Tickets are punched and dancing shoes are all shined for many NCAA Tournament teams, but some are waiting for offshore berths and others are eager to see who and where they will begin their march to madness.
With Duke, UNC and Davidson set to represent North Carolina, Wake Forest is a popular choice among early NCAA players. We’ll see what happens when the men’s basketball tournament roster is released at 6 p.m. on CBS.
Sunday’s women’s selection airs on ESPN at 8 p.m., and that’s when NC State, UNC and Conference USA champion Charlotte will learn their regional destinations and opponents.
We’ll follow the action with analysis, breakdowns and reactions as the parentheses are revealed.
8:15 p.m.: NC State, seeded No. 1 in the women’s group
Three-time defending ACC Tournament champion Wolfpack will be looking to qualify for the Final Four for the first time since 1998.
Their reward for winning the No. 1 seed is the Bridgeport, Connecticut area, where a matchup against No. 2 seed UConn would give the Huskies a home game in the Elite Eight, if they go that far.
And with Paige Bueckers back in the lineup, they likely will.
Notre Dame, which handed NC State its only loss to the ACC this season, is also in that region as No. 5.
And the team that eliminated NC State in last year’s Sweet 16, Indiana, is the No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport area. The Hoosiers’ first round matchup is against CUSA champion and 14th seeded Charlotte.
Continued:NC State women will likely have to face UConn in Bridgeport to reach Final Four
8:05 p.m.: Greensboro area has best women’s team, player and ACC flavor with UNC, Miami
No. 1 overall South Carolina attracts the Greensboro area, so women’s basketball fans in North Carolina will get a chance to see the best in action.
UNC got a No. 5 seed and the Heels will open against No. 12 Stephen F. Austin in Tucson, Ariz., with the winner of No. 4 Arizona and No. 13 USA. UNLV.
Miami, which just beat Louisville to Louisville in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, will have to beat the Gamecocks in NCAA Round 2 to get back to Gate City.
Perhaps the most exciting player in women’s college basketball, Caitlyn Clark and Iowa are Greensboro’s third seed.
A South Carolina game against Iowa would be a treat.
7:20 p.m.: Will UNC ever become smart?
North Carolina drew Marquette in its opener Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Golden Eagles are now managed by former VCU and Texas coach Shaka Smart, so he will know the Metroplex well, having played conference games at nearby TCU.
The biggest problem for the Heels? They’ve never beaten Smart – going 0-3 against him during his time with the Longhorns.
Texas won 84-82 in Austin on December 12, 2015; 92-89 on November 22, 2018 at Orleans Arena, and again last season, 69-67 on December 2, 2020 at Asheville as part of the moved Maui Invitational.
Stay East:UNC pulls No. 8 seed, faces Marquette in NCAA Tournament opener
7:05 p.m.: Duke in Greenville didn’t end well last time out
Duke’s ACC regular season title and early season wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky were enough to put them on the No. 2 line in the Western Region and a short drive away for the weekend. -end of the opening of the matches.
But that doesn’t mean it’ll be child’s play in the Sweet 16.
With an expected win over Cal State Fullerton, the Blue Devils would play either Davidson or Michigan State. The Spartans had a solid outing in the Big Ten tournament to rejuvenate their hopes of a playoff run. The Wildcats came out of hole 10 before shocking the world (Steph Curry, cough, cough).
The Blue Devils’ last trip to Greenville also ended in disappointment. Duke was also a No. 2 seed when he came to town in 2017 and was sent back to Durham after South Carolina stunned them 88-81 in the second round behind a vocal Gamecocks crowd. If Davidson is successful, the crowd could easily root for the underdog.
Continued:Duke retains No. 2 seed in Coach K’s final season
6:50 p.m.: Choose your upheaval
Are you looking for a first surprise? UAB may be the team for you.
The Blazers have a veteran coach in Andy Kennedy, and they represent a league that has had its share of tournament upsets in recent years as a low seed.
As of 2015, the Conference USA tournament champion has won its first-round match five times in six tries: UAB (2015 as 14), Middle Tennessee (as 15 in 2016 and 12 in 2017), Marshall ( 2018 as 13) and North Texas (2021 as 13).
The Blazers are ranked No. 12 in the South against No. 5 Houston, who played in last year’s Final Four.
6:46 p.m.: Road trip?
The closest action to NC will come to Greenville, SC, with the following games scheduled for Bon Secours Wellness Arena:
- No. 2 Auburn. vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State
- No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Miami
- Michigan State No. 7 vs. Davidson No. 10
- No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Cal-State Fullerton
6:41 p.m .: So who comes out of the fork?
Of the teams that weren’t selected, ACC’s Wake Forest couldn’t overcome their weak non-conference schedule strength and are heading to the NIT.
Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU and Texas A&M were the first four teams not considered, according to the committee.
6:33 p.m.: UNC draws Marquette, potentially Baylor
UNC draws an East Region draw with defending NCAA champion and top seed Baylor, and the Heels could meet the Bears in a second-round game in Fort Worth, Texas, as No. 8 seed facing Shaka Smart’s No. 9 Marquette in Round 1.
Virginia Tech gets a No. 11 seed coming out of its ACC Tournament Championship and the Hokies will face No. 6 Texas in Milwaukee in the East Region.
With a win over Duke in Coach K’s last game at Cameron on his resume, UNC landed a tough path in the NCAA. But if the Heels play like they have recently, they can win a few here.
6:25 p.m.: Miami is the ACC’s 3rd team in the Midwest region
The Hurricanes grabbed the No. 10 seed in the Midwest and will play in Greenville, SC against Southern Cal. The winner of this game will likely face No. 2 Auburn.
Kansas is the region’s top seed, playing its second weekend games in Chicago.
6:15 p.m.: Arizona No. 1 in the South with ‘Nova, Tennessee
Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the South Region with Villanova No. 2 and SEC champion Tennessee is a tough No. 3.
The Houston Cougars of Robeson County native Kelvin Sampson are the fifth seed with a first-round matchup against No. 12 UAB in Pittsburgh on Friday.
6:05 p.m .: Duke in West Bracket
The Duke Blue Devils had suddenly become a fashionable pick to be shipped off from the Southeast for their first tournament games after falling in the ACC Tournament Final on Saturday night. But the committee kept them as close to home as possible, giving them the No. 2 Seed in the West. They will open against No. 15 Cal State Fullerton, who won the Big West Conference in Greenville, South Carolina.
If the Blue Devils win, coach Mike Krzyzewski could face another longtime coach in his second game. No. 7 Michigan State, led by all-time Big Ten leader Tom Izzo, takes on No. 10 Davidson, led by Bob McKillop.
No. 1 seed Gonzaga is the No. 1 seed in this region.
Notre Dame will also represent the ACC in the top four against Rutgers, with the winner facing No. 6 Alabama in that bracket.
Mike Krzyzewski missed out on a potential comeback that a Midwest Region selection would have offered him, as his Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matches will be played in his hometown of Chicago.
If Duke made it past the first two rounds, its regional semifinal and final would be played in San Francisco.
5:30 p.m .: So who is definitely in the game?
The last two conference tournaments in the United States and the Big Ten are almost over, and both teams from these finals are expected to participate in the tournament.
Going back to the other 30 automatic bids, NCAA.com tracked every tournament in the conference.
On NCAA.com:Men’s Automatic Auction Listing
5:15 p.m.: Seeds #1 appear attached
Duke falling to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and Kansas winning the Big 12 Championship likely means the Jayhawks will join Gonzaga, Arizona and Baylor as the No. 1 seed.
That’s exactly what the Support Matrix tells us, with Duke falling to the No. 3 seed. Duke never won a national championship as the No. 3 seed, but qualified for the title match in 1990 before falling 103-73 to UNLV. Last time the Blue Devils were ranked No. 3, they were upset 78-71 by No. 14 Mercer.
The Matrix predicts UNC as No. 9 and Davidson as No. 10, with Wake Forest still a potential top-four pick.
Continued:Could Duke Basketball drop to a No. 3 seed, out of Greenville after ACC Tournament loss?