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NCAA Basketball Tournament 2011 Bracket: Friday TV Schedule, Tip-Off Times And Predictions - WEST Region

Four games are on tap out West - ironically, the first two games of the day are from the West bracket, being played in Charlotte, NC.  Included on the schedule today are No. 1 Seed Duke, No. 4 seed Texas and the No. 8, No. 9 match-up featuring Michigan and Tennessee.

12:15PM et: (13)Oakland, Mich. Golden Grizzlies(25-9) Vs. Texas Longhorns(27-7) - CBS

Texas?  As a No. 4 seed?  No way.  That's the hand the Longhorns were dealt, but I look at Texas as a No. 2 seed.  Sure, there were a couple of missteps along the way, including a 4-4 finish to the season, but the Longhorns were 7-3 against teams that were ranked when they played them.  

The Golden Grizzles of Oakland sport an impressive 17-1 record in conference, but it also means that were just 8-8 out of conference.  Oakland did play a solid schedule, beating Tennessee on the road when the Vols were ranked #7, but overall were 1-4 against ranked teams.

MY PICK: Texas - Way too much Longhorns for Oakland to handle.  It's a tough break for the Grizzlies who have the talent to win a Tournament game.  They simply were matched up with a team that was under-seeded.

12:40PM et: (9)Tennessee Volunteers(19-14) Vs. (8)Michigan Wolverines(20-13) - truTV

Will Bruce Pearl return to Tennessee or won't he.  Unfortunately that has been the question surrounding this game during the days leading up.  Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton created the uproar by saying the 'jury is still out' on whether or not Pearl would return after it was found that Pearl had misled the NCAA during an investigation. 

"When you put yourself in a position where you provide false or misleading information to the NCAA and you go through an NCAA investigation, you put yourself in a position where you're going to be evaluated at the end of the year," Pearl said. "So that's what our status is.

The Wolverines have dealt with an up and down season themselves, starting the Big Ten season at 1-6 before finishing strong.  The Wolverines lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight season.

"Right now we're boxing out anybody we see. If you get in that hallway on the way back I'm going to box you out," Michigan coach John Beilein told a reporter. "They are tremendous offensive rebounders. Somebody asked me if it would concern you. It would concern the Boston Celtics if they had to box these guys out."

MY PICK: Michigan - Too much distraction for Tennessee means the Wolverines advance.

2:45PM et: (12)Memphis Tigers(25-9) Vs. (5)Arizona Wildcats(27-7) - CBS

You know the old saying, every year a No. 12 seed rises up and beats a No. 5 seed.  It's happened already in 2011 with Richmond taking down Vanderbilt yesterday.  West Virginia and Kansas State already have wins over No. 12 seeds this year leaving Arizona as the last No. 5 seed to play.

Their opponent, Memphis, returns to the Tournament after a one year hiatus.  Coach Josh Pastner - an Arizona alum - makes his NCAA Tournament debut as head coach facing the team he won a National Championship with in 1997.

"I know people tried to make the story line of ... me against Arizona. It would be different if Coach Olson was still coaching," Pastner said. "But once the ball's tipped, it's about the team that wins advances and the other one's done."

MY PICK: Arizona - Memphis is young and with a head coach with little NCAA experience their time might be next year.  A dangerous game for the Wildcats, to be sure.

3:10PM et: (16)Hampton Pirates(24-8) Vs. (1)Duke Blue Devils(30-4) - truTV

Ten years ago, Hampton, in the Tournament as a No. 15 seed, beat No. 2 seed Iowa State.  It equaled the biggest upset according to seeding in Tournament history.  Can the Pirates do it again, this time as a No. 16 seed?  Against Duke, no less?


MY PICK: Duke - I hope Hampton enjoyed their stay in Charlotte because the journey ends today.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.