SPORTS

March Madness: Here are the top seeds for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament

Mar 17, 2024, 5:15 PM

Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot during the second half of a game against Ohio St...

Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot during the second half of a game against Ohio State. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(Kirk Irwin/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

Originally Published: 17 MAR 24 15:29 ET
Updated: 17 MAR 24 18:55 ET

(CNN) — The top four seeds for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament are the Connecticut Huskies, Purdue Boilermakers, North Carolina Tar Heels and Houston Cougars.

The Huskies, who were the overall No. 1 seed, are the defending champions. The event’s play-in games, the First Four, will be held Tuesday and Wednesday with the tournament getting underway in full on Thursday and Friday.

On Selection Sunday, the final lineup of teams who have made it into March Madness will be confirmed and fans will be able to begin filling in their brackets for both the men’s and women’s tournament.

How to watch

Tune in to ESPN at 8 p.m ET to watch the selection of 68 teams for the women’s tournament. TV times and broadcasters for the men’s tournament games will be revealed in the next few days.

How are teams picked?

Thirty-two teams automatically qualified in both the men’s and women’s tournament by virtue of winning their respective conference tournaments.

A selection committee then determined which other teams receive one of 36 at-large bids for a total of 68 teams. Those ranked between the No. 64 and No. 68 then play in the First Four play-in tournament, in a bid to be part of the final 64 teams.

Selection Sunday is the end of weeks of speculation as college basketball fans have sought to predict the precise configuration of teams that will make the final bracket.

It means that fans, as well as just casual observers, will then be able to fill in their customary brackets predicting the results of the tournament, in a nationwide tradition that has seen everyone from US Presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush to Jimmy Fallon participate in.

What happens afterwards?

Once Selection Sunday is over, there are only two days for fans to fill out their brackets before the men’s tournament begins on March 19 and the women’s tournament begins the day after. From then on, the games come thick and fast with the full schedule available below.

Men’s tournament

First Four: March 19-20

First round: March 21-22

Second round: March 23-24

Sweet 16: March 28-29

Elite Eight: March 30-31

Final Four: Saturday, April 6

NCAA championship game: Monday, April 8

Women’s tournament

First Four: March 20-21

First round: March 22-23

Second round: March 24-25

Sweet 16: March 29-30

Elite Eight: March 31-April 1

Final Four: Friday, April 5

NCAA championship game: Sunday, April 7

Names to watch

Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark has transcended college basketball with her record-breaking achievements this year, becoming a star capable of commanding high ticket prices and lucrative sponsorship deals. The term “Clark-onomics” has been coined to describe her huge impact off the court, such has been her ubiquity in pop culture.

The 22-year-old has become the NCAA Division-I leading scorer across both men’s and women’s college basketball this year, and eclipsed NBA star Steph Curry’s record of the most three-pointers hit in a single NCAA Division-1 season.

She is seeking to lead the Iowa Hawkeyes to an NCAA championship title, before heading to the WNBA where she is projected to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.

Angel Reese

Angel Reese is another of the tournament’s biggest stars, following her crucial role in propelling LSU to its first ever women’s college basketball title last year.

Although LSU is unlikely to earn a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday after succumbing to defeat against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament championship game, it is still expect to be one of the top contenders to defend its title.

Reed Sheppard

While there has been a perceived drop in star power in men’s college basketball this season in comparison with previous seasons, there is still a host of NBA-ready talent to keep an eye on, such as Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard.

The sharpshooting combo guard is projected to be selected third overall – the highest of any college player – in Bleacher Report’s latest 2024 NBA mock draft, after a late-season surge in scoring appears to have turned the heads of NBA scouts. His ability to fill it up as well as stifle opponents on the defensive end make him one to watch in the tournament.

Zach Edey

Another name to look out for is Zach Edey. The seven-foot-four, 300lb center is the tallest player in Big Ten conference history and the reigning consensus national player of the year.

While his seemingly unstoppable post presence and footwork might not translate to the NBA, he is a dominant college player who is seeking to lead Purdue, one of the tournament favorites, to a national championship.

The-CNN-Wire
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March Madness: Here are the top seeds for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament