Today we have the official start to the NCAA Tournament so as our madness begins, we have a whole host of Canucks starting their trek to that one shining moment. We have games that start this afternoon with Nik Cochran and Davidson all the way to later tonight with New Mexico State and the killer trio of Hernst Laroche, Tyrone Watson and Daniel Mullings not to mention the ladies in action all right here ...
Here is where the men are playing today ...
1:40pm Davidson vs. Louisville - Davidson's Nik Cochran will be playing against a lightning quick guard in Peyton Siva of Louisville. But Cochran is no slouch himself. Moving to a primary playmaker role, he's had his best season so far and he's looking to extend it past this game. In his last contest, a double overtime win over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference championship game, he had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. If this is his last game, I'd expect him to go out shooting.
2:45pm Brigham Young vs. Marquette
3:10pm UNC-Asheville vs. Syracuse - The loss of Fab Melo for the Tournament has really put a question mark on Syracuse going in but senior Kris Joseph will been to be bigger than he's been all season. In the loss to Cincinnati last week, Joseph had an un-Joseph game going for 9 points, an assist and a stl in 33 minutes. I would think that a game against UNC-Asheville is what he needs before he starts his last romp through the Tournament.
4:40pm Harvard vs. Vanderbilt
6:50pm Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky
7:20pm West Virginia vs. Gonzaga - Gonzaga lost a tough overtime game to Saint Mary's in the WCC championship game last week and you can bet they're still reeling from it. Kevin Pangos has one of his not so great games going 3-of-18 from the field in the loss in 45 minutes. I would think that he would be looking to get back on track here. And the Zags will need to have his outside shooting to free up the middle for Elias Harris and Robert Sacre. Sacre, by the way, had 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in that Saint Mary's loss and he'll need to be big against a very tough West Virginia frontcourt.
7:27pm South Dakota State vs. Baylor - This should be a Baylor win and if it's a blowout I would think that Brady Heslip will be going off from downtown.
9:20pm Connecticut vs. Iowa State - This is going to be a great match up with a very good individual matchup to watch. The two teams are even on paper but I think the key will be Melvin Ejim on Jeremy Lamb. Ejim is quick, strong and should be able to keep up with Lamb on the perimeter. I would think this is an important defensive move for Iowa State. If Ejim can be physical on Lamb on D and make him work for every point, the Cyclones will have a better shot at winning this game.
9:45pm New Mexico State vs. Indiana - A weakened Indiana team helps New Mexico State's chances of advancing to the next round. But the key to an Aggies victory will be how the Canadian trio of Hernst Laroche, Tyrone Watson and Daniel Mullings perform in this game. Hoosier freshman standout Cody Zeller will likely cancel out Aggies senior star Wendell McKines so if the three Canucks can play up to the moment, I would think that they could advance to the next round. Add to that the Aggies are riding high on a three game winning streak through the WAC Tournament win an average margin of victory of 17 points should have them very confident going into this game.
And here is where the women are playing today ...
7:00pm Howard @ Virginia
7:00pm Drexel @ Fairfield
7:00pm Harvard @ Hofstra
8:00pm Eastern Illinois @ Texas Tech
9:00pm Utah State @ Utah - All season, the Utah duo of Taryn Wicijowski and Michelle Plouffe have been taking turns starring from game to game and they may both need to star in this one. They are both among the PAC-12 leaders in scoring (Wicijowski 11th, Plouffe 9th), rebounding (Wicijowski 5th, Plouffe 7th) and blocks (Wicijowski 7th, Plouffe 6th). If they can both play big, this could be an easy win.
7:00pm New Hampshire @ Holy Cross
10:00pm North Dakota @ Seattle - Elle Kerfoot and Seattle are in a post season tournament which is great for her as a senior. She has been steady despite a reduced role with new players and is looking to get one tournament win starting here. I would look out for here to put on a three point show if he's given enough open looks. She averages 1.9 threes per game and could make it rain at home, possibly for the last time as a Redbird.