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March Madness Viewing Guide - 3/10/2020

Watching small schools go dancing is one of the best parts of March.

NCAA Basketball: Vermont at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

March Madness can be overwhelming. In less than two weeks, you’ll have some sixty odd teams you’ve never seen play on your television. Of course, you want to know more about that 13 seed from the Southland conference than Joe Schmoe at work, right? Especially when Auburn inevitably draws that team in the first round.

Well if that’s the case, you may as well start keeping an eye out now. Each day until Selection Sunday, we’re going to be providing you with the guide for every game you need to watch as an Auburn fan. Whether it’s teams Auburn is competing with for a bubble spot, or teams that Auburn could draw in a first round matchup, we’re going to list them right here for you.

If last night’s slate was a light, healthy snack, tonight’s games are straight candy - not much heft or anything of substance (for the average Auburn fan, at least), but a ton of pure fun in watching these small conference teams clinch a spot in the Tournament.

What to Watch - Tuesday, 3/10

Team to Watch Opponent Time (CT) Channel Tournament
Team to Watch Opponent Time (CT) Channel Tournament
Vermont (13/12) UMBC 6:00 PM ESPN+ AEC Semifinal
Northern Kentucky (16/16) UIC 6:00 PM ESPN Horizon Championship
Robert Morris (16/16) St. Francis 6:00 PM ESPN2 NEC Championship
Hofstra (14/13) Northeastern 6:00 PM CBSSN CAA Championship
Gonzaga (1/1) St. Mary's 8:00 PM ESPN WCC Championship
NDSU (15/15) North Dakota 8:00 PM ESPN2 Summit Championship

NOTE: The numbers in parentheses represent the projected seeds by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and teamrankings.com, respectively.

In the 6:00 PM slot, I’ve marked off four games as ones you may want to watch. Two of the teams, Vermont and Hofstra, have a chance of lining up with Auburn in the first round. Vermont will only be playing in the AEC Semifinals tonight, but if they can win their next two games, they’ll be able to boast Tournament appearances in three of the last four years. Hofstra, meanwhile, looks to take home the CAA crown tonight. Doing so would be momentous for their program, as they haven’t been to the big dance since 2001 (under now Villanova coach Jay Wright), and they’ve never won an NCAA Tournament game. It would take Auburn winning the SEC to get into 4-seed range to draw the Pride, but stranger things have happened.

Also on the 6:00 docket, the Horizon and NEC Championships are a battle for 16 seeds. Both Lunardi and TeamRankings predict Northern Kentucky and Robert Morris to win those games, but I’ll be the first to admit to never having seen any of them play. There’s not a ton of value here for watching as an Auburn fan, but again - who doesn’t love watching these conference championship games? These are likely the biggest games some of these guys will ever play in. The passion and intensity of these games, especially in the last few minutes, are must-see tv for anyone who loves sports.

At 8:00, there’s two more championship games. One could have major bubble implications, as Gonzaga will be in the tournament even with a loss tonight. St. Mary’s has to win to get in, though, and they would steal a bid from somebody trying to sneak in the back of the Tournament by doing so. I would keep an eye on the score in this one, and maybe flip over before bed if it’s tight.

On ESPN2 at the same time, we get an in-state rivalry for the Summit League Championship. North Dakota State looks to be the favorite, and they likely wouldn’t be in play to match up with Auburn, but it still could be a fun watch if things are dicey late. I know the NDSU/UND rivalry isn’t quite the Iron Bowl, but an in-state conference championship game can definitely provide some drama.