Selection Sunday 2021: Start Time, Date, TV Schedule and More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 11, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs holds his tournament most outstanding player award after Gonzaga defeated BYU in an NCAA college basketball game in the West Coast Conference men's final, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
David Becker/Associated Press

On Sunday evening, the 68-team field for the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament will be announced. By April 5, only one will be left standing, celebrating by cutting down the nets at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

March Madness is nearly upon us for the first time since 2019. Last year's NCAA tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it's been almost two years since a national champion was crowned. And even though this year's tourney is unorthodox (every game is taking place in the Indianapolis area), it should provide the same level of excitement that the annual event is known for.

It's not quite time for March Madness yet, though. Multiple conference tournaments will be taking place through Sunday, so there are still automatic bids to be won. For bubble teams, they're running out of time to prove to the NCAA tournament selection committee that they should be included in this year's field.

Here's everything you need to know for Selection Sunday, along with a list of teams to earn automatic bids so far and a breakdown of the current outlook for the No. 1 seeds.


Selection Sunday Show Information

Date: Sunday, March 14

Start Time: 6 p.m. ET



Automatic Bids

Atlantic Sun: Liberty

Big South: Winthrop

Colonial: Drexel

Horizon: Cleveland State

Missouri Valley: Loyola-Chicago

Northeast: Mount St. Mary's

Ohio Valley: Morehead State

Southern: UNC Greensboro

Summit: Oral Roberts

Sun Belt: Appalachian State

West Coast: Gonzaga


No. 1 Seeds Breakdown

There shouldn't be much suspense surrounding which team will earn the No. 1 overall seed for this year's tournament. Gonzaga is the only undefeated team in the nation, having won its first 26 games of the season on the way to capturing the West Coast Conference tournament championship.

The Bulldogs now have an opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in 45 years. The last time a team went undefeated and won the NCAA tournament was Indiana in the 1975-76 season. The Hoosiers went 32-0 during that campaign.

If Gonzaga is going to accomplish that, it needs to win six more games.

However, the Bulldogs aren't coming off one of their better performances. In the WCC tournament championship game, they were tied with BYU with less than five minutes to go. But Gonzaga pulled out an 88-78 victory to win the title for the eighth time in nine years.

And it may have actually helped the Bulldogs as they prepare for March Madness.

"We needed a game like that," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said, per John Marshall of the Associated Press. "We had some adversity and got punched in the face. We got together at halftime and the guys just stuck with the plan."

While Gonzaga has secured a No. 1 seed, the other three spots are still up for grabs. But there are several teams that are heavy favorites to earn those spots.

Baylor has lost only one game this season (a 71-58 defeat at Kansas on Feb. 27) and enters the Big 12 tournament with a 21-1 record. The Bears won the conference regular-season championship for the first time in program history, and now they'll look to win the Big 12 tourney for the first time. That begins with Thursday's quarterfinal matchup against Kansas State.

It's a strong possibility that two Big Ten teams will earn a No. 1 seed. Illinois, Michigan and Iowa are ranked in the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots in the AP Top 25 poll, respectively, and how each fare during the Big Ten tournament could have a big impact on the No. 1 or No. 2 seedings.

The Wolverines were the Big Ten regular-season champions, going 19-3 with 14-3 record in conference play. However, they lost two of their last three games, which included a 76-53 home defeat to Illinois on March 2. The Fighting Illini, meanwhile, have been playing some of their best basketball of the season, winning 11 of their past 12 games.

While Michigan and Illinois are the top two seeds in the Big Ten tournament and could meet in the championship game (a scenario that could result in both earning No. 1 seeds for the NCAA tourney), Iowa could also factor into the picture. The Hawkeyes, who have won seven of their past eight games, are the No. 3 seed tourney and could beat both Illinois and Michigan in consecutive days.

If any of these teams get upset early in their respective conference tournaments, then perhaps No. 6 Alabama, which is the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament, could work its way into the mix if it wins its conference tourney.