March Madness 2021: Breaking down today’s can’t-miss games

Here’s The Post’s guide to some of Monday’s best NCAA Tournament games:

(7) Oregon vs. (2) Iowa

12:15 p.m., CBS

After getting an unprecedented free pass into the Round of 32, how will Oregon fare against an Iowa team with a game already under its belt? As always with Iowa, slowing Luka Garza will be key, but good luck if the player of the year contender is shooting from the outside as effectively as he did in the Hawkeyes’ first-round win over Grand Canyon (4-for-5 on 3-pointers).

(8) Oklahoma vs. (1) Gonzaga

2:40 p.m., CBS

“Finally, Gonzaga against a power-conference program who can expose them.” Not so fast. The Zags were already tested by Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia in their non-conference slate — and they passed with flying colors. Oklahoma managed to top Missouri without second-leading scorer De’Vion Harmon (COVID), but a shorthanded Sooners squad likely isn’t much threat to Gonzaga.

March Madness 2021 Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma
Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs; Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves
Getty Images (2)

(13) Ohio vs. (5) Creighton

6:10 p.m., TNT

Ohio’s Jason Preston has gone from NBA blogger to March Madness story, and a trip to the Sweet 16 could be next. The Bobcats’ victory over a Virginia team dealing with COVID issues was one of the most popular upset picks, and for good reason. Creighton, meanwhile, looked vulnerable against UC Santa Barbara, and if not for a missed layup in the final seconds would be home by now. After pushing for a triple-double in the first round against stingy Virginia, Preston will have a shot in an up-and-down game.

No. 8 LSU vs. No. 1 Michigan

7:10 p.m., CBS

Could another 1-8 upset be in the making? LSU enters this game with five wins in its last six contests, and the lone loss was a one-point setback to second-seeded Alabama in the SEC Tournament title game. Freshman Cameron Thomas led an impressive rout of No. 8 St. Bonaventure with 27 points, taking over the game for large stretches. This is where Michigan star Isaiah Livers’ absence could really be felt, especially if star freshman big man Hunter Dickinson, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, doesn’t own the paint.

No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 4 Florida State

7:45 p.m., TBS

These are two teams going in opposite directions. Colorado has lost just once since Feb. 20 and is coming off a 96-73 dismantling of No. 12 Georgetown in which it hit an absurd 16 of 25 3-point attempts. Florida State is just 3-3 in its last six games, and struggled against No. 13 UNC Greensboro in a 10-point, opening-round win that was closer than the final result indicated. Colorado will have the best player on the floor in McKinley Wright IV, a senior point guard as potent scoring as creating for his teammates.

(10) Maryland vs. (2) Alabama

8:45 p.m., TNT

After avoiding an upset from Rick Pitino’s Iona squad, Alabama now faces a clash of styles against defensive-oriented Maryland, fresh off limiting UConn to 32.3 percent shooting in the first round. The Crimson Tide like to get up and down the court, while the Terps want to grind things to a halt and rely on a relentless defense led by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Darryl Morsell, who harassed UConn’s James Bouknight into a 6-for-16 night.

(6) USC vs. (3) Kansas

9:40 p.m., CBS

The final Sweet 16 ticket gets punched in this showdown between one of the most storied college basketball programs (Kansas) and a school more known for its football prowess (USC). Don’t overlook the Trojans, though, as the Pac-12 had gotten off to a sensational 5-0 start through Saturday, not including Oregon’s non-contest advancement. The return of forward Jalen Wilson from COVID protocols would be a boon to Kansas’ chances of slowing USC’s future lottery pick Evan Mobley, who put up 17 and 11 against Drake.

New York Post

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