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NCAA Tournament Day 1 Preview: How will the first day of March Madness go?

In its first year under the March Madness label, the women’s basketball tournament begins with a slate of intriguing matchups between some strong teams.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 09 Womens - UConn at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Friday is the day that the Round of 64 in the first year of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament officially begins.

This year is a milestone year for the women’s tournament, as this is their first year when: they get to share the March Madness label with the men’s tournament, the field is expanded to 68 teams just like the men, and they even got to share Selection Sunday with the men as well.

The tournament hits the ground running this year as we will immediately get to see several top-3 seeds such as South Carolina, Stanford, Louisville, Iowa and Maryland all suit up on the first day.

3 Key Matchups

No. 10 South Dakota vs. No. 7 Ole Miss

When: Friday, March 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

How to watch: ESPN2

Notes: The South Dakota Coyotes come in on a nine-game winning streak, including a Summit League title win over their in-state rival, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Both teams are strong defensively, allowing less than 60 points per game, so this should be a slugfest of the highest kind.

No. 9 Georgia Tech vs. No. 8 Kansas

When: Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA

How to watch: ESPNU

Notes: Georgia Tech is one of the top defensive teams in the nation with one of the top defensive players and WNBA draft prospects in Lorela Cubaj. They will be a tough team to contend with in the month of March. The Jayhawks must be able to create space and really spread the floor if they want to have a chance.

No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 6 Georgia

When: Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: James H. Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA

How to watch: ESPNews

Notes: Even though neither team won their respective conference, both teams are incredibly tough defensively and will certainly push each other’s limits physically. What this game will come down to is the ability of these two teams to make timely shots and get key stops when absolutely necessary.

The day’s other games

No. 9 South Florida vs. No. 8 Miami, 11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 10 Creighton vs. No. 7 Colorado, 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPNews
No. 16 Howard vs. No. 1 South Carolina, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 12 FGCU vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
No. 9 Gonzaga vs. No. 8 Nebraska, 3:30 p.m ET, ESPNews
No. 15 Hawai’i vs. No. 2 Baylor, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 15 Illinois State vs. No. 2 Iowa, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 13 Delaware vs. No. 4 Maryland, 5 p.m. ET, ESPNU
No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 7 Utah, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNews
No. 16 Albany vs. No. 1 Louisville, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 15 Fairfield vs. No. 2 Texas, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 16 Montana State vs. No. 1 Stanford, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 14 UT Arlington vs. No. 3 Iowa State, 10 p.m. ET, ESPNU