Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
With Winter quickly turning into Spring and February turning to March, the time for madness has come. March Madness will not be restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with all of the craziness happening in the country, why not add sports chaos? March Madness is the time of the year where the number 15-seed team has the opportunity to take down the number two-seed team. Simply put, winners and losers are born in March. The competition is an annual basketball tournament held specifically for NCAA Division I programs. As they say after punching your ticket to the tournament, “let’s go dancing.”
The selection for the final 67 teams that will be participating in the tournament was finalized on Sunday, March 14. Following the selection ceremony, teams are placed into brackets. After the brackets have been made, the start of the “First Four” begins. The “First Four” represents the initial games to be played prior to the tournament to see the last four teams that will make the NCAA tournament. Those games will take place on Thursday, Mar. 18 and the first round of the NCAA tournament will take place on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 starting at 12 P.M ET. The next two days, March 21-22 will then be the second round, followed by the Sweet 16 starting on Mar. 27 and running through Mar. 28. The Elite 8 will then be played the following two days, Mar. 29-30,with the Final four being held a few days later on April 3, starting at 5 P.M. Finally, the NCAA championship game will take place on Saturday, April 5 at 9 P.M.
The one major change to this year’s tournament is the place in which it is being held. The NCAA tournament is normally hosted by the number one seeds in the first two rounds, but due to COVID-19 restrictions the entire tournament will be held in different parts of Indiana. The bulk of games will take place in the capital city of Indianapolis. The one good thing to come out of the tournament taking place in one state is that all the games will be televised. The selection show will be held on CBS, with the “First Four,” first and second round games being held on either TBS or CBS, and the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four, and championship game taking place on CBS.
Normally, to determine the seeding, 32 conference tournaments would be held, but with the Ivy League opting to not participate this year, only 31 conference tournaments will be held. Most of the tournaments will be held the week prior to the selection ceremony, and from there, teams will know if they are a high seed team or a team fighting to make the tournament. The Atlantic Sun (ASUN) conference has already held their tournament with Liberty, punching their ticket into the March Madness bracket. The Big South was won by Winthrop, and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) was won by Drexel. The Horizon League has been won by Cleveland State, while the Missouri Valley Conference was won by Loyola Chicago. Mount St. Mary’s and Morehead State will represent the Northeast and Ohio Valley conference, respectively. Meanwhile, the Southern and Summit League has been won by UNC Greensboro and Oral Roberts. Rounding out the finished conference tournaments is Appalachian State and Gonzaga. App State took the Sun Belt crown, while the nation’s number-one ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs escaped to win the West Coast Conference (WCC).
For all the sports bettors of the world, Gonzaga is sitting as the favorite to win the entire tournament with +275 odds, while Baylor sits at +300 and Michigan at +400 per the BetMGM Sportsbook. For the sports fanatics, don’t forget to fill out the March Madness brackets and let the madness begin!