We made it!
After no tournament in 2020 and the travails of dealing with a bubble last year, March Madness parties like it’s 2019 with sites all across the country, fans in the stands, games going from noon to midnight, and it all wrapping up for a Final Four in New Orleans and Minneapolis. It’s amazing to think this will be the first time in three years that we’ll be watching a tournament selection show like we had gotten used to, and it’ll feel good to take another step towards being back to normal.
It’s been so long, you may have forgotten how both tournaments are supposed to work! Well, don’t worry, we have you covered. Both of the Carolina basketball teams will be watching tonight to hear their names called, and both have a chance to make some noise before the tournament is over. Let’s look at not only how to watch, but what the structure of each tournament is going to be this season:
2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament
It’s back to normal with CBS hosting the annual bracket reveal, as they once again partner with TBS/TNT/TruTV to showcase the Men’s Basketball tournament.
Time: 6 PM Eastern
TV: CBS — Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, and Seth Davis will lead the reveal
It’s back to normal this year. 68 teams will hear their names, eight of them learning that they’ll play in Dayton on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and the rest heading out to one of eight “Pod” sites across the country. Each team will be placed into a geograpic region, and if they win their pod they’ll head out to their regional site for the Sweet 16/Elite 8. The four regional winners head to the Final Four.
Teams seeded 1-4 in their region will get placed in a first/second round pod that is the most geographically advantageous to them, and the rest of the pod will be filled out based on the seed list and seed rules (no third time matchups before the Elite 8 and so forth). For Carolina, they literally could be placed anywhere since they are expected to be anywhere from a 7-10 seed, but it’ll be a pod where a 1-2 seed will, theoretically, have a home court edge. 1-4 also will get preference of their region based on the final seed list. Again, Carolina could be in any region this season.
First Four: Four 16 seeds and the “last four in” at large teams head to Dayton, OH
First/Second round Thursday/Saturday locations: Buffalo, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Fort Worth, TX; Portland, OR
First/Second round Friday/Sunday locations: Greenville, SC; Milwaukee, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; San Diego, CA
Sweet 16/Elite 8 Locations: San Antonio, TX (Thurs/Sat); San Francisco, CA (Thurs/Sat); Chicago, IL (Fri/Sun); Philadelphia, PA (Fri/Sun)
Final 4/National Title Location: New Orleans, LA
2022 NCAA Women’s Tournament
ESPN returns as the network to showcase the entire women’s tournament, utilizing all their channels including ABC. What’s different is that this show will ALSO be on Sunday, an improvement over the past few years where the teams had to wait even longer to find out where they were going.
Time: 8 PM Eastern
TV: ESPN, Elle Duncan hosts along with Rebecca Lobo, Carolyn Peck, and Nikki Fargas
Stream: Watch ESPN on your various devices
The women’s tournament will adopt the same bracket format as the men, allowing 68 teams to participate and having a First Four similar to the Men’s team. Instead of having a neutral site like Dayton, though, the First Four will be played at various pod sites. That’s also a change, by the way, as the women’s tournament is going back to the format where the 1-4 seeds will host their own pod at their home gym before advancing to the region. Carolina is hoping their late season play earned them a four seed to play next weekend in Chapel Hill
First Four: Four 16 seeds and the last four at large teams will play either Wednesday or Thursday at various campus sites.
First/Second Round: Various campus sites, once the 1-4 seeds are determined, dates and times will be announced — first round games will be Friday and Saturday, second round games will be Sunday and Monday.
Sweet 16/Elite 8 Locations: Bridgeport, CT; Greensboro, NC; Spokane, WA; Wichita, KS. This round will occur March 25-28, and again, dates will be matched up once each region is set
Final Four/National Title Location: Minneapolis, MN, April 1st and 3rd.
By the time today is over, we will know where both teams will be traveling to — or if they are traveling at all — and who they’ll have to get through in order to advance. We’ll have breakdowns as the games get closer, Go Heels!