March Madness Games to Watch: The Best of the Friday Games

March madness games

March Madness is here and the best weekend of the year is nearly upon us. That means game after game after game all day for about four days straight. Thursday’s games are all set and you know which ones to watch for that. Now it’s time to get ready for the Friday games. Here are the big ones to watch.

March Madness Games to Watch

No. 6 Creighton vs No. 11 NC State

  • When: Friday, March 17th, 2023
  • Start Time: 3:50 PM ET
  • Location: Ball Arena – Denver, Colorado
  • How to watch: TNT

Creighton vs NC State Preview

Neither of these teams run very deep so keeping the starters out of foul trouble will be key in winning this game. Especially since both teams boast some potential NBA Draftees. Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman, Ryan Kalkbrenner, and Arthur Kaluma lead this team while Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith fit that description and will likely be the deciders of the game.

NC State is a low turnover team, averaging only 9.5 per game. And that’s despite getting off the fourth-most field goal attempts a game. The Wolf Pack shoots about 35% from three-point land while shooting about 45% overall from the field. Creighton is not bad at 11.6 turnovers a game and shoots 36% from beyond the arc. The Bluejays are a good defensive-rebounding team and are fifth-best in the country in that state.

No. 5 St. Mary’s vs No. 12 VCU

  • When: Friday, March 17th, 2023
  • Start Time: 1:50 PM ET
  • Location: MVP Arena – Albany, New York
  • How to watch: TBS

St. Mary’s vs VCU Preview

This might be the most unfair of the 5/12 seed games as both of these teams finished the regular season first in their conferences. St. Mary’s had a great season and won the WCC regular-season title before getting blown out by Gonzaga in the conference title game. VCU won their conference title game by beating Dayton in a fairly close game. The only real shame here is that this game is being played in the first round and isn’t a potential Sweet 16 matchup.

Neither of these teams allows their opponents to score over 63 points a game so this could become a rock fight early. St. Mary’s will surely rely heavily on its backcourt of Logan Johnson and Aidan Mahaney while VCU is led by former Michigan forward Brandon Johns and junior guard Ace Baldwin. St. Mary’s will need to make sure it takes care of the ball as VCU averages almost nine steals a game.

No. 6 Kentucky vs No. 11 Providence

  • When: Friday, March 17th, 2023
  • Start Time: 1:50 PM ET
  • Location: Greensboro Coliseum – Greensboro, North Carolina
  • How to watch: CBS

Kentucky vs Providence Preview

This matchup has been a popular upset pick with how Kentucky’s conference season played out to a 12-6 record. Providence was pretty similar at 13-7 and had high expectations for them after winning the Big East regular season last year. The most glaring advantage for Kentucky is having the rebounding machine known as Oscar Tshiebwe playing for them. The Friars tend to run a bit small with their largest regular rotation player being 6-foot-10 Clifton Moore who is a freshman and averages only 13 minutes a game.

These two teams are almost identical in every major counting category like steals, rebounds, and assists per game. They have also managed to shoot nearly the same percentages from beyond the arc and inside it. The big storyline will be Coach Calipari seeing former Wildcat Bryce Hopkins wearing the Friar jersey after transferring out of the program last summer and being a dominant force for Providence this year.

No. 5 Miami vs No. 12 Drake

  • When: Friday, March 17th, 2023
  • Start Time: 7:15 PM ET
  • Location: MVP Arena – Albany, New York
  • How to watch: TBS

Miami vs Drake Preview

One of the biggest reasons for this game being a popular upset pick is the unknown status of Miami big man Norchad Omier. If he is unable to play or isn’t close to full strength, that is a considerably shorter task for Drake’s big man Darnell Brodie to handle. However, Miami’s guards will still give the Bulldogs all they can handle in Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack.

On the flip side of that, the Hurricanes will have to stop Drake sophomore Tucker DeVries who can get hot at any time. And at 6-foot-7, he can shoot over most other guards who might defend him or take bigger guys off the dribble. Someone else is going to have to step up for Drake though as DeVries does much of the scoring at 19 points per game.

No. 7 Michigan State vs No. 10 USC

  • When: Friday, March 17th, 2023
  • Start Time: 12:00 PM ET
  • Location: Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio
  • How to watch: CBS

Michigan State vs USC Preview

MSU was frankly a bit lucky to get into the field after losing its first game in the Big Ten Tournament to a bad Ohio State team and going 11-8 in Big Ten play overall. USC was second in the PAC12 this season but was the third of three teams from the conference to get in as the “Conference of Champions” was down badly this year.

Neither of these teams is particularly good offensively, but the Spartans are pretty accurate when they shoot from beyond the arc. However, they don’t shoot all that often from there at only 19 attempts a game (294th in the country). Where USC will try to score more points is at the foul line as they attempt five more per game than MSU and make the freebies at a decent clip of 74.4% on the season.

Stay tuned for more March Madness games coverage on Project Spurs.


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