Last weekend was one of the wildest in NCAA Tournament history. Virginia became the first men’s basketball 1-seed to lose in the first round, defeated by UMBC’s Twitter account. 4-seed Arizona also suffered a hilarious collapse as they were blown out in what could be a cruel end to the Sean Miller era. Loyola-Chicago had not one, but two miraculous shots to get into the Sweet Sixteen. March is here and it’s madder than ever.
We have a handy article here to help guide you through the third round of the NCAA Tournament, possibly the weirdest slate of matchups in memory. Your bracket is definitely busted at this point so don’t worry about your bracket in these games. Root for the team that has the best style or basketball, the best story, the most exciting players, or whatever else gets you off the couch cheering for a team you didn’t care about ten days ago.
7. Nevada Wolf Pack vs. 11. Loyola Marymount Ramblers (5 p.m. MST, CBS)
This game should be the game to decide the true Cinderella team of this Cinderella-filled bracket. Nevada has cemented themselves as comeback specialists as they have overcome 14- and 22-point second half deficits against Texas and Cincinnati, respectively. Loyola Marymount, meanwhile, have grown famous for having a 98-year-old mascot named Sister Jean, the true hero of the tournament, and also for their two last-second shots to upset Miami and Tennessee. This is a difficult game to pick a favorite team, so maybe it would be easier to just root for the most entertaining basketball possible.
3. Michigan Wolverines vs. 7. Texas A&M Aggies (5:30, TBS)
Your rooting interests here should be all about style. If you think basketball should be played in a spread pick-and-roll with five shooters on the floor, Michigan should delight you, especially if they have any magic left after Jordan Poole’s iconic buzzer-beater. If you think basketball should be a battle of brute force and sheer determination, Texas A&M is there to protect the paint and bully the boards. They also have an impossible swagger after beating up on North Carolina in the least surprising beatdown of this tournament.
5. Kentucky Wildcats vs. 9. Kansas State Wildcats (7:40, CBS)
In this game, you should probably root for the Wildcats, lol. But seriously folks, this is game is a toss up. Kentucky is a blue blood program that is perpetually under fire for supposed recruiting violations, but have you seen Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? He’s so much fun and it would be awful to see him go so soon. Kansas State would be the fun upset pick, but they carry over filthy Big 12 vibes and they eliminated our favorite children at UMBC.
4. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. 9. Florida State Seminoles (8, TBS)
RUI HACHIMURA IS THE COOLEST, BESTEST PERSON TO EVER PLAY IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT AND IF YOU DON’T ROOT FOR GONZAGA BECAUSE OF HIM, I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN WITH A KITANA. Also, Josh Perkins is representing Colorado.
1. Kansas Jayhawks vs. 5. Clemson Tigers (5, CBS)
If you’re a true CU fan (unlike our own Anthony Kazmierczak), this should be an easy pick for you.
1. Villanova Wildcats vs. 5. West Virginia Mountaineers (5:30, TBS)
Villanova is the heavy favorite to win the NCAA Tournament, but in this tournament, anything can happen. If you want to see even more chaos, cheer on Press Virginia as Jevon Carter and company try to shutdown Nova’s unstoppable offense. Nova is the best pick, however, if you enjoy stylistic, Warriors-esque hyper-efficient basketball.
2. Duke Blue Devils vs. 11. Syracuse Orange (7:40, CBS)
Rooting against Duke is usually the easiest thing in college basketball, but Syacuse makes that more complicated because they’re miserable in their own ways. Personally, I’m going to be cheering for Duke because (1) Marvin Bagley, (2) Wendell Carter, and (3) Syracuse basketball is slow and ugly, especially since I’ve been trained as a CU fan to despise zone defense.
2. Purdue Boilermakers vs. 3. Texas Tech Red Raiders (8, TBS)
You can’t make a mistake in this matchup. Texas Tech are the fun upstarts who play fast-paced offense, lockdown defense and play with a certain looseness to them. Purdue is the B-tier program with an A-tier team that happens to have lovable stars leading an elite offense. Purdue is also apparently great at cloning 7’2 white dudes, but I’m not sure if that’s a reason for or against rooting for them.
Whoever you do end up rooting for this weekend, remember that this tournament is all about having fun. And most importantly, no one cares about your bracket so neither should you.