College BasketballDownload App

March Madness 2014: Dates, Predictions, TV Schedule and Bracket Analysis

Mar 14, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA;  Syracuse Orange forward Jerami Grant (3) and guard Tyler Ennis (11) and forward C.J. Fair (5) and guard Trevor Cooney (10) and forward Rakeem Christmas (25) during player introductions in the quarterfinals of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

All that's left is the basketball. The 68-team field for the 2014 NCAA tournament was revealed on Sunday.

All Your Bracket Essentials:

Credit: Bleacher Report

There isn't a better part of the NCAA tournament than what's now considered the second and third rounds. You get wall-to-wall basketball for four days and plenty of upsets.

That said, Selection Sunday is pretty close behind.    

There's so much optimism in the air.

Those conference champions moving into a No. 16 or 15 seed have a few moments of solace and happiness before the harsh reality of the situation sets in. Teams with Final Four hopes can still dream before their tournament comes to a premature end.

On Selection Sunday, anything is possible.

In the end, though, there can only be one.

Here's a quick look at each of the four regions and which team will end up coming out on top.

 

TV Schedule (courtesy of Sports Media Watch)

2014 NCAA Tournament TV Schedule
Tuesday, March 18 (Dayton)Time (ET)Station
First Four (Game 1)6:30 p.m.TruTV
First Four (Game 2)9 p.m.TruTV
Wednesday, March 19 (Dayton)Time (ET)Station
First Four (Game 3)6:30 p.m.TruTV
First Four (Game 4)9 p.m.TruTV
Thursday, March 20 (Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Spokane)Time (ET)Station
Second RoundNoon, 2:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.CBS
Second Round12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:55 p.m.TruTV
Second Round1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m.TBS
Second Round2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m.TNT
Friday, March 21 (Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis)Time (ET)Station
Second RoundNoon, 2:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.CBS
Second Round12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:55 p.m.TruTV
Second Round1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m.TBS
Second Round2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m.TNT
Saturday, March 22 (Buffalo, Milwaukee, Orlando, Spokane)Time (ET)Station
Third RoundNoon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.CBS
Third Round6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.TNT
Third Round7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.TBS
Sunday, March 23 (Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis)Time (ET)Station
Third RoundNoon, 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.CBS
Third Round6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.TNT
Third Round7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.TBS
Third Round7:30 p.m.TruTV
Thursday, March 27 (Memphis, Anaheim)Time (ET)Station
Sweet 167 p.m., 9:30 p.m.CBS
Sweet 167:15 p.m., 9:55 p.m.TBS
Friday, March 28 (New York, Indianapolis)Time (ET)Station
Sweet 167 p.m., 9:30 p.m.CBS
Sweet 167:15 p.m., 9:55 p.m.TBS
Saturday, March 29 (Memphis, Anaheim)Time (ET)Station
Elite Eight6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.TBS
Sunday, March 30 (New York, Indianapolis)Time (ET)Station
Elite Eight6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.TBS
Saturday, April 5 (Arlington)Times (ET)Stations
Final Four (Game 1), Final Four Game 26 p.m., 8:30 p.m.TBS, TNT, TruTV
Monday, April 7 (Arlington)TimeStation
National Championship Game9 p.m.CBS
Sports Media Watch

All games can be live-streamed on March Madness Live.

 

Region Predictions

South

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 16:  Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators celebrates their 61 to 60 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the Championship game of the 2014 Men's SEC Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 16, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Florida will be the favorite in this region. The Gators feature a well-balanced offense and one of the best defenses in the country. No matter the situation, they've never lost their cool, as evidenced by the 61-60 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC championship game.

The biggest threats to Florida are arguably Syracuse, UCLA and Ohio State. Until Joel Embiid's health problems are resolved, Kansas is in trouble. Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reported that the freshman phenom's back is "improving":

I'm picking the upset here. The Orange's zone defense will cause problems for the Gators offense in the Elite Eight, and they'll get a huge performance from C.J. Fair to advance to the Final Four. Jim Boeheim has a habit of taking teams much further than they should go in the NCAA tournament.

Prediction: Syracuse

 

West

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Who did Arizona butter up on the selection committee?

USA Today's Nicole Auerbach isn't the only one thinking that the Wildcats have an easier road to the Final Four than Florida:

The Seattle Times' Jerry Brewer thinks Arizona's toughest game could come in the second round against Oklahoma State:

It's hard to see who else could win this region. Creighton is too dependent on Doug McDermott. Wisconsin has a much better offense than it has had in the past, but it may not hold up if the scores get too high. Baylor is on a major hot streak, but the Bears' defense has been only marginal for most of the season. And San Diego State lost to the Wildcats at home earlier in the season.

Losing the Pac-12 tournament final also may have steeled the Wildcats players ahead of the NCAA tournament.

Prediction: Arizona

 

Midwest

Mar 15, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; America Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco presents the trophy to Louisville Cardinals forward Luke Hancock guard Russ Smith and forward Montrezl Harrell after the game against the Connecticut Huskies in final of
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe Rick Pitino needs to be a little more subtle with his hints to the selection committee. After Louisville won the AAC conference title, the Cardinals head coach said he felt his team should be a No. 1 seed, though humbly submitting that his team wouldn't get a No. 1 seed, per ESPN's Andy Katz:

The committee must have taken exception to that brash statement, as the defending national champions were handed a No. 4 seed.

It shouldn't hurt Louisville's chances of going back to back too much.

Michigan has been too inconsistent this season at times, with the losses to Indiana, Iowa and Charlotte standing out. Wichita State could have its hands full with Kentucky in the second round. And you never know what you're getting with Duke sometimes.

The Cardinals are largely the same team as the one that won the national title last season, so they've earned the right to be called king until someone knocks them off.

Prediction: Louisville

 

East

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

You can't help but root for Iowa State in this region. Fred Hoiberg is a tremendous coach, and for him to deliver a Final Four to the school would be such a great story. As Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis pointed out last night, this is a guy who has been Iowa State through and through his entire life:

The Cyclones are coming off a big win against Baylor in the Big 12 tournament final, and as a result, many are thinking Final Four, per CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein:

And why not?

Iowa State has a great triumvirate of stars in Melvin Ejim, Georges Niang and DeAndre Kane. It's so hard to stop all three, so teams are often limited to shutting down only one or two and hoping the other guy doesn't go off.

As long as the Cyclones' spotty defense can perform as it did against the Bears in the Big 12 final, Iowa State should be making the trip to Arlington.

Prediction: Iowa State

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices