NCAA Tournament 2012 Schedule: Key Dates For March Madness

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13: John 'Big Nut' Peters, fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes holds up a sign which reads "March Madness" after they won 71-60 against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the championship game of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

The 2012 NCAA Tournament schedule will begin on March 11, better known to the college basketball world as Selection Sunday. Every weekend will be exciting after that, leading up to the best team in college basketball being crowned on Monday, April 2, in the Louisiana Superdome.

March Madness is steadily creeping closer as college basketball's regular season schedule comes to a close. That means that the 2012 NCAA Tournament is just around the corner with key dates beginning the second week of March.

Conference tournaments are scheduled this year for early March, making Selection Sunday fall on March 11 this year. Once the entire tournament field is announced on that date, the whirlwind tournament schedule begins in full.

The first round -- formerly known as the play-in game -- will be held in Dayton, Ohio, on March 13 with the Final Four commencing in New Orleans, La., at the Louisiana Superdome with the championship game scheduled for Monday, April 2.

The full schedule is included below.

First Round

Date: March 13-14, 2012
Location: UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio

Second & Third Rounds

Dates: March 15-18, 2012
Locations: Rose Garden (Portland, Ore.), The Pit (Albuquerque, N.M.), Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh), KFC Yum! Center (Louisville, Ky.), Nationwide Arena (Columbus, Ohio), CenturyLink Center Omaha (Omaha, Neb.), Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, Tenn.) and the Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, N.C.)

Sweet 16 & Elite 8

Dates: March 22-25, 2012
Locations: TD Garden (Boston), US Airways Center (Phoenix), Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis) and the Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

Final Four

Date: March 31, 2012
Locations: Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans)

Championship Game

Date: April 2, 2012
Locations: Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans)

For more on college basketball, be sure to visit SB Nation's college basketball hub. You can find last year's bracket here.

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