March Madness 2014 Bracket: Dates, Locations, Venues and Bubble-Team Predictions

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March Madness 2014 Bracket: Dates, Locations, Venues and Bubble-Team Predictions
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Selection Sunday is the biggest day in college basketball. On March 16, 66 teams will find out if they are invited to the Big Dance, and if so, where they are seeded.

Some teams are locks, so the drama is based on whether their regular season resumes will be enough to garner a No. 1 seed in their regional.

Click here to see ESPN's Joe Lunardi's predicted bracket.

Here's a look at the dates, locations and venues for each round of the NCAA tournament.

 

First Four

The newest addition to the NCAA tournament format. The four lowest-seeded conference champions and lowest seeded at-large bids battle it out for a chance to reach the field of 64, per ESPN.com.

First Round

March 18-19 at UD Arena (Dayton, Ohio)

 

The Journey to the Sweet 16

Formally known as the first and second round of the tournament, this stage is now the second and third round. Teams that survive these two stages will advance to the Sweet 16.

Second-Third Rounds

March 20, 22

Venues

  • East - First Niagara Center (Buffalo, N.Y.)
  • Midwest - BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee)
  • South - Amway Center (Orlando, Fla.)
  • West - Veterans Memorial Arena (Spokane, Wash.)

March 21, 23

Venues

  • East - PNC Arena (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • South - AT&T Center (San Antonio)
  • West - Viejas Arena (San Diego)
  • Midwest - Scottrade Center (St. Louis)

 

The Regionals

Winners of the first games will advance to the Elite Eight and have a chance to become champions of the region. Those teams will advance to the Final Four.

 

South Regional

March 27, 29

FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)

West Regional

March 27, 29
Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)

East Regional

March 28, 30
Madison Square Garden (New York)

Midwest Regional

March 28, 30
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

 

The Final Four

This year, the national championship will be decided in the Lone Star state. Can Louisville make it back to defend its title, or will it be tripped up before it can reach AT&T Stadium?

 

National Semifinals

April 5
AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

Championship Game

April 7
AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

 

Bubble Team Predictions

Nebraska Cornhuskers, 17-11

Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Nebraska still has two more regular-season games remaining. It would obviously be great for them to win both of them. The Cornhuskers will play at Indiana on March 5 and finish up the regular season against the Wisconsin Badgers on March 9.

Splitting the last two games would get them to 17 wins, but despite how strong the Big Ten is this year, that's not the most comfortable spot to be in.

The Cornhuskers will need at least one win in the Big Ten tournament to feel good about their chances to reach the NCAA tournament.

Prediction: NIT bound

 

California Golden Bears, 18-11

Some pundits believe the Golden Bears have already done enough to reach the NCAA tournament, but I'm not so sure. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead seems to indicate Cal is a lock in this tweet:

The Golden Bears did knock off the Arizona Wildcats on Feb. 1. They also have impressive road wins over Stanford and Oregon. That said, Mike Montgomery’s team also has embarrassing losses to UC Santa Barbara and USC on its resume. To compound concerns, the team has also lost its last two games. 

Montgomery didn't look too confident in his post-game interview after Cal’s latest loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. 

There are two very winnable home games left on the regular season schedule for the Bears.

Montgomery's team should handle Utah and Colorado at home. If the Golden Bears win out, they will get to the coveted 20-win plateau. That should be enough to clinch an at-large bid. However, if Cal slips in any of the last two regular season games, they could be biting their nails on Selection Sunday.

Prediction: NCAA bound

 

Minnesota Golden Gophers, 18-12

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Which team is most likely to be left out of the NCAA tournament field?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The Gophers are a curious case. They are in the Big Ten and on the bubble like Nebraska, but their status is even shakier. Minny lost its lone head-to-head matchup against Nebraska back on Jan. 26, so if the committee has to decide between the two—which is not a crazy thought—the Golden Gophers might be the team left out.

That said, at this point in the season, I believe Minnesota is the better team.

If the Gophers beat Penn State in the regular season finale, and win a game or two in the Big Ten tournament, they should be fine.

Prediction: NCAA bound

 

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