Your Guide To March Madness 2018
As Selection Sunday approaches, fans across the country are checking betting sites and gearing up for the annual three-week journey known as March Madness. Conference tournaments will finish over the second weekend in March leading up to the selection of the field of 68. The NCAA Tournament will commence on March 17 with the play of the First Four and end with the national championship game on April 6. Here’s a look at the schedule.
Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
Second & Third Rounds
March 19, 21
Where: Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, FL
KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Rose Garden, Portland, OR
March 20, 22
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
CenturyLink Arena, Omaha, NE
Key Arena, Seattle, WA
March 26, 28
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
March 26, 28
Where: Staples Arena, Los Angeles, CA
March 27, 29
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
March 27, 29
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
April 4, 6
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Your Surprise Preview Of This Year’s NCAA Tournament
There is no surprise who will be this year’s overall No. 1 seed. Top-ranked Kentucky, which finished the regular season a perfect 31-0, will enter the tourney as the SEC regular season champ and most likely the SEC tournament winner as well. It is also no shock that the Wildcats are favored to win the Big Dance. Most betting sites agree that head coach John Calipari’s squad will wind up as the national champion.
Since 1985, a No. 12 seed has won a first round game on 44 different occasions. It is the beauty of what fans love as March Madness. It is also why many will head to betting sites and try to capitalize on at least one upset in this year’s tournament.
So, get ready and start preparing for your March Madness bracket. The bracket will be ready to go on Sunday evening after the Selection Show. The live broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 15, on CBS. The 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket will be ready as soon as the entire field of 68 is introduced.
Will an unranked team wind up in the Sweet 16? It’s hard to tell, but it is highly possible. One team that could surprise the entire field is Ohio Valley Conference champion Murray State, if they get into the tourney. The Racers breezed through their league schedule finishing 16-0 in OVC play and 27-5 overall, but lost 88-87 to Belmont in the OVC tournament final. Murray State had won 25 in a row before the loss to OVC East division champ Belmont.
The Bruins (22-10, 11-5) will receive the OVC automatic berth as the conference champion. Murray State will have to hope that the NCAA tournament committee sees the Racers as worthy of an at-large bid. Fourth-year head coach Steve Prohm made the tourney in his first season, 2011-12, and was the CIT champion last season. Sophomore guard Cameron Payne leads the team scoring 20.3 points a game and dishing out 5.8 assists per contest.
If there is a sleeper that will continue on to the Elite Eight, it could come from a slew of bubble contenders. Last year, Tennessee and Stanford both reached the Sweet 16 while Dayton, which had to win in the First Four, wound up in the Elite Eight. This year, there will be teams like tournament seasoned Michigan State, Oregon, St. John’s and N.C. State with the potential to win multiple games. Of the group, the Wolfpack, should they be invited, could be the team to that slips into the Sweet 16.
Head coach Mark Gottfried’s club finished 20-13 overall, 10-8 in the ACC and played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They have marquee wins over No. 2 Duke, No. 14 Louisville, and No. 19 North Carolina. The Wolfpack lost by four to a then No. 2 ranked Virginia and dropped a three-point overtime decision to eighth-ranked Notre Dame.
While college basketball fans and betting sites can speculate about what sleepers might win games, they are also forecasting a Final Four. Kentucky, as the No. 1 overall seed, is a favorite to win it all. Besides the Wildcats, there are seven other schools that are legitimate No. 1 seeds. Virginia, Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and Arizona are all potential top seeds. With only four to choose, this may be a year where the No. 2 seed fares better than the No. 1.