The college hoops dilettantes in your office NCAA Tournament pool won’t know it, but the Big Dance starts today. Yes, the familiar brackets will feature Duke, Kentucky and many more of the usual suspects–but who else? Today will tell a good part of the story. 14 men’s basketball teams get their tickets to the tournament stamped today–14! That’s almost a whole region right there. That tricky upper left quadrant of your pool? Could be entirely populated by teams that earn their berths today.
Plenty of teams are already packed: Belmont, Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa, North Florida, Northeastern, Wofford, Manhattan–for starters–have all secured bids. But today promises a frenetic day of college basketball craziness full of conference championships and passion. The NCAA tournament begins in earnest today–at least a full region’s worth of it–even if you can’t print out your bracket yet. Will it be Yale or Harvard (4:00pm) as the likely 16th seed? Or do you prefer the North Carolina v. Notre Dame (8:30pm) for the ACC title? Purdue vs. Wisconsin for the Big Ten ticket? It’s a big day. ALL GAMES listed here. All the ESPN channels will be hoops heavy.