March Madness is coming up fast. Here is what to know, along with some key games to watch and who’s on the bubble ahead of Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament:
Selection Sunday is March 12, when bracket matchups will be set for the First Four and first- and second-round games that stretch from Florida to California.
Sweet 16 weekend will see games in New York City (East Region), Las Vegas (West), Kansas City, Missouri (Midwest), and Louisville, Kentucky (South).
Where is the Final Four? In Houston, on April 1, with the championship game on April 3.
Basketball aficionados, take note: The women’s NCAA Tournament will hold its Final Four in Dallas, a four-hour drive from Houston.
Who’s going to win the national championship? With the regular season over, the betting favorites as of this week to reach the Final Four are Houston, Alabama, Kansas and Purdue, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. That matches the top teams in the NCAA’s initial seed watch. UCLA is in the mix near the top in the AP Top 25, too.
These teams already are going dancing after landing their league’s automatic bid: Kennesaw State (26-8, Atlantic Sun), UNC Asheville (27-7, Big South), Fairleigh Dickinson (19-14, Northeast), Drake (27-7, Missouri Valley), Furman (27-7, Southern), Louisiana-Lafayette (26-7, Sun Belt), Southeast Missouri State (19-16, Ohio Valley), Gonzaga (28-5, West Coast), College of Charleston (31-3, Colonial Athletic Association), Oral Roberts (30-4, Summit League), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (23-10, Southland), Montana State (25-9, Big Sky), Northern Kentucky (22-12, Horizon League) and Colgate (26-8, Patriot League).
Arizona State (22-12, 11-9 Pac-12). The Sun Devils could have strengthened their NCAA Tournament hopes by beating Arizona for a second time this season. Arizona State failed in that bid, losing to their rival 78-59 in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals, but still should be in good shape after beating Southern California in the tournament quarterfinals.
Oklahoma State (18-15, 8-10 Big 12). The Cowboys’ NCAA Tournament chances looked good not that long ago. Closing the season with six losses in eight games, including to No. 7 Texas in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, may dash their hopes.
Clemson (23-10, 14-6 ACC). The Tigers tied for third in the ACC regular season but will be sweating out Selection Sunday during a down year in the ACC. Clemson missed out on a big resume-booster by losing by 20 to No. 13 Virginia in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
Providence (21-11, 13-7 Big East). The Friars closed the season with three straight losses, which will lead to some tense moments on Selection Sunday. A close loss to No. 11 UConn after a huge rally in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals, along with a solid resume, could nudge them into the bracket.
Game(s) to watch
Big Ten Tournament championship game, 3:30 p.m., Chicago.
Ivy League Tournament championship game, noon, Princeton, New Jersey.
Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game, 1 p.m., Nashville.