NCAA.com released the full schedule for the 2018 Division I men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, with the tournament kicking off with Selection Sunday on March 11 and the Final Four taking place on Saturday, March 31, and the national championship game occurring on Monday, April 2.
The games themselves will start with the First Four on Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14.
As for the rest of the dates:
- First Round: Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16
- Second Round: Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18
- Sweet 16 Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23
- Elite Eight: Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25.
As for the locations of the various rounds:
- First Four: Dayton, Ohio
- First and Second Rounds: Pittsburgh; Wichita, Kansas; Dallas; Boise, Idaho; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Nashville, Tennessee; San Diego
- Midwest Regional: Omaha, Nebraska
- West Regional: Los Angeles
- South Regional: Atlanta
- East Regional: Boston
- Final Four: San Antonio
With the tournament a month away, the battle for the top four seeds continues in earnest.
Virginia has ascended to a No. 1 ranking this week in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 1982. Michigan State and Villanova have been around the top ranking for much of the season. Xavier and Cincinnati have climbed into the Top Five. Purdue has been excellent all season.
Then there are the teams loaded with talent that have perhaps underachieved slightly to this point. Come tournament time, will anybody want to face the likes of Duke, Kansas or defending champion North Carolina?
A strong finish to the season and a conference title could see any one of those teams ascend to a top seed. The NCAA tournament is the culmination of college basketball's season and often its most exciting time, but there is plenty of intrigue to be had before we get there.