When Does the NCAA Basketball Tournament Begin?

Dubbed as March Madness, the NCAA college men's basketball tournament celebrates its 75th birthday this year; however for the first time in many years, you won't be foisting a green beer to celebrate.

The 75th annual NCAA "March Madness" men's basketball tournament is wagered on every year, often by people who have never watched college basketball. However, this year's festivities on the court and in countless (and unofficial) office bracket pools will have to wait just a little longer than in most years.

Just how much longer?

Normally the start of the tournament has coincided with the annual St. Patrick's Day revelry, but this year bracketologists will have an extra week to pour over stats and sportstalk. So the dance will begin on March 19 and 20, with the "first four" games to precede the official kickoff to the tournament.

The expanded tournament features 68 teams, and these initial games will include the four lowest seeds in the field, plus teams playing for a No. 12 seed and a No. 13 seed. The final brackets will take shape on Thursday, March 21, about a full week later than some other years. First games will tip-off around 11 a.m. local time. 

Locally games will be broadcast over the air on Channel 58, with cable games on TNT, TBS and truTV.

Wisconsin should be well represented in the tournament. CBS "bracketologist" Jerry Palm has Marquette as a No. 4 seed and Wisconsin as a No. 5 seed, though there still is quite a bit of basketball to be played.


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