An epic rematch, All-American battles, and potential upsets are all on the docket for Sunday’s slate of NCAA Tournament games.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Friday gave us an epic slate of college basketball games, led by Purdue’s loss to 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.
But even without that game the results on Friday featured a last second comeback by TCU over Arizona State, a wild finish between Florida Atlantic and Memphis, an shocking comeback by Miami over Drake, and two near losses by three seeds in Xavier (to Kennesaw State) and Baylor (to UC-Santa Barbara).
All that sets up some extremely fun action on Sunday to close out the Round of 32 and finalize which teams will make the Sweet 16.
Below are the three biggest matchups slated for Sunday, with a look at the stakes and storylines for each game. For more on these games, check out the Locked on College Basketball podcast!
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11) Pittsburgh vs. 3) Xavier (12:10 PM ET on CBS)
The Sean Miller game. Miller played at Pitt from 1987-1992, averaging 10 points and 5.8 assists per game. Now he’ll coach against his old team, who absolutely smacked Iowa State on Friday – holding the Cyclones to 41 points on 23.3% shooting on the day.
Meanwhile, Xavier went into halftime down seven against Kennesaw State and looked like they were going to suffer an early exit before Jerome Hunter put the team on his back, dropping 24 points and leading the Musketeers to victory.
Can Pitt keep up the momentum and move into the Sweet 16? Or will Miller keep it going even without star big man Zach Freemantle?
6) Creighton vs. 3) Baylor (7:10 PM ET on TBS)
Like Xavier, Baylor struggled in the first half against a 14-seed before pulling away and advancing. They’ll take on a Creighton team that put away NC State thanks to a 31 point performance from big man Ryan Kalkbrenner.
Kalkbrenner is a really tough matchup for the Bears, who are led by the three-headed guard monster of Adam Flager, LJ Cryer, and Keyonte George but who lack an interior post presence on both ends of the floor.
Can Caleb Lohner step up and contribute for the Bears? And will Creighton’s guards – namely Ryan Nembhard and Baylor Scheierman – be able to slow down Baylor’s backcourt? This has the potential to be an instant classic.
5) Miami vs. 4) Indiana (8:40 PM ET on TNT)
Miami looked dead in the water against Drake, with only a 10% chance of winning at the five minute mark. However, the Canes went on a 16-1 run to close the game and advance behind a great performance from Norchad Omier – who returned from an ankle injury to score 12 points and grab 14 rebounds.
He’ll match up against All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis and the Hoosiers on Sunday, in a game with a lot of high level talent.
Miami’s backcourt trio of Isaiah Wong, Nijel Pack, and Jordan Miller will have to carry the Canes against TJD and star freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino for Indiana. This game could go either way, but one thing is for sure: it will feature plenty of elite playmaking and highlights.
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