College Basketball

NCAA tournament games in Charlotte: What to watch

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is 82-26 all-time in NCAA tournament games.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is 82-26 all-time in NCAA tournament games. AP

A look at the NCAA tournament games in Charlotte on Friday:

Michigan State vs. Georgia

Time: 12:40 p.m.

TV: TruTV

Region: East

Matchup to watch

Marcus Thornton, Georgia vs. Branden Dawson, Michigan State: Both seniors, Thornton and Dawson can score, rebound and defend (80 blocked shots, 59 steals combined).

Tap-ins

▪ Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is making his 18th straight NCAA appearance with the Spartans, the second-longest active streak for a coach and third longest for a team.

▪ The injury bug bit Georgia hard this season, with 34 injury- or illness-related DNPs this season. However, guard Kenny Gaines (sprained foot) is expected to play Friday.

▪ Michigan State is among the nation’s top 10 in assists per game (fourth) and assist/turnover ratio (seventh), and Georgia is fifth in defensive rebounds per game.

Did you know? This is the first meeting between Michigan State and Georgia, and both teams lost to their one common opponent – Minnesota – this season.

Virginia vs. Belmont

Time: 3:10 p.m.

TV: TruTV

Region: East

Matchup to watch

Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia, vs. Reece Chamberlain, Belmont: First-team All-ACC pick Brogdon will likely be guarded by Chamberlain (52 steals).

Tap-ins

▪ Virginia leads the nation in points allowed (50.8 per game) and is third in defensive field-goal percentage (39.5 percent). However, Belmont is fourth nationally in 2-point field-goal shooting (56.2 percent).

▪ Bulldogs coach Rick Byrd is seventh in the nation among active Division I coaches in career wins (711).

▪ A win would give Virginia its second straight 30-win season and the third in school history, tying the record set in 1982 and matched last year.

Did you know? Virginia freshman guard B.J. Stith is the son of Bryant Stith, the Cavaliers’ all-time scoring leader (2,516 points).

Duke vs. Robert Morris

Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: CBS

Region: South

Matchup to watch

Jahlil Okafor, Duke vs. Elijah Minnie, Robert Morris: Two freshmen will face off in the paint, with Okafor’s 17.7 points, 9.1 rebounds per game against Minnie’s 36 blocked shots.

Tap-ins

▪ Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is 82-26 all-time in NCAA tournament games, with 20 consecutive appearances; Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole is 1-0.

▪ Toole spent two seasons as a starting guard at Elon (1998-2000) before transferring to Pennsylvania.

▪  Robert Morris forward Aaron Tate is a native of Cove City, near New Bern, and played high school basketball at West Craven High.

Did you know? A Duke win over Robert Morris on Friday would make the Blue Devils the third program in history to record 100 wins in NCAA tournament play. Kentucky has 116, and North Carolina has 110.

San Diego State vs. St. John’s

Time: 9:40 p.m.

TV: CBS

Region: South

Matchup to watch

Size vs. speed: St. John’s will start four guards, with its tallest player 6-foot-6 guard/forward Sir’Dominic Pointer; San Diego State will start four forwards, all 6-7 or taller.

Tap-ins

▪  San Diego State is second among Division I teams in scoring defense (53.1 points per game) and fifth in field-goal percentage defense (37.7 percent).

▪  St. John’s is tied for fourth in the nation in blocked shots (6.5 per game), led by Chris Obekpa (94 blocks) and Pointer (78 blocks). However, Obekpa will miss the NCAA tournament after being suspended for violating team rules.

▪  San Diego State is making its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, one of only eight teams in this year’s tournament that can make that claim.

Did you know? San Diego State coach Steve Fisher already has an NCAA tournament championship ring – the one he earned as Michigan’s interim coach during its 1989 title run.

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