The NCAA Tournament begins this week. Nearly a whole month of thrilling, nail-biting basketball awaits us as 64 teams battle it out for the national championship. But first, we have to get the First Four appetizer out of the way.
The opening round has always had a stigma ever since it had just one game, and the winner was usually a sacrificial lamb for one of the No. 1 seeds. The NCAA has tried to change that, expanding the round to four games and the field to 68 teams. There are still your cannon fodder No. 16 seeds, but there are also a handful of 11 and 13 teams that have a chance to make some actual noise in the tournament. It should certainly make for more interesting basketball than what we usually see out of these opening rounds.
The First Four will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will determine who gets into the final round of 64. Here's the complete schedule and TV listings (all times Eastern):
Tuesday, March 19
No. 16 North Carolina A&T Aggies vs. No. 16 Liberty Flames--6:40 PM, truTV
No. 11 St. Mary's Gaels vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders--9:10 PM, truTV
Wednesday, March 20
No. 16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds vs. No. 16 James Madison Dukes--6:40 PM, truTV
No. 13 La Salle Explorers vs. No. 13 Boise State Broncos--9:10 PM, truTV