The 2014 NCAA Tournament is in full swing, as we are officially halfway through the "second" round. Thursday's set of games gave us a glimpse of a couple potential first-round draft picks, but Friday's slate is decorated with them. Below is a schedule of what you should watch, who you should watch and when you should watch if you are an NBA fan.
It's important to note that several of the very best prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon) will be playing at the same time as some of the games listed below. But the games we've listed here involve the best matchups instead of the top prospects, as most of those top guys have easy second-round games.
EARLY SHIFT: 6. Baylor vs. 11. Nebraska (12:40 p.m. ET, truTV)
Baylor's 7'1 sophomore Isaiah Austin (No. 47 in Draft Express' Top 100) is as intriguing a prospect as any in the country. He's long, coordinated and fairly mobile, and he's blocking 3.3 shots per game (4.6 per 40 minutes) this season. He also has range to the three-point line and works nicely in pick-and-pop situations. But he's built like a totem pole and he gets pushed off the block by even medium-sized college centers. He's not a great rebounder (7.9 per 40 minutes), either. The potential is there because rarely are 7-footers as mobile and coordinated as Austin, but there's a lot of work, specifically in the weight room, that needs to be done.
Nebraska's Walter Pitchford is a pretty big dude, but the Cornhuskers don't have any player who can match up with Austin one-on-one. Let's see how he responds.
Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon also play at this time, but you should get better chances to watch them against tougher opponents.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Jabari Parker, Duke (No. 3, 12:15 p.m., CBS); Aaron Gordon, Arizona (No. 8, 2:10 p.m., TNT); Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona (No. 28, 2:10 p.m., TNT); Nick Johnson, Arizona (No. 38, 2:10 p.m., TNT); Dwight Powell, Stanford (No. 53, 1:40 p.m., TBS); Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona (No. 61, 2:10 p.m., TNT); Cory Jefferson, Baylor (No. 71, 12:40 p.m., truTV).
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MID-AFTERNOON: 8. Gonzaga vs. 9. Oklahoma State (4:40 p.m. ET, TNT)
Oklahoma State star guard Marcus Smart hit a mini-skid on most draft boards midway through the regular season, but he's regained some footing since returning from a three-game suspension. The 6'4 combo guard has averaged 18.7 points, six assists, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals on 37 percent long-range shooting over the last seven games and once again looks like a legitimate top-six pick. He should have a field day against the 'Zags. Not a single Gonzaga guard has the speed or strength to match up with him.
Kansas' top prospects also play at this time, but they will also have better matchups than Eastern Kentucky. Doug McDermott against Louisiana-Lafayette sleeper Elfrid Payton is a nice alternate option.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Andrew Wiggins (No. 1, 4:10 p.m., TBS); Doug McDermott, Creighton (No. 10, 3:10 p.m., truTV); Wayne Selden, Kansas (No. 33, 4:10 p.m., TBS); Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette (No. 36, 3:10 p.m., truTV) Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee (No. 66, 2:45 p.m., CBS); Jordan McRae, Tennessee (No. 89, 2:45 p.m., CBS).
EARLY EVENING: 6. North Carolina vs. 11. Providence (7:20 p.m. ET, TNT)
North Carolina hasn't gotten the same quality of top-notch recruits — Harrison Barnes notwithstanding — as Kansas, Kentucky and Duke over the past few years. But there are actually some interesting NBA prospects in this crop of Tar Heels. Sophomore power forward Brice Johnson (No. 70) might be the best one. At 6'9 with a nearly 7' wingspan, Johnson uses length and a high release point to score over the top of defenders and he does it efficiently (57.4 percent true shooting). His per 40 minute averages of 20.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks paint the picture of a lottery prospect, but the issue is that he's not even playing 20 minutes a night.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Shaq Goodwin, Memphis (No. 73, 6:55 p.m., TBS); James McAdoo, North Carolina (No. 81); Cleanthony Early, Wichita State (No. 86, 7:10 p.m., CBS); JuVonte Reddic, VCU (No. 99, 7:27 p.m., truTV).
LATE NIGHT: 8. Kentucky vs. 9. Kansas St (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)
More on Kentucky
More on Kentucky
Kentucky's 40-0 pipe dream didn't exactly come to fruition, as the nation's greatest recruiting class ever didn't become the NBA prospects that were expected to decorate the first round of the 2014 Draft. But there is still reason for hope. Freshman forward Julius Randle (No. 4) has fallen off a little thanks to the team's woes and his own measurable limitations, but his production (15 points and 10.5 rebounds) make him a lock in the top eight. Sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 12), a 7' pogo stick, has reemerged as a major defensive threat (4.3 blocks per game in the SEC Tournament) after a worrying midseason lull. Freshman James Young (No. 26) has the size to play on the wing (6'6.5 in shoes, 6'11 wingspan) in the next level and has hit a shooting groove from three recently (47.4 percent over last four games).
The Wildcats may not put together a Final Four run, but there's still plenty of NBA talent in that rotation.
Other top prospects in this time slot: Kyle Anderson, UCLA (No. 19, 9:57 p.m., truTV); Zach LaVine, UCLA (No. 34, 9:57 p.m., truTV); Jordan Adams, UCLA (No. 44, 9:57 p.m., truTV); Alex Poythress, Kentucky (No. 59); Aaron Harrison, Kentucky (No. 60); Andrew Harrison, Kentucky (No. 63); Joe Harris, Virginia (No. 87, 9:25 p.m., TBS).