This year, you won’t have to wait around for nearly an hour and a half before the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed.
That’s the big change to this year’s NCAA Selection Show, which is back on CBS following a one-year detour on TBS. This year’s show, hosted by Greg Gumbel and cut down to an hour, will reveal the full 68-team bracket by region at the top of the show (ditching last year’s widely panned alphabetical-order reveal).
Following its full release sometime after 6 p.m., Gumbel will discuss the bracket with selection committee chair Bernard Muir. CBS Sports analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis will also join the show to break down the bracket. CBS will smartly skip having Charles Barkley fumble around on a touchscreen or Ernie Johnson awkwardly attempt to sell pizzas.
“People wanted to know their brackets as soon as possible,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said of the criticism over last year’s bloated two-hour show. “So we learned from that, and that why we’re doing it this year.”
The biggest question for Philadelphia basketball fans is whether Temple (23-9) did enough to secure a spot in the tournament after the Owls’ disappointing 80-74 loss to Wichita State in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinal Friday night. According to CBS NCAA analyst and former Villanova head coach Steve Lappas, Temple punched its March Madness ticket after the team beat Central Florida last week. But now Temple will have to sweat it out until this evening.
Villanova (25-9) secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big East championship for a record third straight year Saturday night, defeating Seton Hall in a nail biter, 74-72. In his latest bracket, ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi projects the Wildcats will enter the tournament as a No. 6 seed.
When: Sunday, March 17
Hosts: Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, Seth Davis
Time: 6 p.m.
Streaming: CBS All Access (requires subscription), NCAA March Madness Live (requires authentication), Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirectTV Now, Fubo TV (all require a subscription).
The March Madness Live site and app have a three-hour free preview before you need to log in with your cable provider, plenty to get through the show.
Fans clamoring for an additional hour of bracket coverage can hop on social media to watch a special Inside the Bracket show at 7 p.m. Hosted by Casey Stern and featuring NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, the show will be available on the official March Madness handles across Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as NCAA.com and Bleacher Report.
Teams can make it into the NCAA Tournament two ways — an automatic bid and an at-large big.
Thirty-two teams receive automatic bids by winning their Division I conference tournament. Several conferences — American Athletic, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Ivy League, Southeastern, and Sun Belt — will hold their tournament championship games Sunday.
The remaining 36 teams are picked by a 10-member selection committee after every conference tournament game has been played. This year, the committee has turned to a new ranking system — the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) — as their primary tool in evaluating whether teams deserve a spot.
The current NET rankings have Villanova at No. 26, while Temple is ranked 54th.
First Four: Tuesday, March 19
The NCAA Tournament tips off on Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m. with the First Four, four play-in games between the four lowest-seeded automatic bids and the four lowest-seeded at-large bids.
The four games — which take place once again at the the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio — will air on truTV Tuesday and Wednesday, with coverage beginning at 6 p.m.
First Round: Thursday, March 21
The tournament’s first round begins Thursday, March 21, and will feature 32 games that will air on CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV over the course of two days.
The first and second rounds will be played at eight regional sites — Hartford, Conn.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Des Moines, Iowa; Jacksonville, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Columbus, Ohio; Columbia, S.C.; and San Jose, Calif.
Second Round: Saturday, March 23
The tournament’s second round begins Saturday, March 23, and will feature 16 games over two days that will air on CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.
Sweet 16: Thursday, March 28
The Sweet 16 tips off Thursday, March 28, and will feature eight primetime games played across two days on CBS and TBS.
Both the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 will be played at four regional sites:
Elite 8: Saturday, March 30
The Elite Eight gets underway Saturday, March 30, and features four games split by CBS and TBS.
Final Four: Saturday, April 6
The tournament moves to Minneapolis for the Final Four, which will air on CBS from U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, April 6. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, and reporter Tracy Wolfson will call the Final Four and the national championship game for the fifth consecutive year.
Championship Game: Monday, April 8