ORLANDO, Fla. – March Madness is here! Here is what to know, including the favorites and underdogs as well as key games and how to watch the NCAA tournament:
TOP SEEDS The top four seeds in the tournament are Alabama, Houston, Kansas, and Purdue.
Each is in a region, some tougher than others (on paper).
We break them down for you:
EAST REGION: The Boilermakers got a No. 1 seed for the fourth time after edging Penn State 67-65 in the Big Ten championship game, but they face potential hurdles in Memphis and surging Duke. Memphis (26-8) is fresh from a big upset of top-ranked Houston and led by Kendric Davis. Duke (26-8) shut down Virginia in a 59-49 ACC title game win.
SOUTH REGION: Alabama is a No. 1 seed for the first time after sweeping the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles behind league player of the year Brandon Miller, capped by an 82-63 romp over Texas A&M. They will open the tourney not far from home, in Birmingham, Alabama. Potential hurdles for the Crimson Tide could include Baylor, Arizona. There’s an intriguing early matchup between No. 5 seed San Diego State and No. 12 Charleston, which has 31 wins. Furman is making its first tourney appearance since 1980.
MIDWEST REGION: Houston (31-3) got a top seed despite stumbling 75-65 against unranked Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game, minus league player of the year Marcus Sasser (strained groin). They will open against Northern Kentucky (22-12). Potential hurdles could include Penn State, which took Purdue down to the wire in the Big Ten, and SEC Tournament runner-up Texas A&M.
WEST REGION: The Jayhawks fell 76-56 to Texas in the Big 12 championship game and they wound up with the top seed in a stacked region. They will open against Howard (22-12), making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992. Potential hurdles include No. 6 TCU (21-12), which beat Kansas at Allen Field House 83-60 on Jan. 21.
Orlando’s Amway Center is set to host eight teams and six games on March 16 and 18. The University of Central Florida hosts the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
The first-round Orlando games are as follows:
Virginia vs. Furman 12:40 p.m.
Charleston vs. San Diego State 3:10 p.m.
Duke vs. Oral Roberts 7:10 p.m.
Tennessee vs. LA-Lafayette 9:40 p.m.
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 7 Texas A&M (25-9) vs. No. 10 Penn State (22-13). The Aggies, who felt snubbed last season, are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018, and the Nittany Lions’ drought dated to 2011. Both flirted with league tournament titles.
HOW TO WATCH
Every game of the men’s tournament will be aired somewhere, either on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV and their digital platforms. CBS will have the Final Four semifinals and national title game this year.
There are multiple sites listing game times, channel and announcing team, including the NCAA and CBS. The NCAA will again stream games via its March Madness Live option and CBS games will be streamed on Paramount+.
Who’s going to win the national championship? With the regular season over, the betting favorites as of this week to reach the Final Four are Houston, Alabama, Kansas and Purdue, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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