg) is a matchup problem with his ability to score from all over the floor. Defense has carried the Grizzlies, who average 16 forced turnovers per game.
Favorite: Michigan by 11.5
Prediction: Michigan 70-55
No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 16 Radford
5:50 p.m., TNT
What to watch: The Wildcats are a great shooting team: 50.4 from the field and 77.1 percent from the line. Radford dramatically won the Big South on Carlik Jones’ buzzer-beating three-pointer and captured its first NCAA game over LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Favorite: Villanova by 23.5
Prediction: Villanova 92-68
No. 8 Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Alabama
8:20 p.m., TNT
What to watch: Dynamic freshman guard Collin Sexton (19 ppg) improved throughout the year for Alabama. The Hokies were the only ACC team to defeat Virginia, and Tech also knocked off Duke and North Carolina.
Favorite: Alabama by 2
Prediction: Virginia Tech 68-66
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin
6:27 p.m., truTV
What to watch: Lumberjacks head coach Kyle Keller was an Oklahoma State assistant under current Tech aide Sean Sutton, so the teams should know each other. Stephen F. Austin leads the nation in forced turnovers, at 20 per game. Red Raiders guard Keenan Evans has looked much better since recovering from a toe injury.
Favorite: Texas Tech by 11
Prediction: Texas Tech 72-62
No. 6 Florida vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure
8:57 p.m., truTV
What to watch: The Bonnies defeated UCLA on Tuesday for their first NCAA victory since the Bob Lanier-team of 1970. Guard-oriented Florida gets 15.3 points per game from Jalen Hudson and has one of the game’s top playmakers in Chris Chiozza (6.1 apg).
Favorite: Florida by 5.5
Prediction: St. Bonaventure 69-66
No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Wright State
11:40 a.m., truTV
What to watch: Terrific year for the Vols, picked to finish 13th in the SEC. Defense is the calling card for both teams. Tennessee’s opponents average 66.4 points per game. Wright State surrenders 66.0.
Favorite: Tennessee by 12.5
Prediction: Tennessee 70-63
No. 6 Miami vs. No. 11 Loyola, Ill.
2:10 p.m., truTV
What to watch: Miami guard Bruce Brown, dealing with a stress fracture in his foot, will be in uniform but won’t play in the opener, said coach Jim Larranaga. Loyola, in its first NCAA appearance since 1985, is wonderfully balanced, ranks third nationally in field goal percentage and is fifth in scoring defense.
Favorite: Miami by 2
Prediction: Loyola 64-63
At Boise, Idaho
No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Davidson
6:10 p.m., CBS
What to watch: A battle of Wildcats. Kentucky’s all-freshman lineup has played great down the stretch, winning the SEC tournament. Davidson won the Atlantic-10 tournament and gets 21.8 points per game from forward Peyton Aldridge. Davidson is the nation’s third-best free throw-shooting team, at 77.9 percent.
Favorite: Kentucky by 5.5
Prediction: Kentucky 74-68
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 Buffalo
8:40 p.m., CBS
What to watch: The Wildcats proved they’re not easily districted. Dealing with one off-court controversy after another, Arizona took refuge on the floor and won the Pac-12 regular-season title and tournament championship behind sensational big man Deandre Ayton (19.9 ppg, 11.3 rpg). Mid-American tourney champ Buffalo averages 84.8 points per game.
Favorite: Arizona by 9
Prediction: Arizona 85-75