Weekend Watchdog: Bracket Buster Time
It’s the weekend of the annual BracketBusters, where teams from mid-major conferences battle against each other to get ready for March Madness.
VCU hosts Northern Iowa Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, then Saturday play opens at noon with Wichita at Davidson on ESPN2. Akron visits Oral Roberts at 2 p.m. and it’s Nevada-Iona at 4 p.m. The night concludes at 10 p.m. when Long Beach State goes to Creighton.
St. Mary’s plays one-loss Murray State on ESPN at 6 p.m.
Among the big boys, the ACC network has two games Thursday at 9 p.m. – Duke vs. N.C. State or Boston College at Maryland. Saturday at 1 p.m., Virginia hosts Maryland while Florida State travels to N.C. State.
CBS has either UCLA-St. John’s or UNLV-New Mexico Saturday at 1 p.m. Sunday, Michigan State takes on Purdue.
Thursday on ESPN, there’s a top 20 battle in the Big Ten as Wisconsin meets Michigan State. West Virginia and Pittsburgh have their Backyard Brawl at 9 p.m.
Saturday starts in the Big East with Marquette-Connecticut at noon. Missouri faces Texas A&M at 2 p.m. before Clemson heads to North Carolina. The GameDay crew will be at Michigan for the game with Ohio State at 9 p.m.
Rutgers meets Syracuse Sunday at 1 p.m.
Virginia Tech takes on Florida State Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, followed by Vanderbilt-Mississippi and Gonzaga meeting Santa Clara. Taking a break from BracketBusters, ESPN2 shows Arkansas hosting Florida Saturday at 6 p.m.
Sunday, Big East gets coverage on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. as South Florida visits Pittsburgh.
Comcast has a Pac-12 twinbill Thursday – Arizona vs. Washington State at 9 p.m. before Arizona State faces Washington. The ACC takes the stage Saturday, as Wake Forest goes to Miami at 1 p.m. before Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech. Late night, it’s Arizona against Washington. It’s back to the Pac-12 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with Oregon battling Stanford.
MASN goes to the Northeast Conference Thursday for Fairleigh-Dickenson’s game with Mt. St. Mary’s at 7 p.m.
There’s three Big East games on MASN Saturday, starting at noon with Louisville at DePaul. Seton Hall visits Cincinnati at 4 p.m. and Providence battles Georgetown at 7 p.m.
On NBC Sports network, San Diego State takes on Air Force Saturday at 4 p.m.
The new year of NASCAR starts Saturday at 8 p.m. on FOX, with the best drivers matching up in the Bud Shootout. Sunday at 1 p.m., qualifying starts for the Daytona 500. The top two will be starting up front when the Great American Race goes next Sunday.
The Celtics visit the Bulls Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT, followed by Clippers-Blazers. ESPN’s doubleheader Friday starts at 8 p.m. with the Mavericks in Philadephia, then the Suns battle the Lakers. Sunday at 8 p.m., the Nuggets meet the Thunder.
Lin-sanity comes to ABC Sunday when Dallas visits the Knicks at 1 p.m., followed by Orlando vs. Miami.
The Wizards head west this weekend, playing at Utah Friday at 9 p.m. on Comcast-plus.
NBC has its Hockey Day in America Sunday. There’s regional coverage of three games at noon – San Jose vs. Detroit, Penguins at Sabres and St. Louis against Chicago – before Boston visits Minnesota at 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network closes the day with the Devils at Montreal at 6 p.m.
The Capitals visit Florida Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and Tampa Bay Saturday at 7 p.m.
CBS carries the Northern Trust Open Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Dartmouth faces Yale in college ice hockey Friday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
In Big East women’s basketball, Marquette faces Syracuse at 2 p.m. Saturday on MASN. ESPN2 has a pair of games Sunday, with Maryland against Duke at 3 p.m. and Purdue-Michigan State at 5 p.m., while Comcast shows Florida State-Miami Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Spring sports loom on college campuses, and NBC Sports network has a lacrosse doubleheader – Denver vs. Ohio State at 2 p.m. before Navy takes on Jacksonville.