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2019 Complete March Madness Schedule
Updated: February 2019

College basketball’s regular season ends a bit later than in most years with the final games played on Saturday, March 9. By the end of the following week, all of the conference tournaments will have been completed and the NCAA Selection Committee will begin the process of determining the tournament’s 68-team field.

 

Sunday, March 17, is Selection Sunday and college basketball fans can watch the Selection Show on CBS and ESPN. The 32 conference tournament winners and the 36 at-large entrants will be revealed as will their respective regions and seeds.

 

The 2019 NCAA men’s tournament will begin with the First Four on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20. The First Four games are held annually at the University of Dayton arena in Dayton, Ohio. The winners of Tuesday’s games will advance to play in the First Round of the tournament, which begins on Thursday, March 21. Wednesday’s First Four winners advance to play on Friday, March 22, in the First Round.

 

Second round play continues on Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24. After the first weekend of play in the tournament, the Sweet Sixteen will remain. The Regional Semifinals and Finals will take place over the weekend of March 28 to 31. The Final Four will begin on April 6 and the national championship game will be played on April 8. The Final Four will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

 


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    History of the Tournament

    The original NCAA tournament was nothing like the spectacle that it is today. The very first tournament took place in 1939 with just eight teams. Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33 in Patten Gymnasium on the campus of Northwestern University. The first expansion of the tournament came in 1951 when another eight teams were added. The 16-team format last just two years and between 1953 and 1974 the NCAA tournament featured anywhere between 22 and 25 teams.

     

    In 1975, the tournament expanded to 32 teams and in 1979 jumped to 40. The ’79 tournament was one to remember as Earvin “Magic” Johnson led the Michigan State Spartans to a victory over Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores. The game increased the demand for college basketball and the NCAA took note expanding the tournament against to 52 teams in 1983 and 53 in 1984. The following year in 1985, the NCAA moved to 64 teams.

     

    During the first decade of the 2000s, the tournament consisted of 65 teams. One play-in game determined whether the 64th or 65th team moved into the first round. Beginning in 2011, the field was expanded to its current level of 68 teams with four play-in games.

 

 

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