UPDATE: Mercer got a 14 seed and is playing #3 Duke on Friday. Tipoff is set for 12:15 on CBS. GO BEARS!
The day every college basketball player, coach, and fan lives for, especially when their team is going to hear their name called during that hour show hosted by Greg Gumbel. I’ll be paying extra close attention to the show this year, because my Bears will be in the Dance this year! Y’all, I’m still excited for the guys!!
Anyways, Selection Sunday happens on the Sunday before the tournament starts. The bracket used to be a field of 65, but recently expanded to a field of 68. So the tournament is now set up like this
2014 NCAA Tournament Schedule
March 16- Selection Sunday
March 18 & March 19- First Round
March 20 & March 21- Second Round
March 22 & March 23- Third Round
March 27 & March 28- Sweet 16
March 29 & March 30- Elite 8
April 5- Final Four
April 7- National Championship
The First Round games will feature the 4 lowest seeded teams (as deemed by the selection committee) as well as the final at large teams. From the Second Round on, the tournament functions as it used to in the past, with the Second Round being the “field of 64”, the Third Round being the “field of 32”, and so on and so forth.
There are two ways to get invited to the Tournament (also known as the Big Dance). The first is the Automatic Qualifier bid. The AQ bid is reserved for teams who win their conference tournament. An example of an AQ bid would be Mercer. Because they beat FGCU last Sunday, they secured their spot in the Tournament, while FGCU is on their way to the NIT. The second way to get into the Dance, is an at-large bid. The at-large bid is for teams who didn’t win their conference and are typically from the larger power conferences, such as the ACC, SEC, Big East, etc.. For example, if Virginia beats Duke in the ACC Championship, Virginia will receive an AQ bid while Duke would receive an at-large bid.
*A few fun facts for the water cooler talk at work
-There are 32 AQ bids all of which are determined by the conference tournament, except the Ivy League, whose AQ bid is determined by who wins the regular season title. The other 36 bids are at-large bids which are decided by the selection committee
-A 16 seed has NEVER beat a 1 seed in the first round of the tournament
– Michigan State had 3 players Morris Peterson, Mateen Cleaves, and Charlie Bell nicknamed The Flintstones because they were all from Flint, Michigan
-UCLA has had the longest streak of national titles….ever. They won 7 consecutive titles from 1967-1973, and won 10 titles in 12 years (1964-1975). During that streak, they had FOUR undefeated seasons; 1964, 1967, 1972, and 1973. They were coached by John Wooden.
-Villanova is the lowest seed to ever win the National Title. They were seeded 8th in 1985 and beat their arch-rival Georgetown, who was seeded 1st, 66-64. This is only one of the only times in the Dance, that two private schools were in the championship game.
-Everyone thinks that the 1992 Duke Kentucky game that featured The Shot by Christian Laettner was the championship game. It wasn’t. After Duke defeated Kentucky, they went on to play Michigan in the title game and win. (sidenote: Tommy Hill’s reaction is still one of my favorite reactions ever) Nowadays, you’ll see almost every single coach have a player guard the player who’s inbounding the ball, especially when the score’s close at the end of the game. This play is the reason why.
-Rick Pitino is the only coach to have officially taken 3 different teams to the Final Four. Those teams are Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville. John Callipari has also taken 3 teams to the Final Four, but two of those were vacated by the NCAA.
Selection Sunday is set to air at 6pm on CBS after the Big Ten Conference Championship. Channel 13 if you’re local to the Middle Georgia area. Brackets will be released on CBS, ESPN, and other media outlets as soon as the selection show is over.