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March Madness 2019: NCAA Tournament Dates, Bracket Release TV Schedule

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

College basketball fans will get a chance to see phenom Zion Williamson of Duke compete in the NCAA tournament.
College basketball fans will get a chance to see phenom Zion Williamson of Duke compete in the NCAA tournament.Nell Redmond/Associated Press

The countdown clock is on, and the 68 teams in the NCAA tournament will soon be released.

The NCAA tournament committee is meeting and discussing the teams that have earned or will be selected, and once their work is done, it will be presented on CBS at 6 p.m. ET Sunday.

From that moment on, millions of brackets will filled out by college basketball fans who want to show off their basketball expertise by predicting the outcome of every game in the tournament.

The Selection Show has been reduced to one hour from the two-hour marathon that fans are used to seeing.

The major conferences will decide their conference tournament champions Saturday and Sunday, and those teams will earn spots in the tournament.

Heading into Saturday's action, 12 teams have won their conference tournament titles. 

Those teams are 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).

Once the selections are made, attention will turn to the competition. The tournament will begin with the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio March 19-20, and conclude with the Final Four and National Championship game in Minneapolis April 6 and 8.

    

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

    

After the First Four games are played, March Madness will reach a fever pitch with the first- and second-round games.

Sixty-four teams will compete in 32 games in what is basically wall-to-wall basketball in the first round, and the competition is only slightly less hectic the next two days with 16 more games in the second round.

Those two rounds will be televised by CBS, Tru TV, TNT and TBS, with each getting their specific list of games at the time the tournament pairings are announced on the selection show.

After the second round ends March 24, 16 teams will remain in contention for the national championship. Those teams will compete in the regionals from March 28 through 31.

The South and West regionals will be held March 28 and 30 in Louisville and Anaheim, respectively. The East and Midwest regionals will be held March 29 and 31 in Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, respectively.

The broadcasts of those games will be handled by CBS and TBS.

The regional finals will pare the tournament down to its Final Four teams, and those four teams will play in the national semifinals April 6 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. That facility is the home of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and was the site of Super Bowl LII.

Minneapolis is hosting the Final Four for the fourth time.

The National Championship game will be held April 8. Both the Final Four and the title game will be broadcast by CBS.

Bubble teams

The final days of the conference tournament will impact teams that have a chance to get into the NCAA tournament.

When teams rise up and win their conference tournaments after mediocre seasons, they often gain spots in the tournament that would have gone to teams that put together better records during the regular season.

The teams that did their best work in the regular season but did not win conference tournaments are "on the bubble."

St. Mary's won the West Coast Conference tournament and defeated Gonzaga in the WCC championship game.

The Gaels are 22-11, and while they are a good team, they probably would not have gained a spot in the tournament if they had not beaten the Bulldogs (30-3). They appear to have taken an NCAA tournament spot from a bubble team.

Every time a team rises up and wins a conference tournament, it takes a potential spot away from what could be described as a deserving bubble team.

ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi listed Temple, St. John's, North Carolina State and TCU as the last teams in the tournament, while Belmont, Texas, Indiana and Alabama as the first four teams on the outside of the tournament.

All of those teams are on the bubble and will watch the selection show with a sense of anxiety as they learn their fate.

The selection committee is down to its final two days, and some hard decisions will be made to make sure the most deserving teams get their opportunities to compete in the Big Dance. 

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