The NCAA Tournament: This Year's Different Schedule

I think most everyone by now knows that the entire tournament will be played in Indianapolis and the surrounding area.

I suspect that a lot of people aren’t aware that the schedule of rounds is a little different this year. For example, next Thursday will not have a full slate of games like we normally expect. The two “First Four” games will be played that day, and everyone else will play the next round on Friday/Saturday. That will be followed with the Round of 32 on Sunday/Monday.

The Sweet 16 will be played on the second weekend (instead of the normal Thursday/Friday), and the Elite Eight will be a Monday/Tuesday schedule.

Here’s an article that breaks it down:


I’ve known the traditional dates had changed but never heard an explanation. I’m sure it has something to do with Indianapolis or testing but will be odd. So used to Thursday - Sunday for first two rounds then Thursday- Friday Sweet 16.

The First Four teams will all be slotted into regionals that start on Saturday, which will be the regionals with the 1 and 4 overall seeds (probably Gonzaga and Illinois). So will BYU, so they wouldn’t have to play a second round game on Sunday.

By the way, there are four First Four games (that’s why there are 68 teams; the four games get the field down to 64 for a six-round tournament). Two involve 16 seeds, two involve at large teams, usually 11 or 12 seeds. This year, with one fewer automatic bid thanks to the Ivy League bailing out, they may be 12s. It’s also possible for one First Four game to involve 12 seeds, the other 11 seeds in a different regional.

I read something that some people at the NCAA like this idea (not the bubble, but condensing the first week somewhat) and may use that in future tournaments. They also like having games on Monday night which get better TV ratings (that’s why the NCG is on Monday).

It will give a lot of teams another day of sitting around in Indiana waiting to play a first round game, which may not be that great a thing.

May not be that great a thing, but everybody is in the same boat and everybody is getting tested a whole lot.

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