Here’s the Post’s guide to Thursday’s six can’t-miss NCAA Tournament games:
(10) Iowa vs. (7) Cincinnati
The second day of the tournament gets started with a compelling contrast of styles: Iowa’s high-octane offense against Cincinnati’s stifling defense. Led by guard Jordan Bohannon, Iowa ranks ninth in offensive efficiency, while the Bearcats allow just 62.2 points per game, 12th fewest in the nation.
(13) UC Irvine vs. (4) Kansas St.
2 p.m., TBS
One of the more popular upset picks in the first round, UC Irvine draws a Kansas State team that will be without star big man Dean Wade. The Anteaters have yet to win an NCAA Tournament game, and this is just their second appearance, but win or lose at least they have a great mascot.
(11) Arizona St. vs. (6) Buffalo
4 p.m., TNT
Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State team beat St. John’s in the First Four on Wednesday, and now the former New Jersey prep star can take out his former employer. Hurley got his head-coaching start at Buffalo in 2013, lasting two seasons for jumping to Arizona State. Buffalo hasn’t been struggling in his absence, though, going to the NCAA Tournament in three of four seasons under Hurley’s replacement, Nate Oats.
(12) Oregon vs. (5) Wisconsin
4:30 p.m., TBS
After winning the Pac-12 Tournament to sneak into the field, Oregon is getting hot at the right time of year. The Ducks disappointed for most of the season, but led by junior guard Payton Pritchard, who has Final Four experience, they will be a tough out for the Ethan Happ-led Badgers.
(12) Liberty vs. (5) Mississippi State
7:27 p.m., truTV
UCLA fans may want to avoid watching this game. It features Liberty, a basketball program with all of zero NCAA Tournament victories, a team which beat UCLA this season, against a Mississippi State team coached by Ben Howland, who led the now struggling Bruins to three consecutive Final Fours before being fired after the 2013 season.
(9) UCF vs. (8) VCU
9:40 p.m., CBS
This intriguing matchup of mid-majors may just be to see who gets to be routed by Duke in the second round, but a UCF victory would create a matchup of Johnny Dawkins against his alma mater. Plus, the Knights feature 7-foot-6 big man Tacko Fall, a player you have to see to believe.