The official start date for March Madness is Tuesday, March 19th, but the first full day of action begins on Thursday, March 21st. The March Madness teams will be announced on Selection Sunday on March 17th at 6 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
We will already know a good portion of these teams before Sunday thanks to the conference tournament winners securing an automatic bid for March Madness. The NCAA tournament format can be a bit confusing now that there are 68 teams.
The First Four games feature the final four teams to qualify for the tournament playing on Tuesday and Wednesday night. The two winning teams will be able to play in the first round on Thursday and Friday night. The exact March Madness times will not be announced until Sunday, but most people consider the real start of the tournament to begin on Thursday, March 21 when games tip-off at noon Eastern.
By the end of next weekend, the NCAA tournament will already be down to 16 teams. The Sweet 16 format follows the same Thursday through Sunday schedule beginning on March 28th. By the end of that weekend, the Final Four matchup will be determined, just a little more than two weeks after March Madness began with 68 teams.
The days leading up to Selection Sunday will feature a full slate of conference tournament games. The ACC, Big 12, Big East and Pac-12 will host their championship games on Saturday, March 16th. The SEC, Big Ten and AAC all decide their champion on Selection Sunday right before the field is announced on March 17th.
Here is a look at the 2019 March Madness schedule and locations, courtesy of the NCAA.
March Madness 2019: Schedule, Dates & Locations
|March 17||Selection Sunday||NYC 6 p.m. ET|
|March 19||First Four||Dayton, OH|
|March 20||First Four||Dayton, OH|
|March 21||1st Round||Hartford, CT|
|March 21||1st Round||Salt Lake City, UT|
|March 21||1st Round||Des Moines, IA|
|March 21||1st Round||Jacksonville, FL|
|March 22||1st Round||Tulsa, OK|
|March 22||1st Round||Columbus, OH|
|March 22||1st Round||Columbia, SC|
|March 22||1st Round||San Jose, CA|
|March 23||Round of 32||Hartford, CT|
|March 23||Round of 32||Salt Lake City, UT|
|March 23||Round of 32||Des Moines, IA|
|March 23||Round of 32||Jacksonville, FL|
|March 24||Round of 32||Tulsa, OK|
|March 24||Round of 32||Columbus, OH|
|March 24||Round of 32||Columbia, SC|
|March 24||Round of 32||San Jose, CA|
|March 28||Sweet 16 (South)||Louisville, KY|
|March 28||Sweet 16 (West)||Anaheim, CA|
|March 29||Sweet 16 (East)||Washington, D.C.|
|March 29||Sweet 16 (Midwest)||Kansas City, MO|
|March 30||Elite 8||Louisville, KY|
|March 30||Elite 8||Anaheim, CA|
|March 31||Elite 8||Washington, D.C.|
|March 31||Elite 8||Kansas City, MO|
|April 6||Final Four||Minneapolis, MN|
|April 8||National Championship||Minneapolis, MN|