For most hardcore college basketball fans, the first two days of the NCAA Tournament are the best two days of the year. In general, we root for upsets, upsets and more upsets. Those drive the excitement and create chaos in later rounds. For Virginia Cavaliers fans, the equation is no different, except for their bracket. It isn’t just about creating an enjoyable tournament; it’s about making things easier for the Hoos to reach the final four in San Antonio.
With that in mind, here are some thoughts on who you should root for in Thursday’s South bracket games. Spoiler alert, we pretty much want all upsets here.
Early Games in Dallas
When: 12:40 PM ET
Who: #3 Tennessee vs #14 Wright State
Hoo To Root For: Wright State
Why: Ranked #11 in the nation (per KenPom), Tennessee is one of the top teams in the nation. They have won 25 games, including wins over Purdue and Kentucky. They are a legit threat to make the Final Four, so let’s get them out of the Virginia region as soon as possible.
When: 3:10 PM ET (or 20 minutes after the previous game)
Who: #6 Miami vs #11 Loyola-Chicago
Hoo To Root For: Miami
Why: The Hurricanes haven’t been the same team since lead guard Bruce Brown got hurt. But they still have potential lottery pick Lonnie Walker and uber-quick PG Chris Lykes. They’ve got five wins over NCAAT teams. They have the potential to knock off Tennessee and/or Cincinnati and come out of the bottom half of the bracket. Also, it’ll be nice to see ACC teams move on. Also, our own Will has a personal connection with the Miami program, so there’s that.
Late Games in Boise
When: 7:10 PM ET
Who: #5 Kentucky vs #12 Davidson
Hoo To Root For: Davidson
Why: Despite a disappointing season, Kentucky has come on strong, winning the SEC tournament. They have two projected first-round picks and 5-star talent up and down the roster. Getting them out of the tournament early would be helpful for everybody else.
When: 9:40 PM ET (or 20 minutes after the previous game)
Who: #4 Arizona vs #13 Buffalo
Hoo To Root For: Buffalo
Why: Basically, the same reason as above. Arizona has the projected #1 overall pick, 7-footer DeAndre Ayton, not to mention several more former 5-star recruits. Their season was rocked by several scandals, which may have played a role in their underachievement. Like Kentucky, they may have turned a corner, winning the Pac-12 tournament with ease. Getting them out of this tournament would be very nice.