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The best games to watch during Day 1 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament

The first round of the NCAA Tournament features a full slate of hoops from noon till midnight. Here’s a look at the games to watch and some to avoid.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Ohio State vs Illinois Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The first two days of the NCAA Tournament provide the ultimate reason to convince others you may be living with to have a multiple-TV setup. With non-stop college basketball for the first round, there can be as many as four games happening at one time.

However if you’re stuck with just one TV, or don’t think you have the eye quickness for four screens at a time (I do, but it took years of training), we’ve got you covered by placing each of Friday’s opening round games into three categories; do not miss, should be good and skip it.

All times Eastern.

Session 1 (Starting at 12:15 p.m.)

Do not miss: The tournament will get started with a good one between the Florida Gators and Virginia Tech Hokies at 12:15 p.m. on CBS, and oddsmakers project this to be one of the closest games of the first day.

The No. 6 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. No. 11 Utah State Aggies is my favorite game of the opening window, and there is enough people taking the Aggies in the upset that it could shake up some brackets early on. This one is on TNT at 1:45 p.m.

Should be good: I’m not too convinced No. 14 Colgate will put much into a scare against the No. 3 Arkansas Razorbacks at 12:45 p.m. on truTV. However, it’s the second game a year after the NCAA Tournament was canceled, so I’ll be watching.

Skip it: We’ve got one game in the first slate you can feel free to avoid in the first set of games, but there’s no complaining during this year’s NCAA Tournament. No. 1 seed Illinois Fighting Illini takes on No. 16 Drexel at 1:15 p.m. on TBS, but I’m not sure we’ll learn a whole lot from this one.

Session 2 (Starting at 3 p.m.)

Do not miss: The eighth-seeded Loyola Ramblers are back in the NCAA Tournament, which means Sister Jean could become the center of attention once again. They are taking on the No. 9 seed Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 4 p.m. on TBS. Take a seat and check this one out.

Should be good: There isn’t too much excitement between either of these teams, but there’s enough of a reason to watch the No. 5 seed Tennessee Volunteers vs. the Oregon State Beavers on TNT at 4:30 p.m. I’ll be watching to see which team is set to lose to my Cinderella team that is the Liberty Flames to get to the Sweet 16.

Skip it: We’ve got a couple games you can just check out the highlights for with No. 15 Oral Roberts taking on the No. 2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes at 3 p.m. on CBS. Also sliding into this category is the No. 1 Baylor Bears and No. 16 Hartford at 3:30 p.m. on truTV.

Session 3 (Starting at 6:25 p.m. ET)

Do not miss: The No. 9 seed Wisconsin Badgers and No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels should be a fun one you definitely should be watching with a very slight point spread. It can be seen on CBS at 7:10 p.m. In addition, the Liberty Flames come in as the No. 13 seed and can definitely make something happen against the Cade Cunningham-led Oklahoma State Cowboys as the 4 seed. This will get started at 6:25 p.m. on TBS.

Should be good: None. It’s hit and miss with this slate.

Skip it: There will be better games on than the No. 2 Houston Cougars and 15th-seeded Cleveland State Vikings when they get together at 7:15 p.m. on truTV. Also, I don’t have much faith the No. 13 seed North Texas Mean Green will put much of a scare into the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers, but it’s on TNT at 7:25 p.m.

Session 4 (Starting at 9:20 p.m. ET)

Do not miss: We’ve got a pair of cannot miss games in the final four games of the day. The No. 11 seed Syracuse Orange vs. No. 6 San Diego State Aztecs is one I’ll be glued to at 9:40 p.m. on CBS, and the No. 12 Winthrop Eagles are a trendy upset pick against the No. 5 Villanova Wildcats without Collin Gillespie. That will tip off at 9:57 p.m. on TNT.

Should be good: Neither team is all that impressive this season, but I’ve never seen what a Rutgers Scarlet Knights NCAA Tournament game looks like in my lifetime, so that could be neat when they come in as the No. 10 seed against the No. 7 Clemson Tigers at 9:20 p.m. on TBS. Also, the No. 3 seed West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 14th-seeded Morehead State is worth tracking on truTV at 9:50 p.m.

Skip it: None. Enjoy every game of the final slate of the day.