In what shapes up to be a very entertaining afternoon and evening of college basketball Sunday, there are eight games on the NCAA men's tournament schedule in venues across the country.
Let's start in the East region at Charlotte, N.C., where second seed Virginia takes on No. 7 seed Michigan State. The Cavaliers finished on top of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) at the end of the regular season, but were knocked off by North Carolina in the ACC tournament semifinals. They have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by junior guard Malcolm Brogdon's 14 points per game.
The Michigan State Spartans epitomize both their head coach Tom Izzo – a demanding tactician who has one NCAA title in 20 years at East Lansing – and the Big Ten Conference, a tough, competitive league year in and year out. Michigan State finished in a tie for third in the Big Ten regular season and lost in overtime to regular season champ Wisconsin in the conference tournament championship. Spartan guards Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine both average 14 points per game scoring for Michigan State.
You can see Virginia vs. Michigan State at 12:10 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
Next up in Charlotte, it's the South region's top seed, Duke, meeting eighth seed San Diego State. The Aztecs, from the Mountain West Conference, outlasted a game St. John's team late Friday night to advance. Head coach Steve Fisher has been down this road before, leading the University of Michigan to the 1989 national championship. Fisher has helped to rebuild the San Diego State program to the point where this is their sixth consecutive and eighth overall trip to the NCAA tournament. They are led in scoring by junior forward Winston Shepard's 11 points per game average.
Most college basketball fans know all about the Duke Blue Devils: Mike Krzyzewski, in his 35th season as head coach, has reloaded his roster with new talent and has returned to the "Big Dance" for the 31st time. Duke finished one game behind Virginia in the ACC regular season race and fell to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament semifinals last weekend. The Blue Devils have four players who average double figures in scoring, led by freshman Jahlil Okafor's 17 points per game.
Duke vs. San Diego State will be televised on CBS, beginning approximately at 2:40 p.m. Eastern.
Shifting the scene to Omaha, Neb., our next contest is a battle for the state of Kansas. Midwest region No. 2 seed University of Kansas will play seventh seed Wichita State. Though these two schools both reside in the Sunflower State, they have not played one another in basketball since 1993, according to the Lawrence (Kans.) Journal-World.
The two schools did meet once before in the NCAA tournament. The Wichita State Shockers beat the Kansas Jayhawks in the 1981 Midwest region semifinal at the Superdome in New Orleans.
This year, like most NCAA tournament games, it will come down to guard play. The Shockers boast a consistent backcourt pair in Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, who combine to average over 28 points per contest.
Sophomores Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. keep things humming for KU. They average 22 points per game combined. Mason III led the Jayhawks with 17 points in their second-round victory over New Mexico State Friday afternoon.
Kansas vs. Wichita State will be televised on CBS, beginning at 5:15 p.m. Eastern.
Sunday evening brings five intriguing contests, starting in the East region with No. 3 seed Oklahoma against No. 11 seed Dayton. This game will be played in Columbus, Ohio, practically a home game for the Dayton Flyers. This, after Dayton already had to win a "First Four" play-in game Wednesday night on their campus home floor.
Dayton pulled off the only upset on the tournament's second day, knocking off sixth seeded Providence late Friday night. Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Earlier Friday evening, Oklahoma ended Albany's tournament run with a nine-point win. Sooner forward TaShawn Thomas scored 18 points to lead the way. Guard Buddy Hield added 15.
Dayton vs. Oklahoma will be televised on TNT, beginning at 6:10 p.m. Eastern.
Moving back to the South region, second seed Gonzaga will face No. 7 seed Iowa in Seattle. In another late night Friday encounter, the Gonzaga Bulldogs took care of North Dakota State to reach the third round.
Gonzaga, under head coach Mark Few, has become another mid-major power, a basketball team from a small, private school that has developed a national reputation for playing a difficult schedule and succeeding in reaching the NCAA tournament on an annual basis.
The 'Zags, as Gonzaga is also known, have a quartet of players who average double figures in scoring, led by junior forward Kyle Wiltjer's 16 points per game.
Quietly, Iowa has put together a solid season, finishing in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten Conference and a 22-11 record. Senior forward Aaron White leads the Hawkeyes in scoring, averaging 16 points per game.
Gonzaga and Iowa will play at 7:10 p.m. Eastern. The game will be televised on TBS.
Big Ten champion and West region No. 1 seed Wisconsin is back in action against eighth seed Oregon. These two schools met in last year's tournament, according to NCAA.com, a game the Badgers won going away. Wisconsin is trying to advance to the "Sweet 16" for the fourth time in the last five years. Senior All-American forward Frank Kaminsky is leading the way, averaging 18 points per game.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon from Omaha, Neb., will be televised on truTV, beginning at approximately 7:45 p.m. Eastern.
Both schools have rich basketball traditions. According to the Maryland sports information office, they have played a total of 37 games, with West Virginia having a 23-14 advantage. The last time the schools met on the court was December 7, 2003, when the Mountaineers prevailed in overtime. They also met in the 1984 NCAA tournament, where the Terrapins earned the victory.
Maryland finished second in the Big Ten Conference this year. In their last five games, senior guard/forward Dez Wells and freshman guard Melo Trimble have both averaged 16 points per game scoring. The Terrapins needed that scoring and more Friday when they hung on to defeat Valparaiso.
West Virginia, under head coach Bob Huggins, finished in a fourth-place tie in the Big 12 Conference this season. They survived a scare Friday against Buffalo in the NCAA second round. The Mountaineers' leading scorer this season is Juwan Staten, at 14 points per game.
Maryland and West Virginia take to the court in Columbus, Ohio, at 8:50 p.m. Eastern. The game will be televised on TNT.
The final game Sunday night features fourth seed Louisville and fifth seed Northern Iowa in a East region game in Seattle. The Cardinals survived a scare against Cal-Irvine Friday afternoon. Wayne Blackshear led the way with 19 points.
You can watch Louisville and Northern Iowa on TBS, beginning at approximately 9:40 p.m. Eastern.