First Round NCAA Tournament Game Intrigue Rankings

There are countless number of NCAA tournament preview articles written in the days leading up to the NCAA tournament (and I have read most of them), but I have not seen anyone actually create an intrigue ranking of all the games from first to worst. Thus, I am hear to fill that void by publishing this list now. The main factors considered were: the possibility of an upset, likelihood of a close game, and the existence of other story lines that enhance the appeal of a particular game. If I have the chance, I will create a second list and post it on the blog which ranks each of these games after they are played. It will be interesting to compare how the pregame rankings compare to the postgame rankings. Enjoy this list and enjoy the games. Merry Christmas everyone!

1(8) Loyola-Chicago vs. (9) Georgia Tech (4:00)- TBS (247)- The return of Sister Jean!
2(2) Iowa vs. (15) Grand Canyon (6:25)- TBS (247)- upset special!
3(5) Villanova vs. (12) Winthrop (9:57)- TNT (245)- the trendy upset pick everyone is expecting.
4(4) Virginia vs. (13) Ohio (7:15)- Tru TV (246)- another upset special to watch out for
5(4) Oklahoma State vs. (13) Liberty (6:25)- TBS (247)- The Flames will keep it close… at least
6(5) Creighton vs. (12) UCSB (3:30)- Tru TV (246)- another tight game with an upset possibility
7(5) Colorado vs. (12) Georgetown (12:15)- CBS (5)- can the Hoyas continue the magic?
8(3) Arkansas vs. (14) Colgate (12:45)- TruTV (246)- An early afternoon track meet
9(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Oregon State (4:30)- TNT (245)- can the Beavers continue their run?
10(3) Texas vs. (14) Abilene Christian (9:50)- Tru TV (246)- Vegas loves ACU here
11(4) Florida State vs. (13) UNCG (12:45)- Tru TV (246)- Spartans have shot at first tourney win
12(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Wisconsin (7:10)- CBS (5)- A blueblood classic in the first round
13(3) Kansas vs. (14) Eastern Wash. (1:15)- TBS (247)- The Eagles can play with the Hawks
14(2) Alabama vs. (15) Iona (4:00)- TBS (247)- The return of Pitino
15(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Morehead State (9:50)- Tru TV (246)- WVU always vulnerable early in the tourney and the Eagles have a history of pulling off the upset.
16(8) LSU vs. (9) St. Bonaventure (1:45)- TNT (245)- fun clash of evenly matched high-major and mid-major
17(4) Purdue vs. (13) North Texas (7:25)- TNT (245)- Another 13 vs. 4 matchup with some upset potential. The Mean Green should have been a 12 seed.
18(6) USC vs. (11) Drake (4:30)- TNT (245)- How far can Drake go now that they’re fully healthy.
19(6) BYU vs. (11) UCLA (9:40)- CBS (5)- two west coast powers with contrasting styles collide.
20(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) Utah State (1:45)- TNT (245)- Aggies have the best player on the floor with 7 foot center Neemius Queta
21(6) San Diego State vs. (11) Syracuse (9:40)- CBS (5)- see comment from LSU/St. Bonaventure game above
22(7) Clemson vs. (10) Rutgers (9:20)- TBS (247)- should be a really tight, low-scoring, rock right
23(8) Oklahoma vs. (9) Missouri (7:25)- TNT (245)- a month ago this would have been 4 seed vs. 5 seed second round matchup
24(1) Gonzaga vs. (16) Norfolk State (9:20)- TBS (247)- The Zags have struggled before in the 1/16 game
25(7) Oregon vs. (10) VCU (9:57)- TNT (245)- the Ducks are a Sweet 16 pick of mine but the Rams should be a handful
26(2) Houston vs. (15) Cleveland State (9:20)- Tru TV (246)- if the Cougars can lose to ECU, they can certainly get beaten by Cleveland State as well.
27(1) Illinois vs. (16) Drexel (1:15)- TBS (247)- should be a blowout but it will be fun to see Drexel’s return to the dance and Ayo Dosunmu’s tourney debut.
28(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Oral Roberts (3:00)- CBS (5)- could be a prototypical 2/15 snoozer
29(7) UConn vs. (10) Maryland (7:10)- CBS (5)- game should be close but not sure either team is really capable of making a run
30(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia Tech (12:15)- CBS (5)- see comment above
31(1) Baylor vs. (16) Hartford (3:30)- TruTV (246)- game should be over in the first 10 minutes; if not, Baylor fans should be concerned
32(1) Michigan vs. (16) Texas Southern (3:00)- CBS (5)- see comment above
Loyola's good luck charm Sister Jean gets her March Madness ticket after  being vaccinated - CNN

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