The conference basketball tournaments are coming to a climax over the weekend, and then it's all about the NCAA Tournament.
The annual event that portends the end of winter and the beginning of spring starts with Selection Sunday, which has become one of the most anticipated days on the sports calendar.
The event will be televised by CBS, as the NCAA Tournament selection committee will pass the tournament entries and seedings to the network, and it will be broadcast at 6 p.m. ET.
Instead of the longer two-hour show that fans have seen in recent years, the show has been cut to one hour.
After the CBS network broadcast, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will co-produce an Inside the Bracket show that will run on social media across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, NCAA.com and Bleacher Report at 7 p.m.
The CBS broadcast will reveal the 68 teams that have been selected or have earned their spots in the Big Dance. While the majority of conference championship tournaments will conclude Saturday and Sunday, 12 teams have already clinched their opportunities to play in the tournament.
Those teams include Murray State (Ohio Valley Conference), Gardner-Webb (Big South), Liberty (Atlantic Sun), Bradley (Missouri Valley), Wofford (Southern), Iona (MAAC), Northern Kentucky (Horizon), Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast), Northeastern (Colonial), North Dakota State (Summit), St. Mary's (West Coast) and Colgate (Patriot).
2019 NCAA Tournament Schedule
Selection Sunday: March 17; CBS
First Four: March 19-20; Tru TV
First round: March 21-22; CBS, Tru TV, TNT, TBS
Second round: March 23-24; CBS, Tru TV, TNT, TBS
Sweet 16: March 28-29; CBS, TBS
Elite Eight: March 30-31; CBS, TBS
Final Four: April 6; CBS
National Championship: April 8; CBS
The competition in the tournament will begin with the First Four on March 19 and 20, with doubleheaders on both days. All four of those games will be televised by Tru TV.
March 19/20 games: Dayton, Ohio
The traditional part of March Madness will be held over the next four days, with the first and second rounds held from March 21-24.
Those two rounds will be contested in eight cities and televised by four networks: CBS, Tru TV, TNT and TBS. It is basically wall-to-wall college basketball over a four-day period.
Each network's roster of games will be announced on the NCAA selection show.
March 21/23 games: Hartford, Connecticut; Salt Lake City; Des Moines, Iowa; Jacksonville, Florida
March 22/24 games: Tulsa, Oklahoma; Columbus, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; San Jose, California
The first two rounds will pare the tournament down to 16 teams, and the regionals will be contested from March 28-31.
The South regional will be held in Louisville March 28 and 30, and the West regional will be held over the same dates in Anaheim.
The East regional will be played in Washington, D.C. on March 29 and 31, and the Midwest regional will be held in Kansas City on March 29 and 31 as well. CBS and TBS will handle the broadcasts of the four regionals.
March 28/30 games: Louisville, Kentucky; Anaheim, California
March 29/31 games: Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Missouri
The four teams that emerge from those regionals will meet in The Final Four in Minneapolis April 6, and the National Championship game will be held two days later. The two semifinal games and the national title game will be broadcast by CBS.
The event will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium, the home of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. That venue hosted Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. This is the fourth time Minneapolis has hosted the Final Four.
Top seed predictions
It has been a strong year for Gonzaga, even though the Bulldogs lost the West Coast Conference title game to the St. Mary's Gaels. Gonzaga should be the No. 1 seed in the West regional.
It would not be a surprise if North Carolina and Virginia also gained No. 1 seeds in the tournament. If the Tar Heels or Cavaliers don't win the ACC tournament, that title is likely to go to Duke and Zion Williamson.
While the Blue Devils may be as good as any team when Williamson is healthy and playing his best game, the Blue Devils are not likely to rise above a No. 2 seed.
The fourth No. 1 seed should go to LSU or Kentucky of the SEC. The Tigers and Wildcats are the top two seeds in the SEC conference tournament, and if one of those two teams wins it, a No. 1 seed should be the reward. Look for Kentucky to win that tournament and gain that top seed.
If neither one of those teams wins the SEC tournament, the fourth No. 1 seed could go to Michigan State of the Big Ten, assuming the Spartans don't stumble in its conference tournament.
Predicted top four seeds (in order)
1. North Carolina