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March Madness 2024 viewer’s guide: What to watch and what to skip on Sunday

March 24th, 2024

First-round play is in the books for both the men and women, and Sweet 16 berths are on the line.

Cinderellas are still dancing in both brackets, and the stakes are ratcheting up. Sunday brings a full slate of second-round action for both the men and women and plenty of intrigue over who advances to the second weekend.

Here’s our guide on what to watch and what you can skip on a loaded Sunday slate.

Sunday afternoon

Men’s schedule (All times Eastern)

12:10 p.m. — No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 10 Colorado (CBS)

12:40 p.m. — No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 8 Utah State (CBS)

Women’s schedule

Noon — No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Duke (ESPN)

1 p.m — No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 8 North Carolina (ABC)

2 p.m. — No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Colorado (ESPN)

3 p.m. — No. 3 LSU vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee (ABC)

4 p.m. — No. 3 Oregon State vs. No. 6 Nebraska (ESPN)

Must-see: KJ Simpson is fresh off a big March moment having sunk No. 7 Florida with a game-winner in the final seconds of Friday’s 102-100 opening-round win. The All-Pac-12 guard led Colorado in the shootout with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists as all five Buffaloes starters scored in double figures. What will he do for an encore against Marquette?

He’ll share the spotlight Sunday with Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, who returned from a six-game absence to help lead the Golden Eagles past Western Kentucky on Friday with 18 points and 11 assists. The 2023 Big East Player of the Year will match up with Simpson in one of the best backcourt battles of the second round.

KJ Simpson's a high-level scorer at peak confidence after Thursday's game-winner over Florida. (Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

KJ Simpson’s a high-level scorer at peak confidence after Thursday’s game-winner over Florida. (Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Must-skip: It’s difficult at this point of the tournaments to recommend tuning completely out of any game. Every team remaining is a proven NCAA tournament winner and a threat to advance. But reigning champion LSU facing an 11th-seeded Middle Tennessee State team is the mostly likely blowout candidate here.

Most likely potential upset: We’re doubling down on Marquette-Colorado. And this is no knock on Marquette, which looks back to form with Kolek’s return.

But Colorado is capable of catching fire and lighting up the scoreboard, as Florida just learned the hard way. Simpson’s an All-Pac-12 guard capable of scoring in bunches who’s at peak confidence after hitting the game-winner over Florida. He and All-Pac-12 forward Tristan da Silva are both potential future pros. Freshman forward Cody Williams is definitely a future pro who could be selected in the top three of the upcoming NBA Draft. The upside potential is high for Colorado if things are clicking.

Player to watch: South Carolina romped to a 91-39 win over No. 16 seed Presbyterian on Friday playing without All-SEC center Kamilla Cardoso, who was suspended for fighting in the conference championship game against LSU. She’s scheduled to return against North Carolina, which gave South Carolina trouble in a regular-season matchup in November.

North Carolina jumped out to a 17-7 lead in Chapel Hill and held a 29-26 halftime edge in the top-25 battle. South Carolina took control in the third quarter and secured a 65-58 win in an early test to its perfect season. But the Gamecocks fell more than 20 points short of their full-season scoring average of 86.2 points per game. Cardoso was limited to six points in that matchup, but dominated on defense and the boards with 16 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. The Gamecocks will lean heavily on Cardoso in her return.

Sunday evening

Men’s schedule

5:15 p.m. — No. 4 Duke vs. No. 12 James Madison (CBS)

6:10 p.m. — No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 6 Clemson (TNT)

7:10 p.m. — No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 12 Grand Canyon (TBS)

7:45 p.m. — No. 1 UConn vs. No. 9 Northwestern (truTV)

8:40 p.m. — No. 1 Houston vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (TNT)

9:40 p.m. No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Yale (TBS)

Women’s schedule

6 p.m. No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 Alabama (ESPN)

8 p.m. — No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 5 Baylor (ESPN)

10 p.m. No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 7 Iowa State (ESPN)

Must-see: James Madison is on a roll and has had little trouble in power conference matchups this season. The Dukes beat Michigan State in the regular season and then made easy work of No. 5 seed Wisconsin in their first-round matchup Friday.

They haven’t lost since Jan. 27 and enter Sunday’s game with a 32-3 record. Sun Belt Player of the Year Terrance Edwards Jr. is capable of taking over a game. He scored 24 points in James Madison’s November win over the then-No. 4 Spartans, including 11 in overtime.

Duke will need more than three points from Kyle Filipowski in a tough test against James Madison. (Dustin Satloff/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)Duke will need more than three points from Kyle Filipowski in a tough test against James Madison. (Dustin Satloff/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Duke will need more than three points from Kyle Filipowski in a tough test against James Madison. (Dustin Satloff/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

This is a tough test for a Duke team that entered the tournament playing less than its best basketball. The Blue Devils limped into the tournament with a 3-3 finish, including a loss to NC State in its ACC tournament opener. They let No. 13 seed Vermont hang around until late in the second half of their NCAA tournament opener on Friday that saw All-ACC center Kyle Filipowski score just three points. Duke, meanwhile, is seeking to avoid falling short of the tournament’s second weekend for the second time in two seasons under head coach Jon Scheyer.

Must-skip: UConn looks dominant again after cruising through last year’s tournament field to its fifth national championship. Northwestern was far from dominant in a first-round overtime win over No. 8 seed FAU. If you’re looking for a window to go grab takeout, UConn-Northwestern is your best bet.

Most likely potential upset: Virginia Tech rolled to a 92-49 win over No. 13 seed Marshall in the first round. A matchup with No. 5 Baylor won’t come nearly as easy.

That’s mostly thanks to the devastating absence of center Elizabeth Kitley, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL at the end of regular season. Kitley’s a three-time All-American and ACC Player of the Year. With her, the Hokies were in the conversation for a No. 1 seed. With her status in doubt before her ACL tear was confirmed, Virginia Tech fell to a No. 4 seed.

The Bears are a team that can take advantage of a hobbled opponent. Baylor won five games over top-25 opponents this season and enter Sunday’s game having won seven out of eight games. The Hokies are vulnerable 3.5-point favorites.

Player to watch: Clemson forward PJ Hall is a big-game player who can propel the Tigers into the tournament’s second weekend. He was overshadowed on the national stage by better-known ACC names like RJ Davis and Kyle Filipowski. But he’s known well to the folks paying attention who handed him 346 All-ACC votes, second only to Player of the Year Davis.

He’s also known to North Carolina, which watched him pile up 25 points and nine rebounds in a February upset of the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. A 6-foot-10 forward with an inside-out game, Hall enters Sunday averaging 18.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 32.3% on 4.7 3-point attempts per game. If Clemson gets past Baylor, he’ll be the main reason why.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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