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March Madness 2015: Full Schedule and Odds for Saturday's 3rd-Round Games

Published by Bleacher Report on Sat, 21 Mar 2015

Winning in the 2015 NCAA tournament makes for a longtime memory, but advancing to the Sweet 16 is an everlasting symbol of success for any program. Those spots will begin to be filled with Saturday's third-round affairs.Eight of the final 16 teams left standing for the championship will assert themselves in Saturday's slate, and some unlikely teams are guaranteed to make it through to next weekend. Thanks to one of the wackiest opening Thursdays to the tournament ever seen, a couple of double-digit seeds play for a shot at making the Sweet 16 amid some chalk matchups.It may only be the third round, but this weekend marks the last time that watching March Madness will be an all-day affair, with mostly primetime games from the Sweet 16 on. With that said, take a look at how to catch every matchup along with odds for each.All Your Bracket EssentialsDownload the Printable BracketPlay the Free Bracket Challenge!Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark, last updated March 20Best Games for SaturdayNo. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 N.C. StateA comprehensive showing of dominance from top-seeded Villanova in its East Region opener over No. 16 Lafayette sent a message to the rest of the region, but N.C. State may have been too busy getting by LSU to focus on such things.It took a buzzer-beating hook shot from BeeJay Anya to send the Wolfpack through to the third round and past the Tigers in a 66-65 win, but the 33-2 Wildcats await for a Saturday thriller. No team in the second round posted a more impressive winalbeit against a No. 16 seedthan Villanova in its 39-point rout.Along with an inspiring comeback Thursday, the Wolfpack can rely on their earlier performances in wins over Duke and Louisville to give them the confidence that they can pull off a shocker Saturday. But after the Wildcats' all-around offensive performance Thursday, it will be an uphill battle to do so, per CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein:It doesn't seem possible that the N.C. State guards will have another off-performance like Thursday, when its top three backcourt players combined for 15-for-45 shooting. But against Villanova's stingy perimeter defense and balanced scoring on the other end, one or more of the Wolfpack guards will have to go off in order to keep this one close.Given Villanova's statement win in Round 2, many including Logan Booker of ClassicCityToday.com are feeling worried about their upset pick:The Wolfpack will come in confident after hanging tough with the best of the ACC during the regular season, but it has to be concerning that their best three players struggled so much in a must-win game Thursday. Those worries will compound when they look ahead and see one of the nation's best waiting for them.No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 ArkansasBoth No. 4 North Carolina and No. 5 Arkansas had their hands full with second-round affairs that came down to the last possession, but the nation wouldn't be denied of this intriguing round-of-32 matchup between two athletic rosters.The Razorbacks were pushed to the limit in an upset bid by No. 12 Wofford but proved they can pull out the victory in a defensive slugfestsomething they didn't prove much during the season. Bobby Portis took advantage of his mismatches, but holding Wofford to just 18-of-57 shooting was the difference.A similar defensive performance will be hard to come by against the Tar Heels, who pack a scoring punch at all spots of the floor with Marcus Paige in the backcourt and Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson down low. They have three more losses than Arkansas, but in the cutthroat ACC that has made them battle tested.North Carolina's superiority isn't much of a doubt, as CBS Sports' Gary Parrish told ESPN's Paul Finebaum:With that said, Michael Qualls' emergence could help to even it up a bit. The Razorbacks' second-leading scorer poured in 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting against Wofford, and at 6'6" he possesses the athleticism and skill set to match up against North Carolina's lanky frontcourt players.If Qualls can win some of his matchups on the perimeter, it will open up Portisthe SEC Player of the Yearfor one-on-one opportunities, and it remains to be seen whether the Tar Heels can effectively match up on him in that regard. But with UNC's advantage on the perimeter, that will be needed and then some for the Razorbacks to stay in this one.
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