What I Hear: Jeff Zillgitt of Jacksonville, USA TODAY delivers the latest injuries from Kentucky star P.J. Washington at the bottom and if the team thinks he could play this weekend.
The NCAA tournament continues on Friday with 16 more games. The 12-hour marathon of really meaningful home games with win or loss starts just after noon ET.
This is how we rate the games on Friday:
1. # 6 Buffalo Vs. # 11 Arizona State (16:00, TNT). The Sun Devils won their First Four game over St. Johns and try to bring that momentum into their first round against Buffalo, a dangerous mid-major who got a great seed thanks to a 31-3 year old. Bobby Hurley faces his former team-mate and assistant Nate Oats in a game in which the Power Conference team sees only the higher rank.
. 2 # 5 Wisconsin Vs. No. 12 Oregon (16:30 ET, TBS). The Ducks, who have staged a winning streak in eight games, won the Pac-12 tournament to receive their chance at March Madness and are now a favorite among the dogs to shake up the Southern Region. The badgers are headed by the All-American Big Man Ethan Happ (17.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg).
. 3 Mississippi State No. 5 vs. Liberty # 5 (7:27 pm, TBS) In a viable scenario, the Flames will rely on their top 6 defense to control the pace of the game in a manner akin to Top Virginia Style reminds (trainer Ritchie McKay was assistant to UVA for six years). The state of Mississippi will use its athleticism as an advantage.
. 4 # 4 Kansas State Vs. No. 13 UC Irvine (2 pm ET, TBS). Another potential confusion in the South region is the Anteaters, who want to settle for a Cinderella of medium thirst by eliminating the Big 12 co-champion, who has many vulnerabilities for a Power Conference team.
Zion Williamson will play his first NCAA tournament game when Duke plays North Dakota State. (Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)
5. # 1 Duke Vs. North Dakota State (19:10, CBS). Normally a seed # 1 that blows out an inferior enemy would not be that high on our watchlist. But Zion Williamson, who dips throughout the Summit League school, is unlikely to lack any highlights.
. 6 # 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb (15:10, truTV). Will it happen again? The most enticing first-round match is perhaps one in which the Cavaliers look back only one year after their first seed in the first round, after losing to No. 16 in the first round against Maryland Baltimore County. The Cavaliers will certainly concentrate on this little Mid-Dur this time, but the story that repeats itself makes this game hard to ignore.
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7. # 6 Iowa State Vs. # 11 Ohio State (21:50 ET, TBS). The Cyclones have made an impressive series when they won the title of the Big 12 tournament, and they will face a team from Ohio State who have played themselves off the bubble. Be aware that leading scorer Kaleb Wesson is an X-factor here as OSU tries to play spoilers.
. 8 # 8 Utah State Vs. No. 9 Washington (18:50, TNT). The Aggies are glowing, pulling a 10-in-a-row series and look like a dangerous team for North Carolina in the second round. But first they have to overcome the regular-season Pac-12 winner. Normally, this type of hardware would give Huskies a top 5 seed. Not in a terrible year for the Pac-12. Sam Merrill of USU (21.2 ppg, 4.2 apg) is an absolute must, as is the Pac-12 player of the year Jaylen Nowell.
. 9 # 2 Tennessee Vs. # 15 Colgate (2:45 pm ET, CBS) Colgate is better than its seeding line and will try to become the tournament's biggest staple buster with its top 15 three-point shooting. The volunteers are a legitimate Final Four contender for many reasons. One of these reasons is the All-American Grant Williams. The other is the human bulldozer Admiral Schofield. Rapolas Ivanauskas is a 6:10 striker who scores 44 percent for Colgate from outside the arch, and guard Jordan Burns has a 35-point performance to help the Raiders win the Patriot League.
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10th # 3 Houston Vs. No. 14 Georgia State (19:20, TBS). The Cougars were American Athletic's best team with 31 wins and seem to be on a crash course with Kentucky at the Sweet 16. The Panthers, however, are the annoying middle major with hopes of getting in their way. Houston leads the nation in percentage defense of the field (with only 36.7 percent shooting), and the GSU guards rave about a long night.
. 11 # 3 Texas Tech Vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky (13:30, TNT). The Red Raiders have scored a winning streak in their last nine games to win a share of the regular "Big 12" season. However, after an early exit from the "Big 12" final against West Virginia, they will now win again. It begins and ends with the All-American All-Watcher Jarrett Culver (18.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.7 apg) for Texas Tech. In Northern Kentucky, there is a crime capable of overcoming the surprise – nationwide in the top 25 in the field goal percentage (48 percent). The Drew McDonald of Norse (19.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg) leads four players, who are on average double-digit.
12th # 8 Ole Miss Vs. No. 9 Oklahoma (12:40 pm, truTV). Coach Kermit Davis & # 39; Rebels in the first year have lost three out of the last four, while the Sooners have lost eight out of twelve. But both have good enough teams to stun Virginia in the second round and make Sweet 16 a surprise. Coach Lon Kruger has placed this OU team in the post-Trey Young era at a high level of defense (rank 25 in percentage FG defense). His team will have to contain the explosive power of Ole Miss Guardian Breein Tyree (18.2 ppg).
. 13 # 7 Cincinnati Vs. No. 10 Iowa (12:15 pm, CBS) . The Bearcats have a unique home advantage when playing in nearby Columbus for this first-round match. Having just won the AAC tournament, they were overwhelmed. That could be bad news for an Iowa team that has just beaten 21 points at the Big Ten tournament in Michigan – the fifth defeat in their last six games. At this latest loss, point guard Jordan Bohannon was scoreless and he has to produce for Iowa to be able to participate.
fourteenth No. 8 VCU vs. # 9 UCF (9:40 pm, CBS). VCU's Top 10 defense (61.6 points per game and 38% field hits) strikes a UCF team that has lost its last two games, but the Knights should have the upper hand. The guards B. J. Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins (36 points, March 9 against Temple) are hard to stop, while the 7-foot-6-man Tacko case represents an intimidating presence. Meanwhile, the Rams offensive is fighting and will have top scorer Marcus Evans back in the lineup – though not at 100 percent.
15th # 4 Virginia Tech Vs. No. 13 Saint Louis (21:57, truTV). The Billikens unexpectedly won the Atlantic 10 tournament to beat their ticket to the NCAAs. They defeated Dayton, Davidson and Saint Bonaventure – limited to an average of 51 points per competition. But now they are facing an ACC team that surpasses them in almost every area. There are a variety of statistics that do not favor Saint Louis in this case, starting with an often stagnant offense (304th place in the country), the inability to connect from a great distance (rank 327 on the three-point field goals), and terrific free-throw shooting (ranked 350th out of 353 Division I teams at 60 percent). All in all, it's March and Travis Ford has made this team very confident to get a shocker. The Hokies are to get back the point guard Justin Robinson, who had missed the last 12 games due to injury. This extra ammo could make a big difference in this and possibly later rounds.
sixteenth # 1 North Carolina Vs. No. 16 Iona (21:20, TNT). The tar heels should find an easy way with the MAAC winner to use their explosive cruising offenses. Look for the freshman Coby White to save his nerves to start the second round.
Follow Scott Gleeson of USA TODAY on Twitter @ScottMGleeson .