Forget Christmas in July, it’s almost Christmas in March for all the college hoops fans out there. The NCAA college basketball regular season is dwindling down, which means March Madness is on the horizon. And believe it or not, we are within the two-week mark of Selection Sunday — the first time all 68 teams going to the dance will be seeded and revealed and when fans finally get to dust off their bracketology skills and put them to use.
Here’s what you need to know about Selection Sunday:
NCAA Selection Sunday
Sunday, March 15, 2015
6 p.m. EST
Jim Nantz III, Clark Kellogg, Greg Gumbel
Selection Sunday Show History
In 1982, with the popularity of college basketball growing, a group of CBS and NCAA executives brainstormed a way to capitalize on viewership by televising the Selection Sunday Show for the first time. Year-after-year viewership increased, which turned college hoops from a niche audience, to a nation obsessed. Fans all over the country became so enthralled with March Madness that terms such as “bubble team,” “RPI” and “bracketology” became daily references.
CBS, which covers the vast majority of the tournament, has the official rights to cover the selection of the men’s field of 68. They held exclusive TV rights to the tournament from 1991 to 2010, and have shared rights with Turner Sports since 2011. So, come Selection Sunday, you will see CBS making the initial bracket announcement first and ESPN sharing the brackets immediately after.
Both networks will not only share analysis and breakdowns of the match-ups, but will also have camera crews at various schools nationwide to capture the reaction of teams and their fans.
Although this tradition was rumored to change towards that of the weekly College Football Playoff committee rankings show, NBC Sports reported that one-day Selection Sunday Show will remain.
On March 15, like last year, Greg Gumbel will anchor as the show’s host. Clark Kellogg, who was an Ohio State Buckeye and Indiana Pacer before becoming a broadcaster, will be serving as the in-studio analyst. And Nantz will broadcast three Big Ten conference tournament games in Chicago before joining Gumbel and Kellogg on the show.
The previous weekend served as what Nantz calls a “nice little appetizer” prior to the most maniacal madness of his March itinerary. He broadcast a total of three Big Ten conference tournament games from Indianapolis on Saturday and Sunday, then hosted the CBS Selection Sunday show and afterward stayed up until well past 2 in the morning preparing his homework for the upcoming week.
How to Live-Stream the Show
You can watch the selection show live on any device with CBS All Access, which offers a one-week free trial here.
Leading Up to Selection Sunday
While March 15 will mark the first time all 68 teams will be revealed in their respective seeds and brackets, the process of determining those teams takes place days before.
The first 32 teams will pile in one-by-one as each conference crowns a champion. The only exception of the 32 is the Ivy League, which does not host a league tournament. Instead, the first-place team at the end of the regular season will receive the automatic tournament bid. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-game playoff to determine which team will being going to the dance.
For the other 36 teams, they are decided on by a selection committee. Once the final decisions are made, the committee will unveil the field of 68,who will be vying for a chance at the National Championship title, for the first time to the public.
The tournament will then officially kick off Tuesday, March 17, with the First Four round, which is held at the University of Dayton.
Selection Info for the NIT, CBI and CIT
The NIT is the “second-chance” tournament for the teams who won their regular season conference title, but lost their conference tournament and, in turn, their automatic bid to the dance. Instead, those teams get an automatic bid to the NIT. After those teams are determined, the NIT Selection Committee chooses the remaining teams to fill out the field of 32 that will go head-to-head for the NIT Championship.
Like the Selection Sunday Show for the NCAA tournament, the NIT Selection Committee will follow suit on March 15 with it’s televised bracket announcement at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPNU. This show will reveal the 32 teams – seeded and broken down into four eight-team regions.
The first-round games will be played March 17 and 18, second-round games are March 20-23 and quarterfinal games are March 24 and 25. The first three rounds will take place at the various participating teams’ courts. The championship, which is in its 78th year at Madison Square Garden in New York City, will kick off Tuesday, March 31 with the four quarterfinal winners. Then the final two teams remaining will face-off for the championship title on Thursday, April 2.
Coverage of the games will be broadcasted on ESPN@, ESPN3 and ESPNU.
The CBI – College Basketball Invitational – was created by the Gazelle Group in 2007. It is made up of 16 teams, all of which are at-large selections made once the NCAA determines their field of 68 and the NIT chooses their 32 teams.
While the CBI bracket is not revealed with a televised selection show, the teams are still announced on Sunday, March 15.
Starting March 17 and 18, the 16 teams will kick off their three rounds of single-elimination tournament games until their are only two teams remaining. All of the games take place at home sites and teams are re-seeded after the quarterfinals, which are held on March 23. The semifinals are on March 25 and determine the two finalists who will play a best-of-three series on March 30, April 1 and 3.
In 2009, CollegeInsider.com created the CIT, or CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, to give 16 teams, referred to as Mid-Majors, an opportunity at a postseason. That field doubled to 32 teams in 2012 and, like the CBI, gives schools that were not selected for the NCAA or NIT tournaments another chance.
Their selection process is not televised, but is also announced on Sunday the 15th.
The tournament dates are as follows: first round is March 17 and 18, the second round is March 20 and 21 and the quarterfinals are March 24 and 25. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the seminfinals on March 31 and the championship on April 2.