The NCAA tournament second round was filled with madness on March 20 and 21. Seven double digit seeds won, while many more threatened favorites and three No. 1 seeds got scared. But this is often when the NCAA tournament begins to restore order, although the likes of the Pitt Panthers, North Dakota State Bison, Harvard Crimson and Dayton Flyers look to change that as the third round starts on March 22.
The No. 1 overall seeded Gators didn't start their NCAA tournament run on a high note, only beating the Albany Great Danes by 12 points on March 20. In contrast, the Panthers had the big blowout of the South region in throttling the Colorado Buffaloes. Pitt often got knocked off early as a top seed in years past, but now it looks to be on the other end against Florida.
If the Gators lose in the first game of the third round, it could set the tone for even bigger March Madness ahead. After a round of 64 with many upsets and near-upsets, time will tell if the tournament favorites can round back into form.
The Syracuse Orange are trying to round back into the form that got them a 25-0 start, with the 11'th seeded Dayton Flyers standing in the way. The now-healthy Michigan State Spartans seem to have become the dominant team they were expected to be, yet the Harvard Crimson are now out to derail them. Meanwhile, the defending champion Louisville Cardinals need a championship-level performance after surviving their near-upset to the Manhattan Jaspars.
By the time the day is over, half of the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 field will be set. Will the eight winners be mostly made up of favorites, or will the chaos reign for one more weekend? Even if most of the prospective Cinderella meet their end, all it takes is one to change the trajectory of March Madness -- which the Panthers, Crimson and even the Saint Louis Billikens can still do.
The accompanying list details the eight third round games being held today, including their projected starting times. Projecting the results stands to be much trickier, however.