march madness 2021
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Here’s The Post’s guide to some of Friday’s best NCAA Tournament games:
(10) Virginia Tech vs. (7) Fltorida
12:15 p.m., CBS
We’ve had to wait an extra year, so what’s one extra day? Friday begins with what should be a tightly contested contest, with oddsmakers making Florida just a one-point favorite. The Gators have had to overcome the loss of star Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed on the court during a Dec. 12 game. There were initial fears of complications from COVID-19, but his family released a statement indicating the incident was unrelated to the coronavirus.
(11) Utah St. vs. (6) Texas Tech
Utah State has the physically bigger star — 7-foot Neemias Queta averaged a double-double this season — but keep an eye out for Texas Tech’s 6-2 guard, Mac McClung, a Georgetown transfer who can surprise you with highlight-reel dunks that drew attention to him as a high schooler in rural Virginia.
(15) Oral Roberts vs. (2) Ohio St.
3 p.m., CBS
No, you shouldn’t expect Oral Roberts to pull off the massive upset, but the Summit League champs have the 12th-highest-scoring offense in the country (81.8 points a game) and are led by Max Abmas, the top scorer in the country (24.2 ppg). Ohio State took Illinois to overtime in a fierce Big Ten Tournament final — how fired up will they be for a No. 15 seed?
(9) Georgia Tech vs. (8) Loyola Chicago
4 p.m., TBS
She’s back. Yes, 101-year-old Sister Jean is fully vaccinated and in Indianapolis to cheer on Loyola Chicago three years after their amazing Final Four run. Don’t overlook Georgia Tech, though, which boasts Christ the King’s Jose Alvarado running the point. The betting line has swung heavily in favor of Loyola, with reports ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright will be unavailable for Tech.
(12) Oregon St. vs. (5) Tennessee
Georgetown got all the attention as the major conference bid-stealer, but Oregon State pulled off the same feat in the Pac-12. Coach Wayne Tinkle (great name) and company will have a tough time getting past Tennessee, as coach Rick Barnes has reached at least the second round in eight of his past 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
(9) Wisconsin vs. (8) North Carolina
It’ll be a clash of styles in this Big Ten-ACC showdown, as the deliberate Badgers, ranked 326th in adjusted tempo on KenPom.com, face the run-and-gun Tar Heels, ranked 45th. Keep an eye out for North Carolina’s three-headed monster up front: 6-10 Garrison Brooks, 6-10 Armando Bacot and 6-11 Day’Ron Sharpe each average at least 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds a game.
(13) North Texas vs. (4) Purdue
The Boilermakers won’t get the benefit of playing at their own Mackey Arena, but with all the games in Indiana, they’ll enjoy partisan crowds throughout. North Texas shouldn’t be intimidated — after all, they are the Mean Green — having already faced major-conference opponents Arkansas, Mississippi State and West Virginia this season.
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