March Madness Primer: What is the NCAA tournament schedule?

NCAA March Madness
NCAA March Madness / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

With the arrival of selection Sunday, many hoops fans are thinking about the college game, March Madness, and the NCAA Tournament. There’s no break in the NBA schedule, but the general public definitely shifts its attention to the iconic tournament.

Many NBA players rose to fame playing college basketball and made names for themselves during March, in the NCAA Tournament. The Nuggets have several players who went through the rigors of the tournament and will undoubtedly be watching their schools move through the bracket this year. 

Here’s a look at everything you’ll need to know so that you can clear your schedule and consume as much basketball as possible.

When is selection Sunday?

Sunday, March 17th is the final day of conference tournaments. The selection show will start at 6 PM EST on CBS. They will reveal the bracket, one team at a time until the entire 68-team field is set.

When does the tournament start?

The “first four” will take place in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday, March 19th, and Wednesday, March 20th. The last eight teams will play to narrow the field to just 64 teams and give us a full, traditional bracket.

Okay, but when does the real tournament start?

The tournament as a whole, will get underway Thursday, March 21st at noon EST on CBS. Games will be played at four different venues, with four games at each. The other half of the first round will follow the same schedule on Friday.

The second round will be split between Saturday and Sunday, and by the end of March 24th, we’ll be down to 16 teams.

When is the Sweet 16 and Elite 8?

From there, the Sweet 16 will be played on Thursday, March 28th, and Friday, March 29th. The Elite 8 will immediately follow, being played on Saturday, March 30th, and Sunday, March 31st. By the end of March, we will have our Final Four.

When and where is the Final Four?

This year’s Final Four will take place in Phoenix, Arizona at State Farm Stadium. The first semifinal will take place on Saturday, April 6th, tipping off just after 6 PM EST and the other semifinal will be played immediately following the first.

The winning teams will advance to the Championship Game, which will be played in the same arena on Monday, April 8th. Buckle up for a great month of basketball.