NCAA Tournament Thursday Viewer's Guide: TV, times and the skinny on every game

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All the wheres and whens you need for the first day of March Madness

NCAA Tournament Thursday Viewer's Guide: TV, times and the skinny on every game

One of the greatest sports weekends of the year arrives Thursday at noon Eastern, and while we can’t tell you where to find truTV (program guide, folks), Athlon Sports can guide you through the day in March Madness.

The day starts with an All-Buckeye State matchup between Ohio State and Dayton, finally giving the Flyers, their coach and a transfer a chance to prove themselves against the big in-state program.

The 16th and final game of the day will be in Spokane when San Diego State and New Mexico State tip at roughly 10 p.m. Eastern.

Navigating the whole day can be tough with games crossing four different networks. We’ll help you get through it here.

NCAA Tournament Thursday Viewer’s Guide
All times Eastern

No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 10 Saint Joseph’s
TV: 6:45 p.m., TBS
Site: Buffalo
Region: East
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
UConn is back in the field after a one-year absence due to NCAA sanctions. St. Joe’s is back for only the second time since 2005, when Jameer Nelson and Dalonte West led a 30-2 team. Will Shabazz Napier’s do-it-all ability outweigh a more balanced St. Joe’s team?

Related: A must-follow Twitter account for each team in the field

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Wofford
TV: 7 p.m., CBS
Site: Milwaukee
Region: Midwest
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel
The last time Wofford went to the NCAA Tournament, the Terriers lost by 4 to Wisconsin in the round of 64. This team is not as good as that one.

No. 5 Saint Louis vs. No. 12 NC State
TV: 7:15 p.m., TNT
Site: Orlando
Region: West
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner
Saint Louis is ranked eighth in the country in defensive efficiency thanks to its ability to lock down the 3-point line. NC State star T.J. Warren, though, wants to get to the basket. For a guard averaging 24.8 points per game, it may be a surprise that Warren gets only 11 percent of his points from 3-pointers.

Related: The NCAA Tournament by the numbers

No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 12 North Dakota State
TV:
7:30 p.m., truTV
Site: Spokane, Wash.
Region: West
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb
Another Dakota team will be a popular upset pick, but this one is different from last year’s team. First, last season’s upset special was South Dakota State, not North Dakota State. And that team was led by guard Note Wolters. The Bison are led by two forwards in Taylor Braun (6-7) and Marshall Bjorklund (6-8) who can score inside. The battle on the glass, then, may be one of the most intriguing matchups with OU featuring one of the nation’s best rebounders.

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Milwaukee
TV:
9:15 p.m., TBS
Site: Buffalo
Region: East
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
Milwaukee has a standout guard with a standout sports name in Jordan Aaron, who was suspended late in the season. The Panthers went 1-3 without him and won the Horizon League Tournament when he returned. Villanova handled every team not named Syracuse or Creighton on it schedule ... until a puzzling loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament knocked the Wildcats out of No. 1 seed contention.

No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 Arizona State
TV: 9:30 p.m., CBS
Site: Milwaukee
Region: Midwest
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel
Every season, the selection committee seems to find a way to get two slumping teams playing each in the round of 64. This is that game. Texas and Arizona State may have saved the jobs of Rick Barnes and Herb Sendek, respectively, and then went a combined 5-10 after Feb. 18.

No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Manhattan
TV: 9:45 p.m., TNT
Site: Orlando
Region: Midwest
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner
Louisville may have the most curious seeding of any team in the field. The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the country, rising to the top five in the poll and No. 1 in KenPom. But here are the Cardinals as a No. 4 seed, in part because if a weak non-conference schedule. To boot, Rick Pitino will face a former player and assistant in Manhattan coach Steve Masiello.

No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 13 New Mexico State
TV:
truTV, 10 p.m.
Site: Spokane, Wash.
Region: West
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb
New Mexico State may be one of the strangest NCAA Tournament regulars of the last five seasons. Consider this: The Aggies haven’t won a regular season WAC title since 2008, earning a spot in the field in four of the last five seasons as a spoiler in the conference tournament. What has New Mexico State done with all those winning streaks entering the Tournament? Nothing. The Aggies haven’t won a Tournament game since 1993.

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