The NCAA Tournament kicked off last night, with Dayton hosting two of the First Four games. In the very first matchup of the tournament a player tried to grab his own teammate by the throat on sideline, so it’s safe to say that things are off to an auspicious start. Georgetown is obviously not playing this year, and while we wait for something...anything...to come from the administration, let’s try to distract ourselves with the fact that opening weekend of March Madness is still a glorious four day marathon of wall-to-wall basketball.
For the Big East, action starts tonight when Providence meets the University of Southern California. If you’re struggling to find a reason (beyond conference loyalty) to root against USC, it may be useful to know that the Trojans’ head coach is Andy Enfield, formerly of FGCU.
The early rounds mostly involve cheering for upsets, chaos and the occasional meteor strike, but with seven Big East teams in the field, there are more than a few meaningful games to keep an eye out for.
Tonight (March 15)
- #11 Providence vs. #11 USC - 9:10 pm on TruTV
Thursday (March 16)
- #4 Butler vs. #13 Winthrop - 1:30pm on TNT
- #6 Maryland vs. #11 Xavier - 6:50pm on TNT
- #1 Villanova vs. #16 Mount St. Mary’s - 7:10pm on CBS
Friday (March 17)
- #8 Arkansas vs. #9 Seton Hall - 1:30pm on TNT
- (If necessary) #6 SMU vs. #11 Providence - 3:10pm on TruTV
- #6 Creighton vs. #11 Rhode Island - 4:30pm on TBS
- #7 South Carolina vs. #10 Marquette - 9:50pm on TBS
Do you think that you (or your pet/child/houseplant) know more about picking basketball games than the other people on this site? Here’s your chance to prove it! You have until Thursday at noon to submit your picks for the Casual Bracket Contest. If you plan to watch games on your phone or other device, it’s a good idea to download or update the March Madness Live app now so that you aren’t scrambling right before tipoff.
I present to you the complete bracket, in all of its glory. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can even get a printable copy here:
The full lineup for the opening round games, as listed on NCAA.com, is posted below. If announcer pairings are an important factor in determining your viewing schedule, they can all be found here.
And so it begins! The tournament, the annual arguments & rationalizations over whether it’s ever acceptable to cheer for Villanova, and the chance to eat unholy amounts of white cheddar popcorn...
(Maybe that last one is just me.)