The best four days of the sporting calendar have arrived.
From Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening, CBS and Turner Sports will air 48 men’s NCAA Tournament games. There’s no shortage of intrigue on opening day as Alabama, the tournament’s top seed, will begin its tangled campaign amid what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere in Birmingham. Fellow No. 1 Kansas is also in action as the Jayhawks begin their quest for consecutive titles while tournament favorite Houston gets off their run.
As we tip to March Madness (all times ET), here’s a look at the first day’s slate of games.
12:15 p.m. – No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 West Virginia (CBS)
12:40 p.m. – No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Furman (truTV)
1:40 pm – No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State (TNT)
2 p.m. – No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Howard (TBS)
2:45 PM – No. 1 Alabama vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi (CBS)
3:10 pm – No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 12 College of Charleston (truTV)
4:10 PM – No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 Princeton (TNT)
4:30 PM – No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois (TBS)
Must see: Two of the few future NBA draft picks playing in this year’s NCAA tournament are in Arkansas’ starting five. Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black will look to lead the Razorbacks past ever-volatile Illinois and a potential second round clash with Kansas. How did Arkansas lose 13 games this season with NBA talent scattered throughout its roster? One big reason is that the pieces don’t fit together well. The Razorbacks do not have enough shooters to create space on the floor, which makes running a half-court offense difficult.
6:50 PM – No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Auburn (TNT)
7:10 PM – No. 5 Duke vs. No. 12 Oral Roberts (CBS)
7:25 p.m. – No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Colgate (TBS)
7:35 PM – No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Boise State (TruTV)
9:20 PM – No. 1 Houston vs. No. 16 Northern Kentucky (TNT)
9:40 PM – No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Louisiana (CBS)
9:55 p.m. – No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Penn State (TBS)
10:05 p.m. – No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 UNC Asheville (TruTV)
Must see: Duke-Oral Roberts is not the most anticipated game of this window. This could be the marquee game of the first round. An Oral Roberts team that is far better than the 15th-seeded team that made an impressive Sweet 16 run two years ago will take on a talent-laden Duke team entering March. Max Obamas is back and brings even more lethal attack off the ball screen. His supporting cast is even stronger this year, headlined by 7-foot-5 pick-and-pop specialist Connor Vanover.