The NCAA tournament is called March Madness for a reason, but the process of selecting teams to experience it is nothing short of a science. College basketball fans can see the results of the experiment for the first time in two years on Sunday.
Selection Sunday is almost here, set in stone – for the majority – which teams will compete in the 2021 NCAA tournament. While there are some sure bets, other teams will need to rely on solid finishes or even win their conference tournament to advance to the finals.
The NCAA Selection Show will have a lot to unpack: not only the teams that will compete in it, but also the standings, which itself is a fascinating and sometimes controversial part of the process.
Sporting News has you covered on everything you need to know about the Sunday 2021 selection: date, time, TV channel, installment screenings and more:
When does the selection take place on Sunday 2021?
- Dated: Sunday March 14
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
The Sunday 2021 selection will take place on Sunday March 14; the bracket reveal is scheduled to air at 6 p.m. ET, but the full 68-team bracket – which includes the top four teams – will not be released until the final tournament in the conference concludes.
What channel is the March Madness selection airing on?
CBS will air the NCAA selection show, but it can also be broadcast via NCAA March Madness Live, Paramount + and fuboTV (which offers a free seven-day trial). This will be the first time since 2019 that the selection show will perform; the NCAA chose not to create parentheses for the tournament in 2020 after it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 NCAA Tournament Selection Format
The 2021 68-team NCAA tournament will consist of 31 automatic qualifiers – teams that win their respective conference championships – and 37 overall offers. In a normal year, 32 automatic qualifiers and 36 at-large auctions would constitute the field; ivy league canceled their 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons, however, by giving the selection committee an additional team to select.
The committee does not have a formula for the starting teams, but there will be one notable difference between the competitors in parentheses this year compared to previous seasons: the S-curve – a method of ranking each of the initial 68 teams in a snake model – will be there alone method to determine which teams are placed in which region. Since the 2021 NCAA tournament will be held entirely in Indiana, geography will not be a determining factor.
(This essentially ensures that the top seeds are sufficiently rewarded with lower-ranked matches as the tournament progresses; this is the difference between the overall seed against the # 8 team. in the general classification of the Elite Eight, as opposed to the n ° 5 team in the general classification).
Geography previously guided the selection committee’s decisions on which teams to place in which region, leading some teams to unfair showdowns later in the tournament. A example of this error happened during the 2019 tournament, when Michigan State – second seeded 2 and 6th overall – was placed in the Eastern region with top seed Duke.
The committee uses the NET ranking – established in 2018 – as its main sorting tool to evaluate the teams.
March Madness Range Predictions
There is only so much certainty when it comes to which teams will compete in the 2021 NCAA tournament; some, such as Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan, are virtual locks as 1-seeds (with the exception of end-of-season meltdowns). Others, such as traditional powers Duke, North Carolina and Michigan, need solid finishes for below average seasons just to make the pitch.
Until then, here is Sporting News’ predictions for the final field of 68, according to Bill Bender:
- 1-seeds: Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor, Illinois
- 2 seeds: Alabama, Iowa, Houston, Ohio State
- 3 seeds: Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Virginia
- 4 seeds: Florida State, Purdue, Texas, West Virginia
2021 NCAA Tournament Schedule
The 2021 NCAA Tournament begins Thursday, March 18, with each top-four game taking place on a single day (as opposed to previous years, where they took place over two days). March Madness will roll out as usual from there, culminating with the Final Four and the National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3 and 5, respectively.
|First four||March 18|
|Round 1||March 19-20|
|2nd round||March 21-22|
|Sweet 16||March 27-28|
|Elite Eight||March 29-30|
|Final square||April 3|
|national championship||April 5|
When are the first four?
Eight teams – the four lowest-ranked automatic qualifiers and the four lowest-ranked overall submissions – will play four “top four” games on Thursday, March 18. This will reduce the initial field of 68 teams to 64, thus finalizing tournament support.
When does the Final Four take place?
March Madness 2021 will conclude with the Final Four and National Championship game rounds in Indianapolis. The Final Four will take place on April 3; two days later, the season will end with the national championship game.