COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The eyes of the American sports world will be fixed on Columbus Sunday night with plenty hoping to see something they have never seen before.
Nationwide Arena will close out its March Madness hosting duties on Sunday with its doubleheader of second round games. Four teams in the East region will play for two tickets to next week’s Sweet Sixteen in New York City.
Among those four schools is 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson, who shattered millions of brackets Friday with its historic 63-58 upset win over top-seed Purdue. The Knights became just the second 16-seed to beat a one-seed, but can become the first to win in the second round.
Here is a look at the two games in Columbus on Sunday in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.
5:15 p.m.: No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Marquette
Before FDU takes the floor, two Midwest basketball staples will tip-off the doubleheader at Nationwide Arena as the Michigan State Spartans face the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Spartans charged in the second half to take down the USC Trojans 62-52 on Friday. Four starters scored in double-figures while the team forced 11 turnovers, including seven steals. Tom Izzo’s side is in its 35th consecutive tournament but has not reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2019, the last time they made the Final Four.
While Michigan State last made the Sweet Sixteen four years ago, Marquette is trying to break a decade long streak without wins in the first two rounds. The Golden Eagles strutted to a 78-61 win over 15-seed Vermont behind a 19-point performance from Kameron Jones and shooting nearly 52% from the floor.
The Big East champions last played a Big Ten school in the tournament back in 2007. That was against Michigan State that ended in a 61-49 Spartans win in the first round. Much like that matchup, Sunday’s game in Columbus should be an even contest. The winner will go to Madison Square Garden to play either 6-seed Kentucky or 3-seed Kansas State.
7:45 p.m.: No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 9 FAU
Amongst a large section of college basketball fans or newcomers for March Madness, the second game at Nationwide will be the most anticipated of the second round.
That’s because we could see history as 16-seed FDU has a chance to become the lowest seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen if they can defeat 9-seed Florida Atlantic Sunday night. The Knights defied all odds on Friday with its win and were led by Reynoldsburg native Sean Moore, who led the team with 19 points near his hometown.
Moore and company are hoping not to replicate the last time a 16-seed played a second round game. In 2018, UMBC was fresh off the heels of a 20-point shocker over Virginia as they played 9-seed Kansas State in the second round. The Retrievers lacked bite in its follow-up performance with just 43 points in a seven-point defeat to the Wildcats.
FDU is hoping they can checkmate its next opponent, the Florida Atlantic Owls. FAU earned its first ever March Madness win in a nail-biting 66-65 victory over the Memphis Tigers Friday night. Giancarlo Rosado had a big performance off the bench with 15 points in 21 minutes while Nick Boyd finger rolled the game-winning layup with two seconds to go.
FAU can play spoiler and make its first ever Sweet Sixteen, an unlikely upset story. But a Fairleigh Dickinson victory will add to an already historic underdog story in sports history. Sunday night’s winner will play Tennessee.